This fiscal year for the first time, the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) has set an all-time single-year record of more than $500 million in export financing for minority-owned and woman-owned businesses in the United States. The Bank’s financing has supported more than 400 transactions and an estimated 7,000 American jobs across the country.
Ex-Im Bank employs a business-development team devoted exclusively to assisting minority-owned and woman-owned businesses. The team provides resources on how to access global markets and use Ex-Im’s export financing to break into or expand export sales.
"In this tough economy, increasing exports is essential for growth and prosperity. Ex-Im Bank has reached a new height in support of minority-owned and woman-owned companies, but we need to do more," said Ex-Im Bank Chairman and President Fred P. Hochberg. "Our dedicated staff can assist these firms, many of which are small businesses, in accessing the financing products to provide them with the funds to expand and the confidence that they will be paid for foreign sales."
Maya Williams, president and founder of Morganna's Alchemy, LLC of Port Richey, Fla., sought the Bank's assistance after learning about export-finance products from the company’s insurance broker, Meridian Finance Group. Williams met with Ex-Im Bank staff and the Meridian agent, who moved quickly on a transaction. The company was approved for a $250,000 Ex-Im Bank small-business multibuyer export-credit insurance policy  to help it offer favorable credit terms to foreign buyers and expand sales. Williams also learned more about Ex-Im Bank’s financing products at the Bank’s Global Access for Small Business forum  in Tampa, Fla.
The company is both a minority-owned and a woman-owned small business that manufactures medicinal and botanical skin care products from plant extracts, including those formulated to treat many different ethnic skin types. With exports already comprising 80 percent of total sales, the company was looking to grow its international business further.
Today, Morganna's Alchemy has 20 wholesalers in five countries. With the Ex-Im Bank policy, it is now able to offer 60-day payment terms to its foreign customers. The expected growth from the resulting sales will help the company expand into a new facility and add three new jobs.
"Ex-Im Bank has provided my company with insurance to grow and do business overseas with no worries," said Williams.
AR Chem Tex Industries LLC, of Edinburg, Texas, exports chemical-treatment products and equipment such as soap sticks for gas wells. The company was seeking to enter new foreign markets but did not have the ability to finance that expansion. The company's president, Art Lopez, attended an Ex-Im Bank Global Access forum in Weslaco, Texas, where he learned about Ex-Im Bank's financing products for small business.
AR Chem Tex received a $500,000 loan from Frost National Bank backed by an Ex-Im Bank working capital loan guarantee  to finance its business expansion. AR Chem also was approved for a $500,000 small-business multibuyer insurance policy  for the financing and risk protection of its foreign receivables. Both products helped the company increase sales to Mexico and Venezuela as well as begin exporting to Argentina and Colombia. As a consequence, the company has hired five new employees and tripled its overall sales.
"We hadn't expanded into new markets because of limited capital and difficulty financing our products," said Lopez. "Now that we have financing from Ex-Im Bank, we are selling in new markets in Latin America."
Ex-Im Bank has seen the majority of its increased authorizations for minority-owned and woman-owned businesses in the manufacturing and transportation-industry sectors. Among these businesses, the Bank’s small-business multibuyer insurance was the most popular product, followed by working capital loan guarantees. The Bank anticipates additional authorizations for transactions in the pipeline for minority-owned and woman-owned businesses in the fourth quarter of FY 2012.
ABOUT EX-IM BANK
Ex-Im Bank is an independent federal agency that helps create and maintain U.S. jobs by filling gaps in private export financing at no cost to American taxpayers. In the past five years, Ex-Im Bank has earned for U.S. taxpayers nearly $1.9 billion above the cost of operations. The Bank provides a variety of financing mechanisms, including working capital guarantees, export-credit insurance and financing to help foreign buyers purchase U.S. goods and services.
Ex-Im Bank approved $32.7 billion in total authorizations in FY 2011 -- an all-time Ex-Im record. This total includes more than $6 billion directly supporting small-business export sales -- also an Ex-Im record. Ex-Im Bank's total authorizations are supporting an estimated $41 billion in U.S. export sales and approximately 290,000 American jobs in communities across the country. For more information, visit www.exim.gov .
Media Contact: Adrian Gianforti, 202-565-3200