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Patronage Dividends

Did you know…


…...Over 2100 patronage dividend checks were mailed to FMCTC members in 2018.

…the AVERAGE dividend check issued to FMCTC members in 2018 was $209.28

…the LARGEST dividend check issued to a FMCTC member in 2018 was $6,413.89

No other local telecom company rewards its customers for their patronage like we do!

Patronage Dividends…one of the benefits of
local cooperative ownership

Farmers Mutual Cooperative Telephone Company operates as a non-profit corporation and is owned by its customers. Customers who buy services from the company become members. Each year our members earn a portion of FMCTC’s margins (revenues earned above operating expenses) based on the amount of services they purchase. These earnings are called patronage dividends. Each member's account is maintained by the company. Patronage dividends are placed in member's accounts based on criteria established in company bylaws. Patronage dividends are paid out to members when directed by FMCTC’s Board of Directors.

No other form of telephone company rewards its customers for their patronage in this way. Municipals use their profits to support other municipal/city operations. Investor-owned companies return their profits to shareholders in distant cities. Telephone cooperatives return their profits to their members---the owners--- as patronage dividends.

Before members receive their dividend check, the money is actually working to save money.  The business of building and maintaining telephone and internet lines is quite expensive.  FMCTC uses the dividends to help finance construction, rebuilds and maintenance.  Without this source of funds, FMCTC would have to borrow more money, pay more interest and ultimately, it could lead to higher rates. Instead, the dividends are put to work to help provide adequate cash flow for reinvestment in the business. It shows FMCTC’s lenders that the cooperative is financially stable.

Patronage Dividends Frequently Asked Questions

The following frequently asked questions (FAQs) provide additional information. If you have a question that is not included on this list, please contact FMCTC Customer Service at 712-744-3131 or e-mail us at

What is Patronage?
Your patronage is the value of local telephone service, long-distance service, 800 number service, custom calling features, internet, digital tv, and wireless services you use. Miscellaneous purchases such as telephones, caller ID boxes, cellular phones, business phone systems, telephone wire and jacks are also included. Basic cable tv is not included.

What is an Allocation?
Allocation is the process of adding the dividend amount earned for the year to your member account. This amount is based on your patronage.

What is a Distribution?
When the Board of Directors decides that the company is in the financial position to pay out patronage dividends, the process of paying out the funds designated by the Board of Directors is called the distribution of patronage dividends.

How long will it take to get all of the money shown on my Allocation statement?
There is no stated time period for total distribution of patronage dividend accounts. Patronage dividends are paid at the discretion of the Farmers Mutual Cooperative Telephone Company Board of Directors and are based on the financial needs of the Cooperative.

When does FMCTC issue a Patronage Dividend pay-out?

  • General Retirements
    Farmers Mutual Cooperative Telephone Company Board of Directors reviews the financial status of the company on a yearly basis and decides if the company can pay out member patronage dividends. If the Board of Directors decides the company is in a financial position to make a pay out, a dollar amount is determined. Patronage dividends are typically paid in cycles specified in the bylaws.
  • Estate Retirement
    A Member's Death – When a Farmers Mutual Cooperative Telephone Company member passes away the estate or legal representative may file for retirement of the member's patronage dividend account. To submit a request for payment of a member's account one must:
       1. Provide Executor documents to FMCTC
       2. Provide a copy of the member’s death certificate to FMCTC
       3. Make a request to FMCTC for the total retirement of the deceased member’s patronage     
           dividend account. The FMCTC Business Office will determine the reduction of patronage for 
           the years to be paid.
       4. An Authorization Form agreeing to the patronage reduction amount will be completed by the 
           Executor and returned to the FMCTC Business Office.
       5. Once the completed forms have been received by FMCTC, the request for payment is 
           reviewed by the Company Officer.
       6. Once the request is approved by the Company Officer, a check is issued to the estate.
       7. The check will be mailed to the address on record.

    Please contact our Business Office for any questions you have concerning an estate retirement.

Can you apply this to my phone bill?
The amount may be applied as a payment to your account. Simply submit payment by endorsing the check and either bring it in to the FMCTC business office or send it in the mail.

Can I remove someone else's name from an account?
FMCTC does not remove names from an account. In case of a death or divorce, FMCTC will refund the account and then issue a new membership. Legal documentation such as a death certificate or divorce decree may be required.

A deceased family member received a check, what can I do about that?
Please contact FMCTC customer service and a representative will be happy to assist you.

I am moving from the area... can I have my allocated patronage dividends?
Moving from the FMCTC service area or discontinuing your phone service does not result in a full payment of patronage dividends from your account. The bylaws only allow payments for General Distributions or Estate Retirements. You continue to maintain your membership status with the Cooperative even after you have disconnected your service. You will continue to receive patronage dividend checks until all funds allocated, during your years of service, are paid out. Keeping us informed of address changes will ensure you receive your future allocation notices and/or patronage dividend checks. We've made it easy to keep us up to date – e-mail us at


Copyright© Farmers Mutual Cooperative Telephone Company
Harlan, Iowa  51537