Jun 24, 2014 - 8:30am

Ex-Im Bank: Helping U.S. Companies Reach their Export Potential

McSweeney Holdings Michael McSweeney Urges Ex-Im Reathorization

Exports breathe new life into businesses. They transform whole communities through job growth. And that’s what the Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im) delivers: global tools that reap lasting local benefits.

That’s especially true when it comes to Ex-Im’s work with small businesses. Last year, Ex-Im set a record for the number of small business transactions -- $37 billion in exports that in turn sustained more than 200,000 American jobs at 3,400 companies. Nearly 90% of Ex-Im’s authorizations directly served small companies—another historic high. Tens of thousands of smaller companies that supply goods and services to large exporters also benefit from Ex-Im’s activities.

Gaining access to global markets is what empowers small companies to grow into big companies. The U.S. Chamber and the National Association of Manufacturers know that better than anyone. The two groups have come together to urge Congress to act swiftly to reauthorize the bank before its charter lapses on September 30. The Chamber and NAM have released a letter from more than 800 companies and associations of all sizes showing the tremendous support for the Bank.

Below are just two stories of small- and medium-sized businesses that have benefited from Ex-Im. There are a lot more Ex-Im success stories here. And if you want to learn more about the Chamber’s efforts, visit uschamber.com/ex-im and send a letter to your Members of Congress.

Bank Offers ‘Bulletproof’ Financing for U.S. Custom Auto Maker

Based in Trussville, Alabama, McSweeney Holdings has made specialty automobiles for General Motors since 1979. Southern Comfort Automotive, Starcraft, Star Limo, MCM Vehicles and MCX are some of the brands that McSweeney has made famous not only here in the United States, but also in China, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and the Netherlands.

McSweeney Holdings employs about 100 people in Alabama, and a large percentage of these workers depend on exports for their livelihood.

McSweeney Holdings has been helped by Ex-Im. “It allows us to offer better payment terms to our buyers and give them a longer grace period to pay for our products,” says McSweeney. 60 other countries have their equivalent of Ex-Im, so without it, U.S. firms would be at a marked disadvantage.

Ex-Im’s authorization expires on September 30. If Congress fails to reauthorize it before then, American businesses will surely lose out to foreign competitors who are backed by their larger, more aggressive export credit agencies. “Ex-Im lets us sell our products to places that private lenders won’t go alone. So Ex-Im teams up with Wells Fargo to let us take bold risks and create new jobs. I urge Congress to support America by reauthorizing Ex-Im Bank.”  

Read McSweeney Holdings’ story

Spectrum Aeromed's Chad Kost Urges Ex-Im Reauthorization


Ex-Im Helps Medical Equipment Manufacturer Clinch Royal Deals

Spectrum Aeromed in Fargo, ND, was three weeks away from bankruptcy in 2007 when it discovered the power of exports. Fast forward to 2014, and Spectrum Aeromed is now a leader in aircraft medical equipment, providing specialized medical devices to the Saudi royal family and the King of Kuwait.

Following a buyout by internationally minded president, Spectrum Aeromed soon expanded its sales to the Middle East, South Korea, Thailand, Australia, India, Turkey, China, Brazil and Ecuador. “Sales have more tripled since 2008,” says Chad Kost, Chief Operating Officer. “Depending on the year, exports make up 65-70% of our total sales. As the U.S. market is largely developed, most of our growth opportunity is overseas.”

With this growth came jobs. Spectrum Aeromed more than doubled its staff since 2007, and now employs around 35 people, full-time and part-time. 

One vital service which Spectrum has regularly used is Ex-Im. “When a buyer wants terms other than what we normally provide, that’s when we use Ex-Im. It lets us do deals that we otherwise could not have done if Ex-Im didn’t exist.”

As the bank is up for reauthorization this year, Kost recognizes the value of the bank to both Spectrum Aeromed and also to the U.S. taxpayer: “It’s the only government entity that returns money to the Treasury. I urge Congress to reauthorize Ex-Im Bank so it can continue to help grow small businesses and shrink the budget deficit.”

Read Spectrum Aeromed’s story


About the Author

About the Author

Erik Sulcs is former video communications producer at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce