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Classic American Hardwoods is EXIM'S Exporter of the Year

EXIM’s insurance helped Memphis business rehire 60 employees, add 15 jobs


Media Contact Name/Phone: 

Linda Formella (202-565-3204); Chad Crowley (202-565-3216)

Washington, D.C. – Classic American Hardwoods (CAH), a Memphis-based small business, has been named Exporter of the Year by the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM). CAH will accept the award at EXIM’s 2018 Annual Conference, which is being held at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C., on April 19-20.

With the support of EXIM’s export credit insurance, CAH was able to rehire 60 employees after the company had to lay them off in 2007 during the collapse of the U.S. housing market. Despite the devastating effect this crisis had on the domestic lumber industry, the company was able to use EXIM insurance to rebound by breaking into new markets in Europe and Asia.

“CAH exemplifies EXIM’s mission of supporting and creating jobs through exports. We are pleased to recognized CAH’s ‘can-do’ efforts to overcome a domestic market crisis, find new markets abroad, and retain and create jobs in Memphis. EXIM is proud to have played a role in supporting this great American success story,” said EXIM Senior Vice President of Small Business James Burrows.

“We view EXIM as an integral partner in our ever-evolving and growing international business. Their professionalism and service are unmatched. Without EXIM’s assistance, we would not have enjoyed the growth and success of the past eight years,” said CAH CEO Bill Courtney.

Like most small businesses, CAH maintains cash flow through asset-based lending, which consists of a revolving line of credit secured against a borrower’s inventory and assets. CAH’s lender, however, would only agree to make the company’s foreign receivables eligible as security if they were insured.

Initially, the company was able to access private export credit insurance, and exports boomed. Then the 2008 financial crisis hit hard, and CAH’s insurer canceled their policy at a time when exports constituted 60 percent of total sales, leading to layoffs. Enter EXIM. Insurance broker World Trade Consult LLC led CAH to purchase EXIM’s insurance, which secured CAH’s foreign receivables and enabled the company to regain access to financing. As a result, CAH rehired 60 workers and subsequently added 15 jobs.

Ten years later, CAH exports to customers in 27 countries around the world and has increased revenue by 67 percent, with 100 percent of this increase resulting from export sales. Over the same period, the company topped $150 million in sales insured by EXIM without a single dollar of credit loss.

Over the past five years, EXIM has provided $325 million in authorizations in support of an estimated $1 billion of U.S. exports sourced from 70 Tennessee businesses, 45 of which were small businesses.


EXIM Bank is an independent and self-sustaining federal agency that provides competitive and necessary export credit to overseas purchasers of U.S. exports to promote and support American jobs. A robust and fully functioning EXIM Bank can assist the United States in leveling the global playing field for U.S. exporters when they compete against foreign companies that receive the support of their national export-credit agencies. EXIM also contributes to U.S. economic growth and the support of more than a million jobs through the support of thousands of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) around the country. Since 2000, EXIM Bank has provided $14.6 billion to the U.S. Treasury after paying for all of its administrative and program expenses.