A little-known government entity is responsible for helping 53 Colorado companies – with a total export value of nearly $236 million — obtain loans to manufacture and export goods overseas.
The Export-Import Bank was created in 1934 to encourage banks to underwrite exporting ventures. The bank guarantees 90 percent of any loan written for companies for the purpose of manufacturing goods to be exported.
“The Export-Import Bank is a quasi-government U.S. agency,” said George Boutin, director of the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce’s Office of International Affairs. “It insures risks that community or investment banks might not be willing to take to exporters to sell goods overseas. If they are concerned they won’t get paid, the bank programs will guarantee the loans in cooperation with private banks.”
Joe Ringer, a senior business development officer for the bank, oversees business transactions in Colorado, New Mexico and parts of east and west Texas. He will be the keynote speaker during a chamber luncheon on Aug. 29.
Ringer has more than 30 years of domestic and international banking experience, and has been the Export-Import Bank since 1992.
“We work with all sizes of corporations,” he said. “But we focus on small businesses, the ones who need our help the most. I’m going to be in Colorado to try to encourage more banks to use our programs, and to let companies that are interested in exporting know that we can help.”
The ExIm Bank, as it’s known in industry circles, does not issue loans. It underwrites capital programs for small and medium sized production facilities. Any company that needs working capital to manufacture goods for export, or buy goods for export, is eligible for the bank’s underwriting program.
“Very few banks want to get involved with this,” Ringer said. “We’re trying to get more of them interested. We need to increase our exports.”
The ExIm Bank has underwritten loans for companies in 17 cities in Colorado, Ringer said. Four companies in El Paso County have benefited from the bank’s programs, according to its Web site, www.exim.gov.
But the bank, an independent government agency, does more than underwrite loans, Ringer said. It also provides a post-export program.
“Sometimes countries we export to will want to buy things on credit,” he said. “Many companies ask for cash in advance or operate with a line of credit. We issue short and medium term credit in those cases.”
The program has one main purpose. “By increasing exports, we can increase the number of jobs available in the community and in the country,” Ringer said.
He points to the burgeoning trade deficit as a reason why more banks should back companies willing to export goods. The trade deficit is nearing $700 billion and the trade deficit with China is $200 billion, he said.
“As a country, we need to export more goods,” he said. “That’s why our focus is on the small businesses, people who need our help. We’ll work with any size company, however.”
Boutin said the program should be popular in the Springs. The city boasts $1.6 billion worth of exports each year, and he said his office is continually trying to encourage more exports from the city.
Colorado Springs 3
Fort Collins 2
Fort Lupton 1
Greenwood Village 1
Source: ExIm Bank