John Deere has a large finance wing that brought in $2.8 billion last year. 
John Deere has a large finance wing that brought in $2.8 billion last year.  - 
Listen To The Story

Say John Deere and people think of farming, construction, landscaping and the heavy equipment the company makes for those industries. Few outside of Deere’s world see it as a financial services outfit. But Deere has a large and profitable finance wing, which brought in $2.8 billion last year, providing loans and leases for its iconic green machines, which can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars a piece.

With commodity prices in the dirt, times are tough for farmers, which means they’re not spending as much on new equipment. Deere’s profits took a sharp dive in 2015.

Now that Deere’s main business of selling equipment is struggling along with its farmer customers, its finance arm provides a much larger share of profits than in the past — a third last year. And with more tough times for agriculture in the forecast, Deere may have to rely on its lesser-known finance side even more in the months ahead.

As a nonprofit news organization, Marketplace is on a mission that drives what we do every day: to increase economic intelligence across the country. But we can’t do it alone. Become a Marketplace Investor today, in whatever amount you choose, and your donation will go twice as far, thanks to a dollar-for-dollar match from The Kendeda Fund.

Become a Marketplace Investor today – in whatever amount is right for you – and keep public service journalism strong. We’re grateful for your support.

Follow Mark Garrison at @GarrisonMark