According to the letter, at the time the bank shut down, 116 transactions worth more than $9.3 billion were in the pipeline. ‘The businesses that were to receive that assistance – as well as many others that already receive assistance from the bank – lack the certainty they need to remain competitive, expand and create jobs,’ states the letter.
Since July – when Congress adjourned for the summer without reauthorizing funding – the Ex-Im Bank has been unable to offer new financing for the first time in its 81-year history. In the interim, the bank is only allowed to service existing loans, guarantees and insurance policies.
The Ex-Im Bank – created during the Great Depression – is a key financing tool that allowed U.S.-based manufacturers to expand internationally by backstopping the sale of goods and services sold abroad. The agency's programs, which include loan guarantees, export credit insurance, working capital guarantees and other services, help fill in the gaps in private-sector export financing.
In the wind industry, turbine manufacturers, such as Clipper, Gamesa and Siemens, were frequent recipients of direct loans from the credit agency. The bank's support for the transactions was needed due to a lack of long-term financing available from commercial lenders. Wind energy projects typically require longer repayment terms due to the extended amount of time needed to construct a wind farm.
Congressional inaction is already taking its toll. Recently, with no U.S. export financing available, GE was forced to go abroad for financing, taking with it about 500 U.S. jobs and moving them to Hungary and China.