FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 12, 2005
Phil Cogan (202) 565-3200
WASHINGTON, D.C.: Philip Merrill announced today that he would step down as President and Chairman of the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) when his term ends on July 20, 2005. While Chairman Merrill's term ran concurrently with the presidential term that ended in January, federal statute allowed him to hold over in the position a maximum of six months. Chairman Merrill, of Maryland, was appointed by President Bush in 2002.
Chairman Merrill offered the following remarks:
It has been a distinct honor to serve as President and Chairman of the Export-Import Bank of the U.S. for almost three years. In that time, Ex-Im Bank's support of U.S. exports has grown over 35% to nearly $18 billion last year, and the number of transactions supporting small business exporters increased 20%. This performance was achieved without increasing staff size, without competing with the private sector, and without taking unreasonable risks. In fact, the default rate is only 1.6%.
I have enjoyed every minute working with Ex-Im Bank's excellent professional staff, and I am proud to have helped them advance the President's goal of boosting U.S. employment through exports.
I am comfortable that I am leaving this great institution in excellent shape and in the hands of able managers.
I am particularly proud to have served in the Bush-Cheney Administration, which has done so much to advance the cause of freedom and to promote economic development, equal opportunity, and free markets.
President Bush has announced that he intends to designate James H. Lambright to be Acting President of Ex-Im Bank. Lambright, a native of Missouri, currently serves as Ex-Im Bank's executive vice president and chief operating officer. The Export-Import Bank will be in good hands with Jim Lambright, Merrill said. He has sound judgment, is a first-rate executive, and knows the Bank well. As Acting President, Lambright will serve as Chairman of the Board.
Ex-Im Bank, the official export credit agency of the United States, is in its 71st 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 2004, Ex-Im Bank authorized financing to support $17.8 billion of U.S. exports worldwide.