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EXPORTS UP 120% AT EL PASO'S THIGPIN DISTRIBUTING

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 3, 1999

Media Contact Name/Phone: 

Nancy Publicover at (202) 565-3200

WASHINGTON -- Thigpin Distributing Inc. of El Paso, Texas has increased annual export sales to Mexico by an estimated 120 percent during the past five years with the help of export credit insurance from Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank).

A wholesaler of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment, Thigpin Distributing is using Ex-Im Bank's small business multi-buyer export credit insurance as a financing tool to obtain affordable private sector loans and offer better credit terms to overseas buyers. The insurance protects against payment default on foreign receivables for multiple sales over the term of the policy and can be used as collateral on the financing of the shipment.

Company founder and President Thomas Thigpin recalled that before he came to Ex-Im Bank, his family-owned business had to assume export risks on its own. The company would require payment terms of 50 percent up front and 50 percent upon delivery -- a stressful and often unproductive arrangement that sometimes resulted in delivery trucks idling in parking lots unable to unload while they awaited receipt of the final payment.

Small businesses face unique obstacles to entering and thriving in overseas markets -- even in Mexico, the largest market for U.S. goods, said Ex-Im Bank board member Maria Luisa Haley. Ex-Im Bank's programs for small businesses give entrepreneurs access to the private-sector financing that helps them succeed in today's global economy.

Insurance broker Bob Dockendorf of Rogers & Belding in El Paso brought Thigpin to Ex-Im Bank at the suggestion of Thigpin's lender, Bank of the West, also of El Paso. Dockendorf pointed out that Bank of the West would not have been able to extend financing to Thigpin without the payment protection offered by export credit insurance. As an Ex-Im Bank-affiliated brokerage, Rogers & Belding was able to help the company obtain the Ex-Im Bank small business insurance coverage best suited to its export financing needs.

In Texas, Ex-Im Bank has served 1,062 companies in 132 communities over the last five years, financing a total of $3.7 billion in exports and sustaining an estimated 52,983 jobs. Fifty-six percent of the transactions financed were on behalf of small businesses like Thigpin.

The Ex-Im Bank is an independent U.S. government agency that assists in financing the export of U.S. goods and services to industrializing and developing markets all over the world, by providing loans, guarantees, and insurance. Nationally, Ex-Im Bank supported approximately $13 billion in U.S. exports in the 1998 fiscal year.