In 1989, Jim Rutledge and Gwin Smith formed Rutledge Investment Company (RIC) as a regional mortgage banking firm. This was a natural extension of their thriving agricultural appraisal and consulting business. During this time, Mid South agriculture was beginning to slowly recover from the economic downturn of the 1980’s and RIC was able to provide much needed mortgage capital to the region. There were very few lenders willing to place money in agriculture in the late 1980’s. RIC was fortunate to form an alliance with a premier player in Mid South agriculture finance. RIC teamed up with Prudential Agricultural Investments and became one of the first loan originators in their new “AgMap” program. This program was created to provide a constant and reliable source of funds for farm mortgages throughout the region and the country. The program was an instant success, and RIC has been among the largest originators in the program ever since. In 1998, RIC celebrated $100,000,000 in loan originations and in 2003 the company surpassed the $200,000,000 mark. In 2006, we surpassed the $300,000,000 origination mark and are now well over $500,000,000.
In 2000, Rutledge Investment Company merged with Rainer Farm Mortgage, a highly successful farm mortgage company and also a Prudential loan originator. This merger enabled RIC to increase its loan servicing volume, expand its territory and open doors to many new customers and lending opportunities. Most importantly, Stephen Rainer, came aboard as a Vice President. Stephen was able to “hit the ground running” and immediately bring in a variety of new customers. Stephen expanded RIC’s reach into Central and South Louisiana.
Over the past 15 years we have acquired the farm mortgage loan accounts of Guaranty Bank and Trust, Belzoni, MS, First National Bank of Rosedale, Rosedale, MS, and Ag Financial Services, Inc., West Memphis, AR. In 2016, we purchased the farm loan assets of American Agri Financial Services of Sikeston, Missouri and added an additional $50+ million loan portfolio and 56 new customers which broadened our presence in Missouri and expanded our territory into Kansas, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Colorado, Michigan and Minnesota.
Prudential Agricultural Investments continues to be an important source of funds for our clients. We have also expanded our list of lenders to include other major life insurance companies and institutions. Agri-Access of Des Moines, Iowa is one of RIC’s fastest growing and highly innovative lenders. In addition to traditional farm mortgages, the company offers loans on hunting and recreation property, timberland, agribusiness facilities and rural housing. Other credit solutions include equipment and vehicle leases and revolving lines of credit.