Aug 18, 2014 - 2:30pm

The Cost of Losing the Ex-Im Bank: Manufacturing Jobs in Illinois

Fellow, International Policy

Ahead of the midterm elections, Members of Congress know that their constituents care about one thing above all others: jobs. With the effects of the Great Recession still lingering, America needs jobs more than ever. Nowhere will jobs and economic issues be more important than Illinois, one of the nation’s leading manufacturing hubs, making the fate of the Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im) a top priority for the state. Franklin Roosevelt created the Ex-Im Bank in 1934 to help America move out of the Great Depression. The idea was simple: by financing the sales of American exports when the private market would not, high-paying jobs could be created and sustained.

Ex-Im has certainly helped Illinois, supporting 36,873 jobs in the state since 2007 by financing more than $5.7 billion of exports. Amazingly, it did this while returning over $1 billion to the U.S. treasury in 2013. However, Ex-Im’s charter expires on September 30th, and without Congressional reauthorization, many manufacturing jobs in Illinois will be put at risk.

While Ex-Im certainly helps many of Illinois’ most important manufacturers like Boeing, Caterpillar and Case New Holland, Ex-Im helps a much larger number of smaller firms like Mathews Company in Crystal Lake. Mathews Company makes grain dryers and exports them to over 50 countries. Since each dryer must be custom built for each market, private banks refuse to take on the risk. Jeremy Kemp, Sales & Marketing Manager, says, “Ex-Im fills a void no one else can fill. We’ve looked.”

Miner Elastomer in Geneva makes TecsPak® thermoplastic elastomer energy management systems, and it uses Ex-Im accounts receivable insurance. Ex-Im insurance protects American companies in cases of foreign buyer default, allowing even small companies to export. President Richard Beranek says, “Ex-Im is great. It is one of the few agencies that turns a profit and helps small businesses create jobs.”

Another company that uses Ex-Im insurance is NOW International in Bloomingdale, a vitamin and sports nutrition manufacturer. “NOW” stands for “Nutrition for Optimal Wellness.” Nearly 35 of NOW International’s jobs are directly supported by Ex-Im backed sales to countries such as the Netherlands, Poland, the UAE, and China. Losing Ex-Im would cost NOW customers and Illinois jobs.  

Illinois was the fifth leading exporting state in 2013, behind only Texas, California, New York, and Washington. Moreover, Illinois was the four leading state in terms of Ex-Im financing, receiving 4% of the agency’s total support. For Illinois politicians, businesses and citizens, reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank is an easy choice. 

Come September 30th, the equation is simple. Ex-Im supports U.S. manufacturing jobs, and manufacturing jobs support American families. This is as true for Illinois as it is for the rest of the country, which is why reauthorization is vital. Letting Ex-Im expire would cost America the one agency that creates jobs for taxpayers while putting money back into their pockets.

Support Ex-Im reauthorization and send a letter to Congress at

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About the Author

Fellow, International Policy