What Is the Private Export Funding Corporation (PEFCO)?

The Private Export Funding Corporation (PEFCO) is a private-sector source of funding for financing exports from the United States. It was formed by a group of commercial banks with the support of the United States Export‐Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank or EXIM). It provides a broad range of export finance programs, both as a direct lender and as a buyer in the secondary market of export loans originated by other lenders.

In order to be eligible for financing by PEFCO, loans must be guaranteed against non-payment by the Ex-Im Bank.

Key Takeaways

  • The Private Export Funding Corporation (PEFCO) provides financial assistance and banking services to U.S.-based exporters.
  • PEFCO acts as an intermediary for third-party export loans that can satisfy a range of its customers' needs and time horizons.
  • PEFCO will only service loans that have been guaranteed by the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank or equivalent federal agency.

Understanding the Private Export Funding Corporation (PEFCO)

The Private Export Funding Corporation (PEFCO) was incorporated in April 1970; its establishment was supported by the U.S. Treasury and the Ex-Im Bank. Its shareholders comprise commercial banks involved in export financing (these hold the majority of its shares), companies that export U.S. goods and services, and financial services companies.

Its primary business is making loans to foreign importers to finance their purchases of U.S. goods and services, and it aims to supplement (not compete with) the financing available through the Ex-Im Bank, commercial banks, and other institutions. Its lending activities mirror the insurance activities of the Ex-Im Bank.

In other words, there is a PEFCO loan type available to match almost every insurance or guarantee offered by the Ex-Im Bank. Short-, medium- and long-term funding is all available, but there will be different characteristics attached to each maturity type of funding.

PEFCO's stock is owned by 26 U.S. commercial banks, one financial services company, and six industrial companies. In the case of commercial banks, the shares are owned directly or through an affiliate.

Because all loans extended by PEFCO are guaranteed by the Ex-Im Bank or other U.S. government institutions backed by the full faith and credit of the United States, PEFCO relies upon this and does not make its own evaluations of credit risks, appraisals of economic conditions in foreign countries or reviews of other factors in making its loans. The Exp-Im Bank is the primary export credit agency in the U.S., with a mandate to promote international trade by American businesses through financing export and import operations.

Special Considerations

As of year-end 2020, PEFCO had assets of $4.87 billion. Assets and revenues fell over the preceding year as a result of a stark drop in global commerce and shipping in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic that forced many businesses around the world to shut and families to shelter in place in response to government lockdowns.

While revenues fell in 2020, PEFCO notes in its annual report that it expects to continue to operate and "has not been materially affected" by the pandemic. Indeed, global shipping and international trade did pick up in 2021.