What is the Ex-Im Bank, and why should it be reinstated?

July 24th, 2014

What is the Ex-Im Bank, and why should it be reinstated?

By Jay C. Moon, CEcD, FM, HLM
President and CEO, Mississippi Manufacturers Association

The U.S. Export-Import Bank is an 80-year-old government agency created by President Franklin Roosevelt. It provides loans, guarantees and insurance for the export of American goods and services to companies of all sizes. This includes many small-, medium-size companies that are members of the Mississippi Manufacturers Association.

Since 2009, Ex-Im Bank has supported 1.2 million private sector, American jobs. In 2013 alone, the agency supported 205,000 jobs and had a broad impact on the manufacturing sector with its 17 million jobs.

Small business exporters need certainty and protection to tackle new markets, expand and create jobs. In fiscal 2013, nearly 90 percent of Ex-Im Bank’s transactions — a record-high 3,413 — were for American small businesses. When larger companies use the bank, they export more product, creating business for smaller suppliers.

Today, we operate in a global trade environment. In fact, 95 percent of the world’s customers live outside the United States. It’s important for U.S. companies to compete on a level playing field with foreign exporters, which receive substantial support from their government credit agencies. In 2013, Ex-Im supported $37 billion of U.S. sales to customers in other countries.

Another important point to remember is that money loaned to companies by Ex-Im Bank is repaid to the U.S. Treasury, and the default rate is low. In fiscal 2013, Ex-Im earned more than $1 billion profit for the U.S. Treasury, mostly through fees collected from foreign customers. As of March 31, 2014, the agency’s default rate was less than one quarter of one percent.

Ex-Im Bank was last reauthorized in May 2012, and the Bank’s current charter expires Sept. 30, 2014. It is essential for Congress to reauthorize Ex-Im Bank to support U.S. exports and American jobs. Urge your congressmen to keep this critical agency in business. It’s important to our global competitiveness, and it’s important to our jobs.