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EX-IM BANK, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE JOIN EFFORTS TO STIMULATE EXPORT ASSISTANCE TO UNDERSERVED RURAL U.S. BUSINESSES

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 15, 1999

Media Contact Name/Phone: 

Linda Formella (202) 565-3200

Washington, D.C.: The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) and the the U.S. Department of Agriculture, acting through its Rural Business-Cooperative Service (RBS), have signed an agreement to work together to stimulate small business expansion through exporting in underserved rural areas and small towns.

This new agreement is an important step forward for U.S. businesses in underserved rural areas, where export financing has been limited. Ex-Im Bank and the Department of Agriculture are going to pool our resources to enable small businesses in rural communities to obtain the export financing they need to access the global marketplace, Ex-Im Bank Vice Chair Jackie Clegg said.

Ex-Im Bank and RBS will coordinate efforts to improve rural businesses' access to export financing; coordinate delivery of business development programs; develop partnerships with other federal, state, and local government and private organizations to facilitate small business support; and foster sustainable employment and quality of life for residents in these areas. This effort is in addition to Ex-Im Bank's new pilot program that offers underserved small businesses, including those in rural areas, 100 percent coverage on Ex-Im Bank-guaranteed working capital loans. (Regular coverage is 90 percent.)

Ex-Im Bank has been working to increase access to its financing programs in rural markets through regional office staff contacts and training, and personal visits by Ex-Im Bank board members. Ex-Im Bank Chairman Harmon will visit Des Moines, Iowa, on November 18, and recently visited New Jersey and Pennsylvania. In 1999, Ex-Im Bank Vice Chair Jackie Clegg visited Kentucky, North Carolina, Hawaii, Alaska, and Washington.

Ex-Im Bank is an independent federal agency that assists in financing U.S. exports of goods and services to developing markets around the globe. In fiscal year 1999, Ex-Im Bank authorized financing to support $17 billion of U.S. exports. Ex-Im Bank supported $2 billion of small business exports, which constituted 86 percent of the total number of Ex-Im Bank transactions approved in fiscal year 1999.