May 12, 2017
Ex-Im Lending at Lowest Point in 40 Years
The Export-Import Bank’s (Ex-Im) authorization expired on June 30, 2015. From July 1 until December 3 of that year, Ex-Im remained unauthorized and was wholly inoperable. Congress reauthorized Ex-Im on December 4, 2015, but its board was one member short of a quorum – and it remains that way today. Without a quorum, Ex-Im can only authorize loans of $10 million and below – which make up only about 15 percent of Ex-Im’s total business. Although the previous administration nominated two board members last year (one Democrat and one Republican), either of which would satisfy the board’s quorum requirement, and the current White House has nominated a new Chair, the Senate Banking Committee still has not moved to confirm any of the nominees, leaving Ex-Im operating at 15 percent of its capacity.
In January, Ex-Im’s 2016 Annual Report showed that the bank’s lending was at its lowest point in 40 years, authorizing only $5 billion in financing and leaving 40 deals worth over $30 billion stuck waiting on a quorum. Using data from Ex-Im’s 2014 Annual Report (the last full calendar year that Ex-Im was fully operational), this is what Ex-Im’s full and partial shutdowns have cost businesses over the past 18 months.