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Media Contact Name/Phone: 

Linda Formella (202) 565-3200

WASHINGTON, D.C.: Frost Bank of San Antonio, Texas, has been named the 2004 Regional Bank of the Year for the southwestern region by the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank). The bank received the award at Ex-Im Bank's 2004 annual conference today in Washington, D.C.

Frost Bank, which operates solely in Texas, extended the largest number of working capital loans guaranteed by Ex-Im Bank in the Southwest last year. The bank is one of Ex-Im Bank's delegated authority lenders that can commit Ex-Im Bank's guarantee of working capital loans to U.S. exporters. All of the companies that benefited from the Ex-Im Bank-guaranteed working capital loans extended by Frost Bank last year were small businesses, and 41 percent of them were minority-owned. Frost Bank also actively provides Ex-Im Bank's short-term and medium-term financing for U.S. exports to Mexico.

Frost Bank is an outstanding regional bank in the southwestern United States. As an Ex-Im Bank delegated authority lender, Frost provides small businesses with the funds they need to prepare products or services for export, Ex-Im Bank Chairman Philip Merrill said. Frost Bank has done an outstanding job of using our working capital guarantees and insurance to help small companies in Texas to grow through exporting.

Frost Bank is honored to receive this award. Partnering with Ex-Im Bank has enabled Frost Bank to provide needed financing to assist Texas exporters and foreign buyers of Texas products, said Harlton Hemphill, Frost Bank's senior vice president of international lending.

Ex-Im Bank's 29th annual conference on April 29 and 30, at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C., will include speeches by Treasury Secretary John Snow, Commerce Secretary Donald Evans, and others. It will also feature specialized workshops and exhibits on export finance and trade to help U.S. exporters expand their sales to foreign markets. In conjunction with the conference, Ex-Im Bank recognizes several companies each year for their high level of activity to increase U.S. exports through use of Ex-Im Bank programs.

Ex-Im Bank this year marks its 70th year of helping finance 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 2003, Ex-Im Bank, an independent federal agency, authorized financing to support $14.3 billion of U.S. exports worldwide. For more information on Ex-Im Bank and its annual conference, visit www.exim.gov.