NIU students talk import-export with senator, EXIM Bank chair

Kirk-Hochberg-Freeman-studentsThree Northern Illinois University students had the opportunity to participate in a discussion with U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Export-Import Bank Chairman and President Fred Hochberg as part of a Global Access Forum discussion at NIU-Rockford.

“I was especially pleased to see our students interacting with Chair Hochberg and Senator Kirk, talking about their hopes and dreams and how NIU–with its global emphasis–and their majors in Operations Management, Finance and Engineering have prepared them to go out and join the workforce,” said NIU Executive Vice President and Provost Lisa Freeman.

“Today Senator Kirk and I had a wonderful opportunity to meet with small-business exporters in the Rockford area and let them know how the Export Import Bank can help them to increase their sales abroad and create jobs here in Illinois,” said Export-Import Bank Chairman and President Fred Hochberg. “This is Ex-Im Bank’s specialty. Last year alone, we equipped 149 Illinois businesses to export goods and services worth more than $857 million, and we look forward to supporting more Illinois companies as they sell beyond our borders, grow their operations and create jobs in the years ahead.”

The Bank’s authorization currently expires September 30th. Senator Kirk, along with Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Banking Chairman Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.) introduced legislation to reauthorize the bank this past July. The Export-Import Bank supports more than 205,000 American jobs per year.

“I asked the Chairman to come to Illinois and make these visits with me today to spread word on the importance of the Export-Import Bank to Illinois jobs and businesses, because I am pro-Chicago, pro-Rockford, pro-Peoria, and pro-Illinois,” Senator Kirk said. “With no cost to the taxpayer, the Export-Import Bank has supported 244 Illinois businesses since 2007 and returned more than $1 billion to the Treasury in 2013. I thank Chairman Hochberg for visiting with Illinois businesses today and look forward to a swift reauthorization this fall.”

IMEX Bank Chair Fred hochberg engages with NIU students at the August 19 Global Access Forum at NIU-Rockford.
IMEX Bank Chair Fred hochberg engages with NIU students after the August 19 Global Access Forum at NIU-Rockford.

“It seemed like a good chance to get an international perspective as a student, and I’ve been a part of a lot of international student organizations,” said Engineering Technology major Tom Wolfe, from Frankfort. “I think it’s really important for the youth in the U.S. to get a global perspective…It’s been a really great experience.”

Chairman Hochberg shared the stories of Illinois businesses like Mathews Company from Crystal Lake and BLS Enterprises from Bensenville that have benefitted greatly from the Bank’s support to expand their sales and customer outreach. Mathews Company, a grain dryer manfacturing company, said that they would have not received the level of business that they do now without the Bank’s support. BLS Enterprises supplies durable parts for construction equipment, and was able to expand their exports to new markets thanks to the Bank’s involvement.

“It was very interesting to see how the senator and Congress are working with small business to create more jobs in Illinois and the U.S. by exporting,” said Palos Park finance major Matthew O’Malley. “The highlight was being able to interact with them and having them give me input on how to progress in my journey of getting a job at an international finance level.”

The Export-Import Bank reauthorization legislation introduced by Senator Kirk would increase the Bank’s spending authority to $160 billion from the current level of $140 billion over a four-year period if it meets specific reporting requirements. The reauthorization would last through 2019. It would also require the Bank to submit reports to Congress detailing its business plan and risk exposure, and ensure the Bank’s loan-loss ratio is less than two percent for any quarter in that fiscal year.

The Bank operates at no cost to taxpayers – and in 2013, the Bank approved a record-high 3,413 small-business authorizations and helped to enable $37.4 billion in U.S. exports worldwide. In Illinois, the top exporters supported by the Bank are Caterpillar, CNH Industrial America, and John Deere.

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