The US Senate confirmed Kimberly Reed as president of the US Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank), along with Spencer Bachus III and Judith DelZoppo Pryor as members of the board of directors.
With their confirmations, the Ex-Im Bank now has the board quorum required to approve loans greater than USD10 million and longer than seven years, something it has not been able to do since 2015.
Marco Poisler, chief operating officer global energy and capital projects at Houston-based project forwarder UTC, has been a staunch supporter of the Ex-Im Bank and has lobbied extensively for its return to full functionality. “Since 2015, a small number of opponents have blocked filling these vacancies. The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) estimates the USA lost at least USD119 billion in manufacturing output, translating into 80,000 fewer manufacturing jobs in 2016/17 alone as a result,” he said.
The Ex-Im Bank is just one of more than 100 export credit agencies (ECA) that support their respective domestic manufacturers in bidding on international contracts. Poisler said the reauthorisation gives US project developers another viable source of financing.
“Senator Graham summed it up succinctly by noting: ‘(The Bank’s) work is vital to American competitiveness and jobs. It makes money for taxpayers (and) it allows American companies to…compete with overseas companies who have access to capital that you do not’,” Poisler added.
The Ex-Im Bank took centre stage in 2015 with some politicians criticising it as a vehicle for crony capitalism and inefficient use of taxpayer money. Ex-Im's authorisation expired altogether for more than five months in 2015.