The Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM or the Bank), which facilitates the export of U.S. goods and services at no cost to taxpayers, reported that it authorized $5 billion of financing to support $8 billion of U.S. exports in fiscal year 2016. Other highlights of the agency’s 2016 Annual Report include support for small businesses and minority- and woman-owned businesses, initiatives in Sub-Saharan Africa and details of its Strategic Plan.
EXIM’s charter was renewed on Dec. 4, 2015. After a lapse in authority spanning five months, the Bank reopened for business about two months into fiscal year 2016. The board of directors lacked a quorum for the year, which left the Bank unable to approve transactions above $10 million. In support of U.S. small business exports in FY 2016, the Bank authorized more than $2.6 billion. Small business authorizations, more than half of which involved amounts under $500,000, accounted for about 91% of the Bank’s authorizations for the year. Additionally, the Bank approved a record number of authorizations—770, totaling $544 million—in support of minority- and woman-owned businesses.
The Bank’s authorizations for Sub-Saharan Africa dropped due to its lapse of full authority. It authorized $95 million supporting exports to the region for FY 2016, compared to $2.1 billion in FY 2014. Nevertheless, EXIM continued to strengthen its relationships with African banking and other business partners. It signed a $100 million memorandum of understanding with United Bank for Africa at the World Economic Forum in Kigali, Rwanda, and a similar memorandum with PTA Bank at the U.S.-African Business Forum in New York City. The Bank’s board of directors and staff engaged directly in business development outreach in Angola, Cameroon, Ethiopia, South Africa and elsewhere.
EXIM’s Strategic Plan, updated in 2013 and ranging through 2017, consists of goals that include expanded awareness of EXIM Bank services, improving the ease of doing business for customers and ensuring effective enterprise risk management consistent with the Bank’s charter requirements. In FY 2016, the Bank indentified operating priorities in support of these goals, which include strengthening small business “export DNA” in all programs and products and equipping U.S. exporters to win in a rapidly changing international landscape. EXIM products facilitate support for U.S. exports through four major programs: loan guarantees, direct loans, export credit insurance and working capital guarantees.
– Adam Fusco, editorial associate