In his May 14 op-ed about the Export-Import Bank, “Pro-subsidy does not equal pro-business,” John E. Sununu chose rhetoric over facts. The Ex-Im Bank does not “bestow unique benefits to favored companies or industries.” We provide much-needed financing for businesses in dozens of industries exporting around the globe. More than 85 percent of our transactions last year were for more than 3,500 small US companies. And we do not “simply [give] money away.” The Ex-Im Bank’s financing is not free. Customers pay interest and fees. As a result, more than $1.9 billion was earned for US taxpayers in the past five years.
Sununu wrongly asserts that Ex-Im Bank customers “hardly have trouble getting private financing.” The fact is, for exporters both large and small, the financial crisis is not over, and accessing credit for sales to emerging markets remains difficult. The Ex-Im Bank does not compete with commercial banks; rather, it is countercyclical and responds to market demand. The Ex-Im Bank is making sound loans for exports to key countries, getting repaid, and encouraging private lenders to follow its lead. In the 78-year history of the Ex-Im Bank, its default rate has remained below 2 percent.
The Ex-Im Bank supports American companies and workers, sustains itself, and generates revenue at no cost to taxpayers. We don’t “target winners and losers,” but, rather, give US exporters a chance to win against foreign competitors, based solely on the quality of their goods and services.