One of the largest banks in the world has earned the distinction of being named the 2007 Small Business Lender of the Year by US Exim Bank because of its notable support of exports by US small businesses to buyers around the world.

JP Morgan Chase Bank received the award at Exim Bank’s annual conference in Washington, DC, on April 12.

One of the most active lenders in US Exim Bank’s working capital guarantee (WCG) programme, JP Morgan Chase has, since 1988, originated 325 WCG loan facilities with a total credit accommodation of US$682.7mn. Last year alone, the bank originated 38 such facilities totalling US$107.4mn, of which 32 supported US small businesses.

“Exim Bank’s working capital guarantee, insurance, and loan guarantee programs help us work with many companies that otherwise could not finance their exports,” says Martha Gentry, vice-president, Global Trade Services, in JP Morgan Chase’s Treasury Services group. “Most banks won’t finance export-related foreign receivables and related inventory without some sort of mitigant. With Exim Bank support, we can help these companies export more.”

JP Morgan Chase was granted ‘Super’ delegated authority status by Exim in 1999, which allows it to authorise US Exim-guaranteed working capital loans of up to US$10mn to any one borrower. The bank subsequently was approved for Exim Bank’s “Fast Track” application processing system, under which experienced lenders can provide small and medium-sized US exporters with expedited Exim Bank-guaranteed working capital loans – between US$10mn and US$25mn – with a total aggregate limit of US$300mn per lender.

JP Morgan Chase closed its first Fast Track loan in February 2006.

“With its commitment to our programmes and its innovative outreach efforts, JP Morgan Chase has helped Exim Bank fulfil its mission to strengthen support for small business exports and create and sustain US jobs,” says Exim Bank chairman and president James Lambright. “We are delighted to recognise JP Morgan Chase’s achievements by presenting them with our 2007 Small Business Bank of the Year award.”