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Export-Import Bank 101: Protecting Small Business Exporters and Driving Economic Growth

Post: Dec. 15, 2016


Note: This blog post was written by our friends at the Export-Import Bank of the United States.

Are you one of the 300,000 U.S.-based small businesses that export your products and services to international markets?  Do you know there are ways to protect your company’s assets from non-payment by foreign buyers and to improve your cash flow? 

Established in 1934, the Export-Import Bank of the United States is an independent federal government agency whose mission is to support U.S.-based jobs by facilitating the export of U.S.-produced goods and services.   EXIM Bank is the official export credit agency of the United States and fills in the gaps when private sector lenders are unable or unwilling to provide financing for international sales, and almost 90 percent of EXIM Bank’s transactions support small businesses.  Here are a few examples of ways EXIM Bank supports small business exporters:

Export Credit Insurance

Export credit insurance is an insurance policy issued by a commercial broker that is underwritten with the full faith and credit of the United States Government.  The policy protects exporters’ accounts receivables and empowers companies to increase their competitiveness by offering credit terms to foreign buyers up front.  With export credit insurance, an exporter can:

  • Extend credit terms to foreign customers at very low risk.
  • Insure against nonpayment by international buyers.
  • Cover commercial (e.g., bankruptcy) and political (e.g. war or the inconvertibility of currency) risks.
  • Arrange financing through a lender by using insured receivables as additional collateral.

Working Capital Loan Guarantee

Building products and/or preparing proposals for international buyers often require an infusion of cash.  EXIM Bank’s Working Capital Loan Guarantee can unlock cash flow and provide funds to fuel international sales.  Funds can be used to:

  • Pay for materials, equipment, supplies, labor and other inputs to fulfill export orders.
  • Post standby letters of credit serving as bid bonds, performance bonds or payment guarantees.
  • Purchase finished products for export.

EXIM Bank doesn’t replace your commercial bank.  We work with your lender to provide a 90 percent loan guarantee that backs the debt and protects the lender from nonpayment.


Export credit insurance and working capital loan guarantees are just two examples of ways EXIM Bank supports small businesses that have been in business for at least one year and have financial statements or tax returns and a D&B DUNS number, and are exporting products that have greater than 50 percent U.S. content, including labor but excluding mark-up.  EXIM Bank products are generally not available for exports to foreign militaries and defense related industries, with some exceptions (e.g. some agriculture products).

Learn More

EXIM Bank has regional offices located throughout the country that can answer questions, provide education on products and services and guide you through the application process. 

Simply complete the Request for Consultation form below and an EXIM Bank representative will contact you shortly.  Remember the old saying?  Well, we are from the federal government, and we really are here to help!

Click Here to request a Free Consultation