December 20, 2007

Christmas Time Capital Credits Come Courtesy of Northeast Missouri Rural Telephone Company

The envelope may have looked more like a bill than a Christmas card but Northeast Missouri Rural Telephone Company (NEMR) still was capable of spreading some holiday cheer last week with a conveniently timed mailing.

Local customers that have had service with the regional phone cooperative since 1991 shared more than $500,000 returned by the company to its patrons in the form of capital credit retirements. These checks began arriving in patrons mailboxes last week, just in time to allow the recipients a little extra money for holiday shopping.

“That definitely was the idea of sending the checks out at this time,” said NEMR Board of Director Jim Kigar. “It is no coincident that this money is going back to our customers right now.”

Over the past 20 years NEMR has paid out more than $9.7 million to members in capital credit retirements.

“Accumulating capital credits and receiving capital credit distributions checks is another important reason you purchase your communication services from us,” said NEMR Manager Gary Godfrey. “Northeast Missouri Rural Telephone Company is owned by those we serve.”

All one has to do to qualify for the payment is to be a customer of the phone company because NEMR is a cooperative owned by the members it serves. Any phone services the customer has such as local phone service, call features such as caller ID, long distance, ADSL internet, etc., all generate patronage credit. NEMR’s billing software tracks this patronage for each customer and that figure is used to establish capital credit returns.

The annual audited profits of the company are then divided up among the members based on their usage amount, or patronage.

“So the more you use, the more your get back,” Godfrey said.

The annual profits are maintained by the company as equity. The cooperative’s governing board determines when these capital retirement payments can be made.

Typically the checks are a percentage of the available credits. The current check includes the final 20 percent of the profits from 1991. The more than $500,000 in capital credit distribution checks closes out the 1991 year. Members in rural Scotland County will receive these payments.

Customers in Memphis did not become members of NEMR until 2003 when the exchange was purchased from GTE.

But these customers also received checks last week. NEMR distributed $340,000, or roughly 20 percent of the 2006 capital credits.

“We wanted to wrap up the 1991 payments but we also wanted to do something for our newer customers as well,” Godfrey said of the two-tiered payment.

Overall NEMR mailed out $868,425 of capital credit refund checks to its customers on December 7th. A total of 8,079 checks were mailed with the largest capital credit check amounting to $4,823.49.

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