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Ex-Im Bank the Focus of Senator Shaheen's Visit to the Astro Division of New Hampshire Ball Bearings (NHBB)

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Senator Jeanne Shaheen (l) speaks with Tim Chase, Astro's Manager of Manufacturing, while touring the manufacturing floor.

Senator Jeanne Shaheen (l) speaks with Tim Chase, Astro's Manager of Manufacturing, while touring the manufacturing floor.

Laconia, NH - On May 3, 2012, New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D) visited NHBB's Astro Division to meet with company executives and tour the facility. The focus of the Senator's visit was the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im).

The Ex-Im Bank is a federal export credit agency that provides trade finance, loan guarantees, project finance, working capital programs, and export credit insurance. The bank's authorization expires at the end of this month.

In March, the US Senate failed to pass the Export-Import Bank Reauthorization Act of 2012, an amendment to a much larger jobs bill. A majority of the Senators want to reauthorize the bank but were dissatisfied with various terms built into the legislation. A stand-alone reauthorization is likely to arise in time to sustain the trade bank's operations for at least another year.

Senator Shaheen was interested to know what impact the Ex-Im Bank has on the company's business. Rich Bardellini, VP of operations for NHBB, described the impact as fairly significant. "While we do not utilize the bank to directly support our export sales, a large majority of our biggest customers do," said Rich. "We would start to see the consequences of not reauthorizing the Ex-Im Bank almost immediately."

During her talks with company executives and local reporters, the Senator expressed her support for reauthorization. She believes the bank's closure would be damaging to New Hampshire businesses that rely on exports as part of their overall business strategy. While she expressed frustration with the political situation that's blocking the Ex-Im Bank legislation, she ultimately struck an optimistic tone about the bank's future. "I expect that saner heads will prevail and Congress will ultimately pass the reauthorization bill."

To learn more about the Export-Import Bank, please visit http://www.exim.gov/index.cfm.