FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 18, 2008
Marianna Ohe (202-565-3206)
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Banco De Los Trabajadores (Bantrab), a worker-owned Guatemalan bank, will use a $10.6 million credit facility from the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI), guaranteed by the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank), to increase financing for Guatemalan buyers of U.S. goods and services.
In addition to lending to its 800,000 worker/shareholders, Bantrab serves Guatamalan corporate clients, many of them small and medium-sized enterprises. CABEI, based in Honduras, is a major source of multilateral financing for programs and projects aimed at economic and social development in Central America.
We are delighted to partner with these innovative lenders to develop new business for U.S. exporters and their Guatemalan buyers, said Ex-Im Bank Chief Operating Officer and Senior Vice President-Export Finance John A. McAdams. We've seen some interest in this market on the part of U.S. companies and we expect this financing facility to boost demand.
Bantrab already has identified a number of prospective Guatemalan customers to help with financing U.S. purchases.
Financing is critical to improve Central America's production capacity through the import of technology and capital goods, said CABEI President Harry Brautigam. Ex-Im Bank plays a key role in helping CABEI meet the needs of Central American importers, for example by filling in when a private bank cannot accept credit risk or does not offer long enough repayment terms.
The medium-term credit guarantee facility approved by Ex-Im Bank's board of directors has an availability period of one year.
Bantrab is a private institution owned 99.9 percent by individual workers, with the government of Guatemala holding a 0.1 percent stake. The bank's portfolio has grown from $258.9 million in 2005 to $373 million in 2007.
CABEI, with $5.0 billion in total assets and a loan portfolio of $3.9 billion, approved $2.9 billion in loans to its member countries in 2007. CABEI member countries include Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.
Ex-Im Bank is the official export-credit agency of the United States. The independent, self-sustaining federal agency, now in its 74th year, 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 2007, Ex-Im Bank authorized $12.6 billion in financing to support an estimated $16 billion of U.S. exports worldwide. For more information, visit www.exim.gov.