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JP Morgan Chase Managers Meeting

Fred P. Hochberg

Jan 09, 2013 – Washington, D.C.

I'm excited to be here at JP Morgan Chase to discuss how the public sector can help support U.S. investment and trade.It's my favorite subject.

Plus, in private life, I've been a card-carrying customer of your bank for 27 years.Here's my card!

Good ideas.Eager customers.Quality products and services.Access to capital.These are fundamental to a strong export economy.

The Fed has estimated a three-percent GDP growth rate for 2013.Exports have been a bright spot in this recovery - with huge potential for even more growth.That's partly why our economy added 25,000 manufacturing jobs in December.

With all this going well, the last thing our exporters need is lack of capital.

That's where the Export-Import Bank comes in - to provide competitive export financing where others are unable or unwilling to step in.

Fortunately, JP Morgan Chase has been with us ever since our beginning in 1934.

Most recently, you had a key role in financing Ethiopian Airlines purchase of Boeing aircraft.I can tell you that the airline's executives are very happy with their new planes.

Boeing's happy too. Its total deliveries topped 600 planes last year for the first time since 1999.

Moreover, JP Morgan Chase's role with us in financing sales of U.S. equipment and services to Pemex has a double bonus - renewal of Mexican oil production and thousands of new jobs in our oil industry.Pemex is now the Bank's largest single obligor, private or public.

For the future, we have more financing capacity than ever.Last year's reauthorization increased our financing cap from $100 billion in outstanding commitments to $140 billion by 2014.

Many of you are familiar with our products and priorities, so I won't burden you by reeling off a list.

But here are three that deserve mention.

First, our very successful Ex-Im Bank-guaranteed bonds have expanded the pool of capital to back U.S. exports - 23 issues in the last six months.

These primarily financed commercial aircraft sales, but we've increased their use for other industries, such as a 10-year bond to support Pemex's purchases of our goods and services.

Second, we've moved strongly into infrastructure financing in developing economies from southern Africa and South Asia to Latin America.

India alone expects to spend a trillion dollars in the next five years for infrastructure like highways, railways, electricity and telecommunications.

Sub-Saharan Africa is poised for a takeoff, as well.I was there in August and liked what I saw.

Ex-Im last year financed about seven percent of all U.S. exports in that region - and we're prepared for an even bigger role there in the future.

And third, we are focusing on improved customer service by working smarter, to drive down even further the time it takes to process applications and disburse funds.

Four years ago, we had a staff of only about 400.Today, we have about the same number - yet our authorizations have increased by 150 percent.

Plus, after paying all our costs, we returned $803 million to the U.S. Treasury.That amounted to $2 million each Ex-Im employee returned to taxpayers - and not one of them expected a bonus!

So these things are going well.

But I'll tell you what keeps me up at night - reaching our goal to expand financing for small businesses.

A lot of big lenders won't work with them.They get few economies of scale.They're at the mercy of bigger competitors and difficult customers.

I saw that first-hand when my mother struggled with a small business, the Lillian Vernon Catalog, and ultimately succeeded.It's tough.

So serving small businesses isn't just an agency goal for me - it's personal.

Some of our new products, like Global Express, have been very helpful, but we need better outreach and service.

I also know that there is a huge small business market waiting for all of us to serve.We'll continue to work on our products and processes to make it easier for you to participate.

In closing, I remind you why the Export-Import Bank exists - to level the playing field for overseas sales and create good jobs for American workers.That's an urgent necessity these days.

It moved President Obama to create his National Export Initiative - a comprehensive federal effort to double U.S. exports by the end of 2014.

Ex-Im financing supported 950,000 export-related jobs in the last four years - 255,000 in the last year alone.We're determined to increase those numbers even more, with your help.

In short, we're open for business.Come talk with us. Bring us your ideas.We want to strengthen our partnership.

Thank you.