WASHINGTON, March 31, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) today announced its adoption of the Equator Principles, a globally recognized benchmark for financial institutions to determine, assess and manage the social and environmental risks of international project financing.
The Equator Principles are a voluntary set of standards that were developed by private-sector banks, including Citigroup, in consultation with the World Bank Group's International Finance Corporation, project sponsors, engineers and nongovernmental organizations.
In adopting the Equator Principles, Ex-Im Bank joins more than 70 financial institutions and three other export-credit agencies (ECAs): Export Development Canada (EDC), Denmark's Eksport Kredit Fonden (EKF) and Australia's Export Finance and Investment Corp. (EFIC).
"The Equator Principles are a natural fit for Ex-Im Bank. Adopting them will enable us to speak the same language as our commercial partners and work more closely with them to streamline the review process for new projects," said Ex-Im Bank Chairman and President Fred P. Hochberg.
"The U.S. Export-Import Bank has long been a leader in responsible finance, and its leadership on environmental responsibility and climate change is impressive and well-known. Ex-Im Bank joins a group of over 70 global financial institutions that seek to work with our mutual client base to make our transactions better and more sustainable in the long-term," said Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit. Citigroup currently chairs the Equator Principles Association.
Ex-Im Bank's adoption of the Equator Principles will align its environmental requirements for project-finance transactions with those of commercial banks that apply these principles. This alignment will facilitate the Bank's application and review process by helping project sponsors and others involved to understand and implement the environmental and social requirements for Ex-Im Bank-supported projects.
The Equator Principles are consistent with and complement Ex-Im Bank's current environmental review process. The Bank will continue to apply its broader review of the environmental and social considerations of all projects receiving its loan and guarantee support.
For more information on the Equator Principles, visit http://www.equator-principles.com. Ex-Im Bank's environmental procedures and guidelines are on the Bank's Web site at http://www.exim.gov/products/policies/environment/envproc.cfm.
Ex-Im Bank is a world leader in developing environmental standards for projects and was the first ECA to issue environmental procedures and guidelines in 1995. In 2007, the Bank tailored its procedures in accord with the Common Approaches of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The Bank helped to negotiate the Common Approaches, which apply to the ECAs of the member countries of the OECD.
About Ex-Im Bank:
Ex-Im Bank is an independent federal agency that helps create and maintain U.S. jobs by filling gaps in private export financing at no cost to American taxpayers. The Bank provides a variety of financing mechanisms, including working capital guarantees, export-credit insurance, and financing to help foreign buyers purchase U.S. goods and services.
By charging fees and interest on all loan-related transactions, Ex-Im Bank is self-sustaining and is able to cover all operation costs and potential losses while also producing revenue. The Bank has generated $3.4 billion for U.S. taxpayers over the past five years.
In fiscal year 2010, Ex-Im Bank authorized a record high of approximately $24.5 billion in loans, guarantees and insurance (including more than $5 billion in authorizations for small businesses), supporting an estimated 230,000 American jobs.
During the first quarter of fiscal year 2011, the Bank approved $8 billion in total financing authorizations, supporting nearly $9.3 billion in U.S. export sales. These sales will support approximately 66,000 American jobs in communities across the country.
SOURCE Export-Import Bank of the United States