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From the age of Flash Gordon to today: Ex-Im Bank Uses Internet to Chronicle Its First 75 Years


Media Contact Name/Phone: 

Phil Cogan (202) 565-3200

When, in 1934, Congress created what became known as the Export-mport Bank of the United States,

  • the first Flash Gordon comic strip was published,
  • bank robbers Bonnie and Clyde were ambushed and killed by police,
  • and multiple dust storms removed massive amounts of Great Plains topsoil, creating what became known as the Dust Bowl.

In 1934, television was unknown to the population and radio was the electronic communications medium of choice. The Internet wasn't even the stuff of science fiction.

Now, 75 years later, Ex-Im Bank is using the Internet to give the public a glimpse into the first three-quarter century's worth of Bank history. On the eve of its 75th anniversary annual conference the Bank has unveiled a special website section that reviews, in words and pictures, the key people and events that have been part of its past as it has helped finance United States exports to foreign buyers and kept American workers on the job.

The 75th anniversary site is located at (site decomissioned - please visit history).

The anniversary pages chronicle significant events in the history of Ex-Im Bank, such as:

  • the first transaction: a $3.8 million loan to Cuba for silver ingots
  • the Bank's contribution to post-World War II reconstruction: $2 billion authorized in 1946 for the reconstruction of Europe later recognized under the Marshall Plan
  • helping Mexico while sustaining U.S. jobs: Ex-Im Bank joins IMF for a $10 billion financial package for Mexico
  • paying our own way: In 2007, Congress authorizes the Bank to operate without an appropriation as the Bank pays for its operations solely from fees collected from the beneficiaries of its financing
  • contributing to economic recovery: In 2008 and today, Ex-Im Bank responds to the financial crisis with enhancements to several products to help ensure that exporters and suppliers, especially small businesses, maintain access to trade finance.

Ex-Im Bank is the official export-credit agency of the United States. The independent, self-sustaining federal agency helps create and maintain U.S. jobs by financing the sale of U.S. exports, primarily to emerging markets throughout the world, by providing loan guarantees, export-credit insurance and direct loans. In fiscal year 2008, Ex-Im Bank authorized $14.4 billion in financing to support an estimated $19.6 billion of U.S. exports worldwide.

In Fiscal Year 2008, Ex-Im Bank authorized $3.2 billion -- more than 22 percent of total authorizations -- in direct support of U.S. small businesses as primary exporters. The Bank approved 2,328 transactions for the direct benefit of small business exporters, representing 86 percent of the total number of transactions approved. In addition, an estimated $1.1 billion of Ex-Im Bank's long-term authorizations is attributable to indirect small business exports -- goods or services that are sold by U.S. small businesses to other U.S. companies and subsequently exported.