WASHINGTON, D.C.— Since 2009, 148 Ohio businesses, including 103 small businesses, have received critical financial support from the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank to grow their companies, increase exports, and add jobs—but Congress must act to reauthorize the lending authority of the Export-Import Bank or risk putting 290,000 export-related American jobs at risk. U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today called for the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, an independent federal agency that operates at no cost to taxpayers. Without Congressional action, Ex-Im’s authorization will expire on May 31, leaving future funding for Ohio small businesses hanging in the balance.
“All across Ohio, I hear from small business owners who want to expand and access foreign markets, but cannot secure private financing due to the credit risks associated with some overseas investments,” Brown added. “The Export-Import Bank is there to help. It provides credit – that otherwise wouldn’t be available – to translate export opportunities for businesses into increased sales, new jobs, and higher wages.”
“Exporting is tough, especially for small businesses. Less than one percent of the nation's nearly 26 million small businesses export their products. That’s why in Ohio, the Ex-Im Bank worked with almost 100 companies to support $430 million in export sales in 2011. It embodies the idea of smart government, helping businesses grow and add jobs through increased exports,” Brown added. “If we want to show that as a nation we’re serious about increasing our exports, and competing on a global playing field, we msut do all that we can to expand export opportunities to businesses large and small—and that’s exactly what Ex-Im does.”
The Ex-Im Bank is an independent federal agency that helps create and maintain U.S. jobs by filling gaps in private export financing at no cost to American taxpayers. The Bank provides a variety of financing mechanisms, including working capital guarantees, export-credit insurance and financing to help foreign buyers purchase U.S. goods and services. By charging fees and interest on all loan-related transactions, Ex-Im Bank is self-sustaining and is able to cover all operation costs and potential losses while also producing revenue. According to the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), Ex-Im supports 290,000 export-related American jobs, and more than 85 percent of Ex-Im transactions supported small businesses last year. The Ex-Im Bank Reauthorization was unanimously approved by the Senate Banking Committee in September 2011. It would extend the Bank’s authority to 2015 and increase the Bank’s lending cap by $10 billion annually to a maximum of $140 billion in 2015.
Companies that export their products around the world create jobs, pay higher wages to employees, and are more likely to stay in business. Export-supported jobs linked to the manufacturing sector already account for an estimated 7.1 percent of Ohio's total private-sector employment, and more than one-fourth of manufacturing workers in Ohio depend on exports for their jobs—the 8th highest among the 50 states.
Brown was joined on the call by Eric Burkland, the president of the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association, as well as Fred Hochberg, the chairman and president of the Export-Import Bank, to outline how Ex-Im supports the growth of small businesses and new jobs in Ohio through increased exports.
“The Export-Import Bank is a broadly used, important supplier to Ohio manufacturers and to the export-oriented Ohio economy,” Burkland said. “Small, medium, and large manufacturers—ranging from Zaclon in Cleveland to Summitville Tiles in Salem to Middletown Tube Works in Middletown—rely on the Ex-Im Bank to export their products all across the globe. So, too, do their employees. That’s why the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association supports the reauthorization of the Ex-Im Bank.”
Hochberg has served as president and chairman of the Export-Import Bank since May 2009. In FY2010, the Ex-Im Bank approved more authorizations to support U.S. exporters than any year in its history. This included $24.5 billion in export financing—a 70 percent increase over the past two years—which supported $34.4 billion worth of exports and 227,000 American jobs at more than 3,300 U.S. companies. Of these authorizations, more than $5 billion was for small businesses—a record for the Bank. The Bank also tripled its renewable energy export financing.
“Having a strong Ex-Im Bank is critical to leveling the playing field and ensuring that American businesses are judged on the quality of their products,” said Fred P. Hochberg, chairman and president of the Export-Import Bank. “More than 95% of the world’s customers live outside the United States, and if we want an economy built to last, we need a fully reauthorized Ex-Im Bank.”
As Chairman of the Senate Banking Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and a member of the Senate Manufacturing Caucus, Brown has introduced a package of key legislative proposals aimed at bolstering the competiveness of U.S. manufacturers and boosting domestic manufacturing. He also serves as a member of the President’s Export Council, working to advance the National Export Initiative (NEI) and reach President Barack Obama’s goal to double exports by 2015.