Meet Southern AgCredit’s Relationship Manager in Ruston, Louisiana
After twenty years in commercial lending, Kelly Coleman is glad to be back where he started: agricultural lending. Now a relationship manager with Southern AgCredit, this native Louisianan is inspired to serve Southern AgCredit’s borrower-owners in our growing Ruston office.
Where did you grow up?
Kelly: I was born in Monticello, Louisiana, in East Carroll Parish and grew up on a 2,000-acre crop and cattle farm. It was a very rural environment. Monticello didn’t have a stop sign or a red light, but it had a cotton gin and a school. My graduating class of 19 kids was one of the largest the school had up until that point.
Did you have to work on the farm?
Kelly: You know I did! [laughs] Every day there was something to take care of. My work ethic and self-discipline can be attributed to growing up on the farm. My parents and grandparents were good to their neighbors, and it taught me how to help others.
You also learn how to build things—weld, run saws, and mend fences. That’s been very valuable in my life.
You have a degree in agricultural education from Louisiana Tech. How did you get into agricultural lending?
Kelly: I was originally majoring in agriculture business, but things were terrible in the economy the whole time I was in college. Land values were collapsing and commodity prices were falling. So, I switched to agriculture education. I graduated with a degree thinking that I was going to teach agriculture in the school systems. Then, I interviewed for the internship program with the [then] Federal Land Bank of Jackson, Mississippi, and they hired me.
Where have you worked since your internship?
Kelly: After my internship, I went to work for the Federal Land Bank in Louisiana for 15 years. Then I moved to Oak Grove, Louisiana, in 2000 to go into commercial banking. I worked on everything from gas stations and convenience stores to multi-level housing projects.
I could not be happier to be back in Farm Credit.
“Some people just know they want some property, and with my experience, I can lead them and guide them. People need options and direction. I do everything I can to make it happen.”
Tell us about your family.
Kelly: My wife, Tralynn, and I have six adult children and five grandchildren. All of them live in Louisiana.
Tell us about being a pastor.
Kelly: I’ve been in pastoral ministry since 2011, and I’m currently the bivocational pastor of Culbertson Baptist Church, about 10 miles north of Ruston in Farmerville. It’s a small church of about 40-50 people.
How has ministering been different during the pandemic?
Kelly: I’ve spent most of my ministry time during the pandemic either teaching or preaching from a porch. The church has an FM transmitter, and the people would park in the church lot like a drive-in movie theater.
How has working at Southern AgCredit been different during the pandemic?
Kelly: Serving people in the loan business was tough because I like shaking someone’s hand and getting to know them.
When I started here in January, Southern AgCredit handed me a laptop, and we are now able to access anything we need from our vehicles or our homes. We are equipped with the technology to be efficient and take care of people’s business, whether we are working from the office or working remotely.
What do you enjoy about agricultural lending?
Kelly: I like making a difference in people’s lives—helping them meet their goals of owning their own place or improving their operation. I like helping people.
It means a lot to me to serve other people. In serving, I find joy. Sometimes it’s not all positive. Sometimes people find themselves in problematic situations, and you have to find a way to help them if at all possible—same as ministry.
When I talk to somebody and find out what their goal is, and we can make that happen, a closing is very rewarding for the lender as well as the person receiving the loan.
What do you like about working at Southern AgCredit?
Kelly: Honestly, I love everything about Southern AgCredit. I have found Southern AgCredit has a genuine interest in providing competitive products. These products are phenomenal, with good interest rates and are much more competitive than other lenders.
The efficient way Southern AgCredit runs their business and supports people is very unique. They are very compassionate to their employees and they also do their very best to make the applicants happy.
If at all possible, we are going to structure something that fits the appetite of the person getting the loan. Not everyone operates that way.
Do you have any Southern AgCredit stories that you’d like to share?
Kelly: I’ve found myself meeting with borrowers that I’ve known through the years. There have been numerous borrowers that we deal with that I know, went to school with and made loans to.
I had a guy come in yesterday, and when I heard the name, I instantly remembered it. I went to meet him, and he said, “Kelly Coleman, where have you been?!” Turns out, I financed a home for him in 1989. It was nice catching up with him.
I appreciate our advertising campaigns. People say, “Heard you on the radio!” or “Saw you on a billboard.” It’s just really a blessing.
Contact Kelly Coleman in Ruston
If you are interested in a loan for your agricultural business, contact an expert. As Southern AgCredit’s relationship manager, Kelly deals with commercial accounts of all sizes—everything from small, part-time farms to large operations.
The Ruston, Louisiana, branch serves Bienville, Claiborne, Jackson, Lincoln, Ouachita, Union, and Webster parishes. You can visit their downtown office on Vienna Street from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday or give Kelly a call at (318) 255-6539.