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June 30, 1934

April 4, 1939

March 2, 1940

September 26, 1940

July 31, 1945

May 21, 1948

October 3, 1951
August 5, 1953

August 9, 1954

August 13, 1957

May 22, 1958

Export-Import Bank established as a U. S. agency, under District of Columbia banking laws, to finance trade with the Soviet Union. No loans made because of Russian failure to discuss settlement of outstanding debts in the United States.

Second Export-Import Bank established to assist Cuba with silver coinage program to finance public works. Operations of the Bank expanded to assist financing U. S. trade in any part of the world except the Soviet Union.

Second Export-Import Bank liquidated and its loan operations trans-
ferred to the Export-Import Bank. Total capitalization $11 million.
Bank's lending authority limited to $100 million of loans outstanding
at any one time.

Bank's lending authority increased to $200 million at time of Russo-
Finnish war.

Bank's lending authority increased to $700 million to meet special eco-
nomic problems in Latin America arising from dislocation of normal
trade patterns due to war in Europe.

Bank established as an independent agency under Export-Import Bank Act of 1945 with a bipartisan Board of Directors and lending authority increased to $3.5 billion.

Bank directed by the Foreign Assistance Act to administer loans and issue guaranties authorized by the Economic Cooperation Administration. Bank's lending authority increased to $4.5 billion.

Board of Directors abolished under Reorganization Plan No. 5 and Bank placed under a Managing Director.

Export-Import Bank Act amended to re-establish bipartisan Board of Directors, create Advisory Committee, and increase lending authority to $5 billion.

Bank authorized to make loans in foreign currencies available under Section 104 (e) of P. L. 480.

Bank's dollar lending authority increased to $7 billion to meet increased demand for its activities in support of U. S. overseas trade.


This is a story of how $10 billion of United States taxpayers' money has been and is being used. That is approximately the sum which the ExportImport Bank of Washington has authorized for loans over the past 25 years to support trade between the United States and other nations. These loans, with very minor exceptions, have been and are being repaid. They have served not only to assist Americans to sell goods and services abroad but, of equal importance, to help other nations to improve the living standards of their peoples.

The Export-Import Bank was born during a time which today is almost forgotten, the Great Depression of the 1930's. The objects and purposes of the Bank, as expressed in its original charter, and perpetuated without change in succeeding legislation, were "to aid in financing and to facilitate exports and imports and the exchange of commodities between the United States or any of its Territories or insular possessions and any foreign country or the agencies or nationals thereof."

When it was created on Lincoln's birthday in 1934, the Bank had $11 million to loan. Viewed from the surroundings of today's billion dollar peaks, a Bank with only $11 million to loan had little to offer. But this is incorrect. Those were hard times, when every dollar which could be earned by American business was precious. In the years 193536 the Bank began to make loans to finance the same general types of exports that it does, in far greater volume, today. It financed exports such as locomotives and rails, road building equipment, machine tools, pumps and water meters, truck, tractors, and equipment for steel mills, as well as cotton and other

agricultural commodities. The business generated then was fully as important to American labor and industry, comparatively speaking, as it is today.

The year 1939 was a year of transition for the Bank. As the threat of war for the United States increased, this country began preparations for defense. The depression was ending. It was found, however, not only that the Bank was still needed but also that, through the wisdom of Congress, the law governing the Bank was so broad that the Bank could easily adapt itself to the changing times, a characteristic it retains to the present.

By 1940 the need to provide Latin America— cut off from its normal outlets and sources of supply in Europe with all types of equipment had become acute. Financing was needed as well as supplies. Congress, having early that year stepped up the Bank's lending authority to $200 million so that the Bank could make reconstruction credits to Finland, after the Russo-Finnish war, acted again. In September, it increased the Bank's authority to $700 million specifically to meet the special Latin American problem.

One of the first uses to which this money was put was to assist Brazil to found an integrated steel industry. That country, recalling the difficulties of 1914-1918, was anxious to build a steel mill to supply its basic needs. The year 1940 was not auspicious for such an undertaking. However, the Government of the United States was sympathetic and the Export-Import Bank agreed to provide the necessary long-term financing for equipment and engineering services. Thus was born one of the first projects for economic development abroad financed

by the U. S. Government. The plant was begun, despite the outbreak of war, and toward the end of the war Brazil had its Volta Redonda steel mill, the picture story of which is told elsewhere in this book.

While Volta Redonda was the big Bank project of the war years, the Bank was putting most of its $700 million to work to finance whatever capital goods could be released by the United States to serve its Latin American allies. It was in those early years that one first began to hear, in Latin American capitals, the nickname "El Eximbank".

With the end of World War II, the United States Government took immediate steps to cope with the problems confronting the devastated countries of Europe. Second only to feeding the peoples of those countries, was the problem of reconstruction. Capital goods of all kinds were needed. Congress assigned the job to the Export-Import Bank. On July 31, 1945, the Bank was established by statute as a fully independent U. S. agency, a bipartisan board of directors was installed, and its lending authority was increased to $3.5 billion. Eximbank was in the reconstruction lending business.

Railroads were refurbished in Poland to provide coal for Europe in the first post-war winter of 1945-46; industrial equipment was rushed to France, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Greece, Italy, Norway, and Denmark were also assisted by Eximbank loans for machinery and equipment. All these emergency reconstruction loans have been honored by the recipients ever since.

As the enormity of the European reconstruction problem impressed itself upon the United States, it

became clear that dollar-repayable loans by the Export-Import Bank could not be incurred by Europe in the amounts needed to do the reconstruction job. And so, in 1948, the United States embarked upon the Marshall Plan.

This turned the Bank's attention from Europe to other areas of the world. In the ensuing 12 years, and particularly during the past three years, the Bank has been more active than ever before. Loans by the Bank have been made for purposes which run the gamut from a single agricultural implement to a complex project such as an integrated steel mill or to furnishing dollars to meet a critical foreign exchange shortage.

As indicated, the Export-Import Bank has witnessed over its quarter-century the founding of the Marshall Plan and successor U. S. agencies to administer foreign grant assistance. Likewise, the Bank has seen the creation of several additional agencies (U. S. and international) to provide various types of international credits. To a large extent, all these agencies are following in the paths pioneered by the Bank.

It is fair to say that the effects of the Bank's loans have been felt in every corner of the world. An attempt is made through documentary photographs contained in the following pages to give an insight into the Eximbank story. Also covered are the financial record of the Bank, its activity in lending foreign currencies, and its banking services for other U. S. agencies.

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