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EXIM Enables Kentucky Manufacturer to Decorate the World

Export Destinations: 
Mexico, European Union, England, Israel, Japan, Taiwan, Canada
EXIM Bank Product: 
Export Credit Insurance
Export Sales: 
22 percent of sales


DecoArt in Stanford, Kentucky, manufactures a broad range of quality acrylic paints and specialty finishes for artists, crafters, and “do it yourself” home decorators and sells to wholesale distributors that serve more than 70 countries.


DecoArt, like other small companies, sought funds to increase its international sales. Many companies rely on asset-based lending to finance their operations. By borrowing against their inventory and accounts receivable, businesses are able to accelerate their cash flows and fulfill orders.

Unfortunately,  small companies do not have this advantage. They face obstacles when it comes to asset-based loans. Lenders can be hesitant to allow small businesses to borrow against their export-related assets, making accessing working capital difficult.


Exporters can overcome such liquidity challenges through a relationship with EXIM. The agency’s export credit insurance assists U.S. businesses expand their borrowing bases and grow their export sales. The benefits are significant, and the nuts and bolts are simpler than one might think.

Lenders unwilling or unable to lend against foreign receivables will often do so if they are insured by an EXIM insurance policy via broker Trade Acceptance Group. Of note, the insurance broker provides counsel and completes the application for the exporter at no cost. Fees are paide by EXIM. The foreign collection risk to the lender is mitigated by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government. Another benefit of the insured company is they can often assign the proceeds of their insured to their lender. As a result, U.S. companies can turn the same collateral into greater borrowing power.

DecoArt has been a longtime EXIM policy holder since 1993. The company has been using EXIM’s export credit insurance to reduce the risk of nonpayment from foreign buyers and offer its customers open account credit terms. Customers tend to buy more when they don’t have to pay in advance. If a foreign buyer fails to pay, EXIM covers the company’s insured invoice up to 95 percent. EXIM has also helped DecoArt, Inc. overcome its cash flow obstacles as it can borrow against its insured receivables. The assigned lender for DecoArt is BB&T in North Carolina.


The company increased its employment 35 percent the past five years. DecoArt has more than 195 full and part-time employees and three locations in central Kentucky. Stanford is the home for its paint manufacturing and its newly acquired distribution facility. It also maintains its creative sales/marketing operation in Lexington. Since 2014, EXIM has supported $32 million in DecoArt’s sales to 28 countries. The company’s international sales sustain 42 jobs.

“For many years EXIM has allowed us to sell on open account credit terms. Customers require it. Exports are about 22 percent of total sales. We would not have been able to move into these markets were it not for the financing provided by U.S. banks and EXIM insurance. The insurance is straight forward and brings the security and expertise needed to make sound financial decisions. This footing provides the security required by the banking community to finance our international sales growth.”
Kenneth Howell, Chief Financial Officer