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President's Export Council Meeting

Fred P. Hochberg

Dec 06, 2012 – Washington, D.C.

Panel Remarks by Fred P. Hochberg

Chairman and President, Export-Import Bank of the U.S.


Panel on Trade Promotion and Advocacy

Because of the strong letter this group drafted a letter back in March of 2011 and your other advocacy - we not only were reauthorized by Congress - we have a new exposure cap of $140 billion.

In doing so, you all recognized the importance of export finance to US jobs and American competitiveness - and the real-life impact on American workers and jobs. So thank you.

You helped hand us the ball - and this is where we carried it.

We just closed the books on FY12 - another record breaking year - authorizations of $35.8 billion - up from $32.7B the year before - and 150 percent up from four years ago.

Last year's amount supported 255,000 export-related jobs in America - a total of nearly one million in four years - moving us toward the goal set by President Obama's National Export Initiative.

We also set a new record for SMEs last year.And women and minority-owned businesses received 17 percent of all financing.

Some trends.

We've worn the title, Bank of Boeing, proudly - it's a tremendous export.But last year our structured finance business surpassed aviation for the first time - about $13 billion versus $12 billion, respectively.Sorry about that, Jim [McNerny].

That was for big projects like Sadara Chemical, jointly owned by the Saudis and Dow Chemical - a $5 billion direct loan - supporting 18,000 U.S. jobs.

We were also pleased to finance a $1 billion sale of Boeing planes for Ethiopian Air - so we're still in the aircraft finance business.

Looking ahead, we know that export finance will still be critical for exporters.For example, our loan for Sadara clinched the agreement.

We are here to level the playing field that our competitors are trying to tilt with a flood of unregulated export finance - a subject for another time.

And we are poised to help U.S. companies expand to take advantage of the tremendous opportunities for both new infrastructure projects - and our huge potential for business services.

Also, we are seeing significant growth in our project finance portfolio in the Mideast, Australia, and China and expect that demand to continue.

We are delighted to have met the many recommendations identified in this letter, but we still have some work cut out for us.

For example, we will be undertaking a review of our content policy in the coming months.

Also, although we've nearly doubled the amount of small business financing in four years, we have a lot of work ahead to grow that portfolio in line with the overall growth.

That's it in a nutshell.

Panel on Small and Medium-Size Business Engagement

I'll be brief - three points.

First, I helped run a business for two decades.I know that access to capital isn't just important - it means everything - especially for small businesses.

That's why I'm fierce about expanding access to capital for small exporters who come to us - and if they don't come to us, I go out and find them.

In the last two years, Ex-Im hosted 42 small business forums.Last year, we opened four new regional offices - bringing the total to 11 nationwide.

Second, we created three new financial products to meet small business needs - Global Credit Express, Supply Chain Finance Guarantee, and Express Insurance.

About the latter, we reduced the application for Express Insurance to one page - and here it is [holds up form].

Small businesses can fill out this form and expect a decision from us in five days.

Our traditional product, Export Credit Insurance, can also offer needed capital.Our smallest transaction last year was $10,000 for ACCI Inc., a New Jersey metals business.Our largest was $30 million for ABRO Industries of Indiana.

Third, we've cut down the time it takes for us to decide by pushing decision-making authority down to staff for most transactions - saving the credit committees for only the largest ones.

We completed 6,718 transactions last year - with an average day to decision of 15 days - half the number of days it took three years ago.

As a result, Ex-Im completed 90 percent of all transactions within 30 days - and 98 percent within 100 days - the biggest ones taking longer. We're determined to eliminate the two percent that take over 100 days.

We created the position of Vice President of Customer Experience to improve our turnaround time and quality of service even more.

In short, we want to expand our financing for small exporters - and we can do that only by relentless improvement in what we offer.