US Ex-Im bank closer to reauthorization

MIAMI – The first day of the Cargo Facts Aircraft Symposium concluded with a session devoted to current and future trends in aircraft finance. We will provide highlights of this, and all the other sessions, in the November issue of Cargo Facts, but want to take time now to hand out a special “Crystal Ball of the Day” award to the panelists.

The session itself was the usual venture into the esoterica of high finance, featuring four of the top players in the aircraft finance game. When it was over, session moderator Steve Rimmer (CEO of Guggenheim Aviation Partners) said words to the effect of: “Before you all head away for the cocktail reception, I should briefly mention one subject we didn’t discuss, and about which no one in the audience asked… The failure earlier this year of the US Congress to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank.”

He said that he and the panel members had discussed whether to put the subject on the agenda, but decided there was no need, as all four agreed that the Bank would likely be reauthorized soon, and that the panel felt there were more important issues to be dealt with.

Taking a break after the session to catch up on the day’s news before dropping down to the reception (on a beautiful sandy beach, by the way), the first headline to catch our attention in The Wall Street Journal was: “House Votes to Reauthorize US Export-Import Bank.”

No wonder these guys are leaders of successful lease and finance enterprises – they can see the future before it happens.

But before we go and ask them for stock tips or winning lottery numbers, we should point out that the Ex-Im bank has not yet been reauthorized, but rather that reauthorization now seems assured. The Senate has already approved a similar measure, so it seems likely that it is only a question of when, not whether, Ex-Im reauthorization will be sent to the White House for Presidential approval. But until that time, the Bank is still in official limbo – able to take care of loans granted before this summer, but unable to do new business.

And finally, worth noting is that House support for the reauthorization was broadly bilateral, with over half the Republican Representatives joining most of the Democrats to pass the measure 313 – 118.

And in case you are interested in a hot stock tip, or need to know which horse to bet on, the gentlemen who joined Steve Rimmer in predicting this outcome were Bob Brown (founding partner, Vx Capital Partners, Chris Damianos (EVP Specialty Markets,  GE Capital Aviation Services), and Eelco van de Stadt (Managing Director and Regional Head, Americas, DVB Bank).

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