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A federal agency that helps Michigan businesses sell overseas is in trouble

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

Michigan businesses may be hurt if Congressional critics succeed in blocking renewal of a federal trade agency’s charter.

TheExport Import Bankwas created during President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal.  The bank assists foreign purchases with financing and insuring of U.S. goods when the buyer doesn’t want to accept the credit risk.   

Since 2009, the Export Import Bank has helped Michigan companies move 11 billion dollars in exports.

The federal agency works with large companies, like Dow Chemical, and smaller firms just getting into foreign markets.

Fred Hochberg is the bank’s president.  He says the bank’s charter should not be allowed to expire at the end of the month.

“There are some 79 other export credit agencies around the world that would be very happy to take the place and finance their exports and displace Michigan exporters and Michigan workers,” says Hochberg.

Critics accuse the ExIm bank of “crony capitalism”. They say it would be better to leave this business to the private sector.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.