Executive Briefings

Ex-Im Bank Open for Business Again, But Only for Small Deals

The announcement on the Export-Import Bank's website proclaimed in big blue letters "Ex-Im Bank Reauthorized" - but the fight is not over yet for the government's embattled export credit agency.

The 81-year-old agency that helps finance many American exports reopened for new business on Monday, ending a five-month hiatus forced by conservative Republicans who have condemned the bank as a prime example of corporate welfare and so-called crony capitalism. President Obama late Friday signed legislation tucked into a highway bill that extended the agency's life four years, through September 2019.

Yet an obstacle remains: With three empty seats on its five-member board, the bank lacks a quorum. Until Mr. Obama nominates members, and the Republican-controlled Senate confirms them, Ex-Im Bank can only approve small export deals, not the big orders for aircraft, satellites and major manufacturing equipment the bank is best known for - leaving the likes of Boeing, General Electric and Caterpillar in limbo.

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The 81-year-old agency that helps finance many American exports reopened for new business on Monday, ending a five-month hiatus forced by conservative Republicans who have condemned the bank as a prime example of corporate welfare and so-called crony capitalism. President Obama late Friday signed legislation tucked into a highway bill that extended the agency's life four years, through September 2019.

Yet an obstacle remains: With three empty seats on its five-member board, the bank lacks a quorum. Until Mr. Obama nominates members, and the Republican-controlled Senate confirms them, Ex-Im Bank can only approve small export deals, not the big orders for aircraft, satellites and major manufacturing equipment the bank is best known for - leaving the likes of Boeing, General Electric and Caterpillar in limbo.

Read Full Article