Export-Import Bank of the United States

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Export-Import Bank of the United States

The Export-Import Bank of the United States, commonly known as Eximbank, facilitates and helps to finance exports of U.S. goods and services. Eximbank has implemented a variety of programs to meet the needs of the U.S. exporting community, according to the size of the transaction. These programs take the form of direct lending, or the issuance of guarantees and insurance so that exporters and private banks can extend appropriate financing without incurring undue risks. The direct lending program of Eximbank is limited to larger sales of U.S. products and services around the world. The guarantees, insurance, and discount programs have been designed to assist exporters in smaller sales of products and services.

Eximbank began as the Export-Import Bank of Washington, authorized in 1934 as a banking corporation organized under the laws of the District of Columbia (Exec. Order No. 6581 [Feb. 2, 1934]), 12 C.F.R. § 401, reprinted in 12U.S.C.A. § 635. The bank was continued as an agency of the United States by acts of Congress passed in 1935, 1937, 1939, and 1940. It was made an independent agency of the government by the Export-Import Bank Act of 1945 ([12U.S.C.A. § 635]), which was subsequently amended in 1947 to reincorporate the bank under federal charter. The name was changed to Export-Import Bank of the United States by the Act of March 13, 1968 (82 Stat. 47). In 2002, Congress reauthorized Eximbank for a four-year period.

The mission of Eximbank is to help U.S. exporters to meet government-supported competition from other countries and to correct market imperfections so that commercial export financing can take place. The bank considers aiding in the export financing of U.S. goods and services when there is a reasonable assurance of repayment. Eximbank does not compete with private financing, but instead supplements it when adequate funds are not available in the private sector. As stated in the Export-Import Act of 1945, as amended, the loans provided are generally for specific purposes and at rates based on the average cost of money to the bank as well as the mandate of the bank to provide competitive financing, and offer reasonable reassurance of repayment. The act further states that financing should be provided for U.S. exports at rates and on terms that are competitive with financing provided by the principal foreign competitors of the United States. Furthermore, in authorizing loans or guarantees, account should be taken of any serious adverse effects upon the competitive position of U.S. industry, the availability of materials that are in short supply in the United States, and employment in the United States.

The bank is authorized to have outstanding at any one time loans, guarantees, and insurance in an aggregate amount not to exceed $75 billion. The bank is also authorized to have a capital stock of $1 billion and may borrow from the U.S. Treasury up to $6 billion outstanding at any one time. Subsidy costs of the bank's programs are appropriated on an annual basis.

Eximbank operates a loan program and a guarantee program for medium- and long-term export transactions. Both programs provide up to 85 percent financing, operate on the basis of preliminary and final commitments, and are open to any responsible party. Eximbank loans also carry the minimum interest rate allowed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

To reduce the risks of buyer default for U.S. exporters, Eximbank offers a variety of insurance programs. These policies insure against the risk of default in export transactions and are available in a variety of plans that are tailored to the special needs of different types of exporters and financial institutions.

Eximbank offers other programs designed primarily to benefit small-business exporters, including the Working Capital Guarantee Program, a loan-guarantee program designed to provide access to working capital loans from commercial lenders. The bank also sponsors the Engineering Multiplier Program, which provides financing to support feasibility studies that have the potential for generating further procurement of U.S. exports.

The bank has moved to use technology to improve the delivery of services. Beginning in 2002, customers could apply online for letters of interest as well as Eximbank's working-capital guarantee. Automating insurance applications and processing will soon be implemented.

Further readings

2002 Annual Report. Available online at <www.exim.gov> (accessed November 12, 2003).

U.S. Government Manual Website. Available online at <www.gpoaccess.gov/gmanual> (accessed November 10,2003).

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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