Ex-Im Bank Chairman Hochberg’s Confirmation HearingMay 8, 2013
On Tuesday, May 7, the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs held a hearing for Fred P. Hochberg, who has been re-nominated by President Barack Obama to serve as Chairman and President of the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank of the U.S. for a second term.
Hochberg, who has held the position since May 2009 and also serves on the President’s Export Council, led the agency through the difficult reauthorization process last year that increased the Bank’s lending authority.
Ex-Im Bank, a self-sustaining federal agency, is the official export credit agency (ECA) of the U.S. It helps finance American exports of manufactured goods and services, with the objective of contributing to the employment of U.S. workforce, primarily in circumstances when alternative financing is not available. President Obama signed legislation a year ago to renew the Bank’s charter for three years and raise the limit on the total financing the Bank can guarantee, to $140 billion from $100 billion.
During his remarks, Hochberg highlighted the efforts the Bank has made on behalf of small-business exporters. In FY2008 Ex-Im Bank financed $3.2 billion in direct small-business exports, while for FY2012, the Bank financed a total $7.5 billion in small-business exports of which $6.1 billion was direct. At Ex-Im Bank, small business accounted for 88 percent of all transactions last year.
To address the needs of their small-business customers, Ex-Im has implemented new products such as Supply Chain Finance to increase liquidity for small businesses, Global Credit Express for smaller transactions of half a million dollars or less and their most popular product Express Insurance has helped more than 500 small businesses get a response to their application within five business days.
In April, the Bank launched a new pilot program called U.S. Global Business Solutions. The program streamlines U.S. government trade-finance products for lenders and exporters, and ultimately, programs and products will be combined into a single menu of options tailored to the exporter’s needs. Working together, Ex-Im Bank, the U.S. Small Business Administration and the U.S. Department of Commerce, will make it easier and more cost-effective for exporters and their lenders to avail themselves of the programs and products of multiple agencies. This pilot program will continue through the Fall.
At the hearing, Chairman Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) noted in 2009 the Senate unanimously approved Hochberg’s nomination by voice vote, less than a month after he was nominated and he is hopeful that the committee and Senate will once again move as expeditiously.