MFA Oil’s Credit Department Offers More than Just Speedy Approvals
April 12, 2019
Written By Megan Hill
Since its founding in 1929, MFA Oil Company has consistently focused its efforts on fulfilling the needs of its farmer-owners. The cooperative serves its more than 40,000 farmer-members in a variety of ways, such as ensuring a reliable supply of quality petroleum products at a fair price.
One important benefit the cooperative offers is credit. Curt Ricks, the company’s director of credit and collections, says his 10-member department works hard to make sound credit approval decisions to extend credit as a convenient way for customers to do business.
Members and non-members are eligible to apply for a monthly line of credit with MFA Oil to be paid from their statement. Credit lines are available for Petro-Card 24 and Preferred Customer credit cards and for purchases of propane and bulk fuel.
Ricks’ team receives hundreds of applications each month and must analyze a customer’s credit reports, bank references, financial statements and income tax returns to determine credit worthiness. The department makes an earnest effort to complete credit approvals within two business days, or as soon as possible.
“The sooner we can process the credit application, the sooner our members and customers can better plan their purchases and how they need to operate their businesses,” Ricks says. “About 80 percent of the applications we receive are approved.”
While speed is emphasized in processing credit requests, Ricks says his team is mindful of its responsibility to safeguard the membership’s equity.
“We are careful not to overextend credit or make poor approval decisions,” Ricks notes. “Our department plays an important role in maintaining the company’s strong balance sheet.”
The company offers varying credit agreements based on the type of purchase made, so the department works with members and customers to ensure its terms are well understood. For example, payments for bulk fuel and propane deliveries along with Petro-Card 24 and Preferred Customer credit card purchases are due at the end of the following month; bills for transport-sized deliveries to farm and commercial accounts are due within 10 days of purchase. The MFA Oil credit team encourages anyone who has questions about the terms of their credit to call for clarification.
Ricks says he and his employees understand that unexpected circumstances can make it hard to keep up with bills. “We know things can happen that are beyond people’s control. We try to be as understanding and professional as possible when handling collections.”
Although many of the cooperative’s farmer-members may never have a personal interaction with the credit department, Ricks says his team is committed to providing assistance in any way they can. Besides processing credit requests and handling collection activities, the department is responsible for generating monthly statements for anyone with a balance on their account.
“Customers are the reason we’re in business—they are our top priority,” Ricks says. “We’re dedicated to serving customers’ needs through timely credit approval, compassionate collections and prompt customer service.”