Since its July 2004 merger with Union Planters Corp., Birmingham, Ala. based, Regions Financial Corp. has focused its efforts on offering export-financing services to small-to medium-sized international businesses, conducting seminars across the Southeast.
A Regions division, Regions International Banking, hosted an Aug. 18 seminar on export financing for businesspeople who need assistance in selling their products overseas. The meeting was presided over by Susan Kintanar, the division's Atlanta representative who is international trade finance officer for Georgia, North and South Carolina.
At the seminar, businesspeople from Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Pennsylvania and South Carolina were encouraged to apply for loans from banks that were certified by the Export-Import Bank of the United States or the U. S. Export Assistance Center's Small Business Administration.
The Washington-based Export-Import Bank was founded in 1934 to assist American businesses to export their products abroad by offering financial guarantees to designated lending institutions. In addition to Regions Bank, Bank of America Corp., Citizens Bancshares Corp., Suntrust Bank Inc. and Wachovia Corp. are Ex-Im certified financial institutions available in the Southeast.
An Ex-Im Bank guarantee gives domestic lenders the backing to offer small-to medium-size companies working capital loans that help them to begin exporting their products. Having working capital is often required to fulfill export sales orders in the global marketplace, Ms. Kintanar said.
"We want [small-to medium-size] companies to know that they can borrow money to achieve their goals and move their businesses forward," Ms. Kintanar said.
Companies seeking Ex-Im-backed loans, must already have an order from a foreign buyer before applying for financial assistance, she said. They must also be ready to prove that their product is American-made, containing 51 percent "U.S. content," which can include U.S.-made materials, as well as labor, design and engineering expertise.
Regions Bank also offers Ex-Im backed short or medium-term loans to foreign-owned and operated businesses, which helps to finance the purchase of U.S. goods, projects or services, Ms. Kintanar said. Providing that a foreign company has good credit worthiness, Regions can loan the company up to $10 million, to be repaid within five years, which helps mitigate the risk and loss of the American business from which the company is buying products.
Companies with lower operating costs, seeking loans up to $1.7 million, might benefit from loan programs that are guaranteed by the Small Business Administration, said Raymond Gibeau, the SBA's regional manager of international trade with the administration, who spoke at Regions' conference.
Like the Ex-Im bank, the SBA also guarantees working capital loans made by commercial lenders, which help U.S. companies to develop their exporting potential and compete more effectively in the international arena, Mr. Gibeau said.
In addition to Ex-Im backed financing, Regions International Banking, which is headquartered in Coral Gables, Fla., also offers letters of credit, cash management services, importer trade solutions and correspondent banking services.
Since its merger with Memphis-based Union Planters, the company's assets total $85 billion, with 1,400 offices and 1,700 automated-teller machines across 15 states in the South, Midwest and Texas. The company has more than 30 years of experience with international trade.
Regions' next trade financing seminar is to be held Thursday, Nov. 17, in Columbia, S.C.
For more information contact Ms. Kintanar at (770) 206-5766 or email@example.com. Contact Mr Gibeau at (404) 897-6089 or firstname.lastname@example.org.