What Is the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM)?
The Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) is a public entity and the official export credit agency (ECA) of the United States. EXIM provides loans, guarantees, and insurance to help domestic companies limit the risk of selling goods and services in overseas markets.
The goal of the agency is to support American jobs through U.S. exports. Backed by the full faith of the U.S. government, EXIM is governed by a board of directors.
- The Export-Import Bank is the export credit agency of the United States.
- EXIM's mission is to support American jobs through U.S. exports.
- EXIM provides loans, guarantees, and insurance services to foreign buyers to finance purchases of products from American exporting businesses.
- The agency is backed by the full faith of the U.S. government, which allows it to assume country-specific risks that the private sector doesn't assume.
- EXIM is governed by a board of directors.
Understanding the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM)
President Franklin D. Roosevelt created two Export-Import Banks in 1934. The first was devised to establish trade relations with the Soviet Union while the other was meant for trade with Cuba. Both of these institutions were merged into a single bank the following year. It operates under a charter that was made permanent by the Export-Import Bank Act of 1945.
EXIM is a federal agency that supports U.S. jobs by facilitating exports of goods and services. As noted above, its mission is to help create American jobs through the export of U.S. goods. The bank levels the playing field for U.S. exporters, as there are around 116 ECAs globally that support their domestic exporters.
By offering financing for foreign buyers to purchase U.S. exports, it seeks to make U.S. products more competitive in global markets, especially where foreign competitors also enjoy support from their own ECAs.
The agency is backed by the full faith of the U.S. government and doesn't compete with the private sector. As such, it is able to accept the type of country risk that private businesses can't or won't assume. It offers trade finance solutions such as:
- Insurance against foreign default
- Working capital guarantees
- Guarantees on letters of credit extended by foreign banks
- Loans provided to potential export purchasers
It also allows domestic businesses to take out loans backed by foreign receivables or foreign assets.
The bank generates revenue from interest and fees and has contributed $9.5 billion to government coffers since 1992. Risk management is prudent, with a reported default rate of 1.555% as of June 30, 2021.
The bank is important to small businesses because the credit and guarantees it provides help small exporters to expand into new and riskier markets.
EXIM is led by a five-member board of directors (BOD). The board represents both political parties. Board members are appointed by the U.S. president and confirmed by the Senate. The board requires at least three members to conduct business, approve transactions, and make policies. The agency operated without a full board for a few years between July 2015 and May 2019. As of 2021, the bank was reinstated to "full financing capacity."
Fiscal Year Highlights
The agency reveals some of the key highlights in its annual reports. Here are some of the most important financial metrics, according to the most recent report for 2021:
- The authorization of $5.8 billion in loans, guarantees, and insurance
- U.S. export sales of $9.2 billion
- Supporting 39,000 jobs
In 2021, the agency announced the formation of a new division called the Office of Global Finance Development. The main purpose of this group is to market various programs, especially medium - and long-term ones, to the global market.