The Export Finance Program is a cooperative effort with state and federal export finance agencies to assist California companies in obtaining export finance and export credit insurance to increase sales internationally. The program focuses on existing finance and insurance programs provided by several key federal and international agencies; please reference the list below along with some recommended readings.

International Credit Reports

LARExC has partnered with ECIDA, the Economic Development Corporation for Erie County and a fellow ExIm Bank City/State Partner based in New York. This partnership allows California companies access to international credit reports and credit opinions at very competitive rates without being locked-in to contracts and/or agreements with private credit providers which commonly require a minimum purchase of credit units that exceed your needs. Simply pay for credit reports on-demand with no future obligation.

California Small Business Loan Guarantee Program

The California Small Business Loan Guarantee Program (SBLGP) works to help businesses create and retain jobs, while at the same time encouraging investment into low- to moderate-income communities. Business size eligibility for the SBLGP generally follows the U.S. Small Business Administration 7(a) program guidelines. The SBLGP provides loans to small businesses that experience capital access barriers. Through this program, a small business can establish a favorable credit history with a lender and obtain access to future loans on its own, independent of the program. Qualifying small businesses owners may apply for an SBLGP loan by contacting a Financial Development Corporation (FDC).

U.S. Government Supported Export Finance and Investment Programs

Global Credit Express – Revolving Line of Credit

The Global Credit Express program delivers short-term working capital loans directly to creditworthy small business exporters. Small business exporters may be eligible for a 6- or 12-month revolving line of credit of up to $500,000. Global Credit Express adds liquidity to the U.S. small business export market by financing the business of exporting rather than specific export transactions.

Small Business Administration (SBA)

The Small Business Administration (SBA) does not make loans. They work with various lenders who make loans. SBA is in the position to guarantee the lender up to 90% of the loan. SBA has three international loan programs:

Export Working Capital Program (EWCP)
EWCP loans are used for transaction financing from purchase order to final collections. EWCP loans also can be used to even out cash flow when exporters have negotiated longer sales terms and cannot carry the resulting receivables with their own working capital. Financing is available for manufacturers, wholesalers, export trading companies and service exporters. EWCP borrowers must meet SBA 7(a) eligibility and size standards (tangible net worth no more than $15 million and have average net income over the past two years no more than $5.0 million) and have been in business for at least one year.

Export Express
Export Express helps small businesses develop or expand their export markets. The program provides exporters and lenders a streamlined method to obtain SBA-backed financing for loans and lines of credit up to $500,000. The lenders use their own credit decision process and loan documentation.  SBA provides an expedited eligibility review and provides a response in less than 24 hours, so exporters get access to funds faster.

Export Express Funds may be used for:

  • Standby letters of credit when required as a bid bond, a performance bond or an advance payment guarantee
  • Participation in a foreign trade show that takes place outside the United States
  • Translation of Product literature to use in overseas markets
  • General lines of credit for export purposes
  • Service contracts from buyers located outside the U.S.
  • Transaction specific financing
  • Acquisition, construction, renovation, modernization, improvement or expansion of production facilities or equipment to be used in the United States in the production of goods or services for Export.

International Trade Loan (ITL) 
ITL offers term loans to businesses that plan to start or continue exporting or that have been adversely affected by competition from imports.  The proceeds of the loan must enable the borrower to be in a better position to compete. Funds may be used for acquisition, construction, renovation, modernization, improvement or expansion of long-term assets and for working capital. The SBA guarantee cannot exceed $4.0 million.

The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im)

The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im) is an independent U.S. government agency, which helps to finance and facilitate the export of U.S. goods and services. Ex-Im Bank’s programs are geared specifically for small business. Ex-Im Bank assists U.S. exporters in meeting officially supported foreign credit competition. Ex-Im Bank assumes risks not commonly assumed by other lenders and exporters. Ex-Im Bank also provides financing to foreign buyers of U.S. goods and services when private lenders refuse to finance those export sales. Ex-Im Bank does not compete with private financial

There are four main Ex-Im Bank programs:

  • Global Credit Express – Revolving Line of Credit
  • Export Working Capital Guarantees
  • Export Credit Insurance
  • Foreign Buyers Loan Guarantees

