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MERIDIAN FINANCE GROUP, LOS ANGELES, CA, TO BE RECOGNIZED AT EX-IM BANK ANNUAL CONFERENCE IN WASHINGTON, D.C., APRIL 22-23

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 21, 2003

Media Contact Name/Phone: 

Marianna Ohe (202) 565-3200

Meridian Finance Group, Los Angeles, Calif., has been chosen to receive the 2003 Small Business Broker of the Year award from the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) for its successful contributions to the U.S. export effort and U.S. job creation. Meridian will be honored at an awards ceremony on the first day of Ex-Im Bank's Annual Conference April 22-23 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Meridian is the broker of approximately 170 active Ex-Im Bank export credit insurance policies in 18 states, of which 130 are small business policies. The company's customers represent a wide range of manufacturing and service industries from food to capital equipment to software.

Meridian Finance Group is an outstanding partner of Ex-Im Bank in supporting U.S. small businesses that otherwise would not be able to compete in the global marketplace, said Ex-Im Bank Chairman Philip Merrill. By providing these companies with Ex-Im Bank insurance, Meridian helps protect them against payment default by foreign buyers, and enables them to get the financing they need to fill foreign orders while offering competitive credit terms.

Meridian Finance Group President Gary Mendell said: The potential market for Ex-Im Bank export credit insurance includes thousands of U.S. exporters, many of whom are not even aware of this kind of coverage. One of Meridian's strategic business objectives is to expand our successful partnership with Ex-Im Bank in order to sell policies to as many of these exporters as possible.

Meridian works closely with Ex-Im Bank's regional offices, City-State Partners, and delegated authority lenders around the country to reach new potential exporters. In addition to export credit insurance, Meridian provides access for U.S. exporters to cross-border equipment leasing, private sector credit insurance, political risk coverage, and other export financing alternatives.

Ex-Im Bank is an independent federal government agency that helps finance the sale of U.S. exports, primarily to emerging markets, by providing loans, guarantees and export credit insurance. In fiscal year 2002, Ex-Im Bank authorized financing to support $13 billion of U.S. exports worldwide.