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(Laconia, NH) – A shutdown of the Export-Import Bank would be devastating to New Hampshire businesses that rely on the bank for its role in helping U.S. companies sell their goods overseas, said U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) in a visit today to New Hampshire Ball Bearings’ Laconia facility. The bank will shut down on May 31 if Congress does not pass a reauthorization.

“The Export-Import Bank fills a crucial role in our economy by making it possible for American companies to sell their goods abroad,” Shaheen said. “It has long had bipartisan support and it costs taxpayers nothing. There is no reason we shouldn’t be able to come together to reauthorize the bank and increase its lending authority so that it can continue its mission and help our small businesses grow.”

The Export-Import Bank directly supported $255 million in export sales from New Hampshire over the past five years, but Shaheen pointed out that its impact extends beyond that. New Hampshire Ball Bearings wrote Shaheen’s office in March asking for help in reauthorizing the bank. The company is not a direct client of the bank, but sells 80 percent of its products to the aerospace industry, which is heavily reliant on the export financing that the bank provides.

"New Hampshire Ball Bearings applauds Senator Shaheen's support of Ex-Im Bank and the effort she has made toward re-authorization. Exports, particularly of aircraft, are vital to NHBB's future growth," said Rich Bardellini, the company's VP of Manufacturing. "Continued availability of funds through Ex-Im is crucial to sustaining aerospace manufacturing in the U.S."

A leading producer of precision ball bearings, New Hampshire Ball Bearings was founded in Peterborough in 1946. It employs over 400 people in its Laconia facility.

The Export-Import Bank is the official export credit agency of the United States. It provides direct loans and loan guarantees to foreign buyers of U.S. made goods, which is critical for buyers of large products such as airplanes. It also provides working capital loans to small businesses that are exporting, and provides insurance for exporters in case a foreign buyer fails to pay. In all these cases, the bank is filling gaps in the private market. It is an important tool for U.S. companies seeking to compete with foreign firms, which often get aggressive trade financing support from their national governments.

In 2011 alone, the Export-Import Bank supported an estimated 288,000 American jobs at more than 3,600 U.S. companies and facilitated $41 billion in exports. The bank pays for itself through the fees it collects and is projected to actually reduce the federal deficit by $900 million over five years, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.

Shaheen cosponsored a bipartisan measure in the Senate to reauthorize the bank for four years. Reauthorization is supported by hundreds of U.S. companies, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers and the Business Roundtable. It has enjoyed broad bipartisan support in past reauthorizations, passing without objection in both the House and Senate in 2006.

A member of the Senate Committee on Small Business, Shaheen has consistently worked to aid small companies in reaching foreign customers. Last year she hosted a Small Business Committee field hearing in Manchester with U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) to examine ways to help small businesses export. Shaheen also held roundtable discussions with New Hampshire small business owners on the federal resources available to help small businesses export with Export-Import Bank Chairman and President Fred Hochberg.