Urge Congress to Support the Export-Import Bank and Keep Alabamians on the Job

With less than a month remaining before the U.S. Export-Import Bank’s operating charter expires, congressional action is needed in order for Alabama companies to continue exports and keep their employees on the job.

Congress returns to Washington, D.C., next week and has until Sept. 30 to reauthorize the bank’s charter and protect Alabama jobs, particularly those in the important automotive vehicle and parts export segment.

In a letter to Alabama newspapers last week, Business Council of Alabama President and CEO William J. Canary urged Alabamians to call on their members of Congress to renew the bank’s charter.

“In a climate of tightening and burdensome regulations, the Ex-Im Bank fills financing gaps left by the private sector,” Canary wrote. “As a result, small businesses all over the United States rely on the Ex-Im Bank to break into new international markets.”
The bank finances deals that the private sector cannot. Small businesses all over the United States rely on the Ex-Im Bank to break into new international markets.

According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, $7.1 billion worth of vehicles and parts exported from Alabama factories last year went to more than 100 countries. Its financing is a key element in Alabama’s automotive segment success. Expiration of the bank would be a disaster.

Since 2007, Ex-Im backed nearly $789 million of Alabama exports by 82 companies, supporting 5,000 jobs at companies such as McSweeney Holdings. 

Since 1979, the Trussville company with 100 Alabama employees has been making specialty automobiles for General Motors. McSweeney brands include Southern Comfort Automotive, Starcraft, Star Limo, MCM Vehicles, and MCX.

Michael McSweeney, managing partner and owner, uses Ex-Im banking to support his exports. “Ex-Im lets us sell our products to places where private lenders won’t go alone,” McSweeney said.

Process Equipment Inc. in Pelham is another Alabama employer that uses Ex-Im banking.

“Several years ago, Process Equipment Inc. made the conscious decision to step out in the world,” said Cynthia Parker, Process Equipment’s International Trade and Project Manager. “Knowing Ex-Im Bank existed to help small-and medium-size businesses was one of the main reasons we did so.”

She said the bank’s support “gave us the confidence to get out of our comfort zone and reach out to the rest of the 95 percent of our potential customer base. Our products are custom, and the exposure is greater since we can’t reclaim and resell domestically if we don’t get paid. Ex-Im Bank helped us grow our sales and jobs.”

Other major trading nations have an equivalent of Ex-Im, allowing them to gain access to U.S. and global markets. By the way, the Ex-Im Bank is self-supporting and it even generates money for the U.S. Treasury.

You can support Ex-Im Bank reauthorization at www.uschamber.com/ex-im. Let your member of Congress know that you want them to continue the bank’s charter.

The Business Council of Alabama is Alabama’s foremost voice for business. The BCA is a non-partisan statewide business association representing the interests and concerns of nearly one million working Alabamians through its member companies and its partnership with the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama. The BCA is Alabama’s exclusive affiliate to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers.

-Dana Beyerle