Reauthorize Ex-Im Bank

Reauthorize Ex-Im Bank

The Impact of an Ex-Im Bank Shutdown

On September 19, 2014 President Obama signed a Continuing Resolution (CR) which, in addition to funding the Government through December 11, 2014, extended the authorization for the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) to operate through June 30, 2015. Supporters of the Bank now have 9 months within which to push for a long term reauthorization of the Bank. If that effort fails, and no other stopgap measure is reached, the Bank will shutdown and its financing programs supporting U.S. exporters will cease, costing first hundreds and then thousands of jobs. CEE and other business associations continue to urge Congress to support a long term reauthorization of the Bank.

  • Companies that use Ex-Im Bank’s working capital guarantees are increasingly reluctant to bid on new work for fear that they will lack the capital to follow through.
  • Companies that depend upon the Bank’s medium-term financing program—which is overwhelmingly the most popular financing program offered by the Bank—are struggling with financing terms and conditions that are fundamentally uncompetitive as a consequence of the Bank’s misguided effort to placate Congressional opposition by driving loan-loss rates down to zero.
  • As for the large exporters, CEE has heard directly from several companies of efforts by export credit gencies (ECAs) to persuade U.S. companies to move production out of the United States in return for promises of the availability of aggressive ECA financing support.

U.S. business, conservative by its nature, is already pulling back and adopting a wait-and-see approach, which must include calculations about job suspensions or even firings, as this debate goes on in Washington.

If the Bank were actually to shut down this fall, U.S. exporters, both small and large, would move aggressively to explore options for maintaining their competitiveness or to minimize their losses. For some companies that means exploring the establishment of production facilities overseas or how otherwise to best reduce their reliance upon an Ex-Im Bank that is subject to unreliable congressional support.

For U.S. companies that are reliant upon working capital guarantees, a closure of the Bank will make certain that their ability to export will cease immediately upon the expiration of the available working capital. Some of these companies have made clear that they will likely go out of business as their export market disappears.

CEE has undertaken an informal poll of more than a dozen banks and other financial institutions that support small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) utilizing Ex-Im Bank working capital guarantees and the medium term program. Our findings were not unexpected, a high percentage of those companies would be immediately impacted by the loss of Ex-Im Bank programs, and to the extent the shutdown was prolonged, for as much as nine months to a year, a high percentage of the more than several thousand SME companies currently supported by the Bank would incur significant job reductions or go out of business, depending upon the importance of exports to their survival.