Charleston's International Finance Seminar meant to spread importance of Ex-IM Bank

World Trade Center Charleston will be hosting an International Finance Seminar on March 16, getting the message out about the importance of the Export-Import Bank's (Ex-IM) to small businesses.


World Trade Center Charleston will be hosting an International Finance Seminar on March 16, getting the message out about the importance of the Export-Import Bank's (Ex-IM) to small businesses.

The workshop, taking place in the Chamber Boardroom, at 4500 Leeds Ave., in North Charleston, promises to provide tools and resources to attendees on how to achieve success in global sales. Sharyn Koenig, the Export-Import Bank’s (Ex-Im) managing director for the eastern region, will be a keynote speaker at the event, along with experts from Bannockburn Global Forex LLC, Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, and the U.S. Export Assistance Center.

“They (Ex-Im) are back in business fully now, so we’re expecting (grand) things,” Pennie Bingham, executive director of the World Trade Center Charleston, told Palmetto Business Daily.

Many people associate Ex-Im with supporting big companies such as Boeing, but Bingham said it is important for people to know that Ex-Im supports small businesses as well.

“Another thing that is kind of neat is that while we think of Boeing as being one of the biggest users of the bank, I think it is about 90 percent of the transactions that they execute are for and in support of small business," Bingham said.

Ex-Im recently released its FY2015 Annual Report, revealing it supported 109,000 American jobs and $17.7 billion in exports at no cost to American taxpayers — $3.1 billion of which came from small businesses in America.

Despite such staggering numbers, critics of the export credit agency have called for the bank’s closure. And when Ex-Im’s congressional authorization lapsed last July, Bingham said many began to realize how important Ex-Im is to U.S. companies.

“It was very political," Bingham said. "So there were different factions that thought Ex-Im bank should stay in business and others who thought they shouldn’t. Once they realized the value of Ex-Im Bank, (not) only to U.S. companies, but also they are one of the rare entities in our federal government that is not a drain on taxpayers."

The annual report also revealed Ex-Im contributed $431.6 million in profit to the U.S. Treasury for deficit reduction.

“So they actually made money for us and once that message started getting out more, politics (seemed) to play less of a role and they were able to be reauthorized," Bingham said. "That is a strong message that we like to share with people... . It is important (to) help companies stay competitive by having an Ex-Im Bank, and it help(s) our federal government because it makes some money for us.”

Bingham also said when Ex-Im got reauthorized in December, it began mandating that 25 percent of funding be allocated to mid-size and small businesses, which the agency was already averaging before the mandate.

The event starts at 8:30 a.m. and will go to noon. Pre-registration for the workshop is $20. Registration on the day is $25.

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Export-Import Bank of the United States World Trade Center Charleston

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