A Yankton, S.D., community bank has been named the first preferred lender under an Agriculture Department initiative that guarantees farm mortgages and operating loans.

The agency said in February that it would streamline its loan guarantee program for banks that use it often. Lenders making more than 30 loans in three years through the program can be designated as preferred lenders.

First Dakota National Bank, which has $300 million of assets and $100 million of outstanding agricultural loans, was named the first preferred lender last week. The bank's status should speed up the guarantee process and minimize paperwork, said Dennis A. Everson, senior vice president at First Dakota and head of its agricultural lending department.

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