The Global Credit Express program delivers short-term working capital loans directly to creditworthy small business exporters. Small business exporters may be eligible for a 6- or 12-month revolving line of credit of up to $500,000. Global Credit Express adds liquidity to the U.S. small business export market by financing the business of exporting rather than specific export transactions.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) and Ex-Im Bank combine their efforts in the Export Working Capital Program (EWCP) , which provides working capital to fulfill export sales. With this program, a company can arrange a loan from a commercial lender, guaranteed by either the Ex-Im Bank or the SBA. The EWCP supports export financing to small businesses when financing would not otherwise be available on acceptable terms. The EWCP encourages lenders to offer Export Working Capital loans to exporters by guaranteeing repayment of at least 90 percent of such loans. A loan can support a single transaction or multiple sales on a revolving basis. If you are already working with a bank, you can request that your lender apply to the SBA for a preliminary commitment (PC) or to the Ex-Im Bank for a Letter of Interest. The Letter of Interest will manifest the Ex-Im Bank’s interest in the transaction. The PC from the SBA will state the specified terms and conditions under which the SBA will provide the guarantee. With the preliminary commitment and the Letter of Interest in hand, the exporter may be able to find a bank that is interested in the transaction.

Ex-Im Bank’s Export Credit Insurance protects the credit you extend to buyers by insuring the receivables. The Ex-Im Bank’s short- and medium-term export credit insurance covers the risk of buyer nonpayment for most commercial and political reasons.

Ex-Im Bank’s Foreign Buyers Loan Guarantees assist creditworthy international businesses with purchasing U.S. goods and services by guaranteeing lender repayment. Ex-Im Bank will support up to 85 percent of the contract amount for goods that have at least 51 percent of U.S. content after a cash payment of at least 15 percent.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture administers export credit guarantee programs for commercial financing of U.S. agricultural exports. These USDA Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) programs encourage exports to foreign buyers.

Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC)

Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) supports, insures and finances sound U.S. investments that foster private initiative and competition, significantly benefiting the social and economic development of the host country. OPIC provides political insurance that covers loss of investments due to expropriation, nationalization or confiscation by the host government, currency inconvertibility, and loss of assets or income due to political violence.

U.S. Trade and Development Agency (TDA)

U.S. Trade and Development Agency (TDA) helps to create American jobs by aiding U.S. companies that pursue overseas business opportunities. Through the funding of feasibility studies, orientation visits, specialized training grants, business workshops and various forms of technical assistance, TDA helps U.S. businesses compete for infrastructure and industrial projects in emerging markets.

The World Bank Group

The World Bank Group is a multilateral lending agency of four closely associated institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the International Development Association, the International Finance Corporation and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency.

Funding Limits

  • There are no limits on funding for Ex-Im Bank and OPIC programs
  • SBA EWCP (Export Working Capital Program) goes up to $5.0 million
  • SBA Export Express goes up to $500,000
  • SBA can guaranty up to 90% of an International Trade Loan (ITL) up to a maximum of $4.5 million, less the guarantee portion of other SBA loans outstanding to the borrower.  The maximum guaranty for a working capital component of an ITL is $4.0 million.

Additional Information

  • Ex-Im Bank Credit insurance – 100% of cost with profit
  • Ex-Im Bank Export Working Capital – 90% of actual costs, no profit margin included
  • Ex-Im Bank Loan Guarantee – 85% of project cost
  • SBA Export Working Capital – 90% of actual cost, no profit margin included
  • SBA Export Express – 85%
  • SBA Export Express has a limit of $150 Maximum Percentage of amount per program

The Application Approval Procedure

All programs are discretionary and require approval from the authorizing agency. With the exception of the Ex-Im Bank Loan Guarantee program, where the application is made by the importer, all applications must be made by the exporter or the U.S. lending institution.

Reporting Requirements

All programs require annual reporting.

Special Program Requirements

Ex-Im Bank programs require 51% U.S. content in goods and services; do not work with military transactions; and require an “arms length” of the parties involved.OPIC programs require 51% ownership by U.S. citizen.

Global Business Solutions

U.S. Global Business Solutions is an interagency initiative to expand the reach of federal export assistance and add 50,000 small businesses to the nation’s exporter base by 2017. The pilot program will also aim at expanding the base of financial institutions and service providers that facilitate exports, adding an anticipated 250 trade-finance sources by December 2015.U.S. Global Business Solutions will ‘bundle’ U.S. government trade-finance products for lenders and exporters. The programs and products will be combined into a single menu of options that will be tailored to the stage of the exporter’s development and the capacity of the financial institution or service provider. The initiative will be designed to make it easier and more cost-effective for exporters to use the programs and products of multiple agencies. Six federal agencies will be participating: Ex-Im Bank, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Department of Commerce/International Trade Administration, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC).

Private Sector Export Capital

In addition to the traditional methods of trade finance, the demand for greater access to capital has spurred innovation in export capital. Private equity investment and crowd-funding are finding new applications in the export sector. There are relatively few players in this space but growth is accelerating.

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