"It's hard enough to know how you're going to get paid down the street, much less overseas," said owner
Several years ago Twite acquired a
"We had to jump into the deep end of the pool," he said.
He turned to the
Since 2009, Ex-Im has supported an estimated
According to bank records, dozens of area companies such as S&S Cycle, Inland Label and the bow manufacturer
Larger companies like
With its Congressional authorization set to expire, the export credit agency has come under fire from some on the right.
Next week, U.S. Rep.
"We are producing a lot of goods here in the
Established in 1934, the Ex-Im, as it's known, is an independent agency that finances exports by U.S. companies primarily through loans to foreign buyers, loan guarantees and insurance against deals gone bad.
Though authorized by
Supporters say it's a necessary resource to help companies reach markets where private sector financing might not be available. Opponents say that it usurps a private sector function and distorts markets.
While Kind, a Democrat, says he is sympathetic to those critiques, he feels the bank is necessary to keep the U.S. competitive with foreign nations that subsidize their own exports.
"I don't want us unilaterally disarming," he said.
The majority -- about 80 percent -- of the funds in Ex-Im's loan portfolio benefit large corporations, though small businesses make up 90 percent of the bank's customer base.
But for many of them, it's the only way they can afford to access foreign markets.
The project fell apart for unrelated reasons, but Mid-City president
"It was our first rodeo," Bear said. "There's no way we could have done it without them."
With help from Ex-Im, which insures his export contracts, Twite has exported some
That foreign trade has taken up the slack in domestic markets, now accounting for about a fifth of his business. Last year MacDonald & Owen was named one of Inc. magazine's 5,000 fastest-growing companies.
Because of the high cost of private insurance, he wouldn't be in the export business without Ex-Im, Twite said. "This allows you to go out and do things you wouldn't do."
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