Liz McCormick Published

The Export-Import Bank Seeks to Empower Small Businesses in W.Va.


Those attending an event at the Culture Center in Charleston learned more about how the Export-Import Bank might help them succeed. Senator Joe Manchin and Export Import Bank Chairman, Fred Hochberg hosted the forum titled, Small Business Global Access: Your Competitive Edge.

The Export-Import Bank of the United States, also known as the Ex-Im Bank identifies as an independent, self-sustaining federal agency with the mission of financing U.S. exports to create and maintain jobs in the United States. It assumes the credit and country risks a private sector is unable or unwilling to accept, and does this work at no cost of the American taxpayer.

“We support US companies, mostly small businesses, so they can tap into overseas markets,” said Hochberg. “Ninety-five percent of the world’s consumers live outside the US, and I want to make sure that West Virginia’s companies are tapping into those rich markets.”

Senator Joe Manchin says he’s excited to have chairman Hochberg in Charleston to discuss the benefits the Ex-Im Bank would bring to small businesses in West Virginia.

“I never thought that we as West Virginians had access or knew enough to access the Import-Export Bank,” said Manchin, “and all the things they can do and help us open up a whole global market, was something I was excited about. So I asked Fred, I said Fred would you come to West Virginia? He said, be happy too. So he’s here today, because of the enthusiasm that we have to try to help West Virginians create more business to create more jobs, and that’s really what it’s about.”

The Ex-Im Bank assists small businesses in four ways:

  • Providing payment coverage for both commercial and political risks.
  • Extending credit to buyers which allows exporters to sell on competitive “open account” terms instead of acquiring cash-in-advance, credit cards, etc.
  • Guaranteeing an exporter’s inventory be turned into eligible collateral for the lender.
  • Through term financing where foreign buyers may obtain financing at competitive rates and extended repayment terms.

“We’ve got companies here in the full range in the service industry, manufacturing, company that makes scales that weighs Konawa, Konawa Scale Company that weighs heavy equipment, Level Tech, equipment manufacturers, energy, a full range of products, products and services. What we need to do is, West Virginia has a lot of talent, a lot of great businesses, we need to make sure that West Virginia companies are hitting global markets and building in sales and then supporting more jobs here at home.”
Manchin noted that many West Virginians with small businesses want to stay in the state but they worry they can’t make a living here.  Manchin thinks that if you have an idea and the work ethic, you should be able to live anywhere and support yourself, and by seeking the aid of the Export-Import Bank, you can do this.

“What we do at the Export-Import Bank, we’re about supporting businesses, small businesses with export sales so that [they’re] better jobs here at home, and this is all about jobs. Like the senator said, more people can make a living, a good living here, by tapping into worldwide markets.”