Magazine article American Banker

Bank of Boston Aims to Help Boost Exports of New England Firms

Magazine article American Banker

Bank of Boston Aims to Help Boost Exports of New England Firms

Article excerpt

Confronted with slow growth in exports from New England relative to other regions, Bank of Boston Corp. has launched a major program to help local manufacturers increase overseas sales.

The bank hopes to leverage its international network to boost exports to emerging markets in Asia and Latin America, rather than to the lagging European and Canadian markets that New England companies have traditionally turned to.

Under an eight-point program announced this week, the $43.5 billion asset bank is stepping up efforts to supply trade finance, capital market, and treasury-related services to New England companies.

The bank said it will visit 15,000 local firms to offer advice on increasing exports and managing international trade.

Bank of Boston executives said one of the biggest impediments for local businesses looking to start or increase exports was their lack of familiarity with export finance procedures and lack of market information.

"Exporting can be intimidating to small businesses, but need not be," said Richard DeKaser, senior economist with the bank.

Bank of Boston has also set up an international desk where local companies can get on-line information about 50 industries in 78 countries through a toll-free telephone number.

It has also entered into agreements with the Small Business Administration, the United States Export-Import Bank, and the Massachusetts Industrial Finance Agency to promote the sale of local goods abroad.

As part of its arrangement with the Ex-Im Bank, Bank of Boston has obtained authorization to grant up to $2 million worth of U.S. government guaranteed loans. The guarantees, covering 90% of principal and interest, are for secured, short-term, working- capital loans to small and midsize businesses.

"This means the bank can respond to the marketplace quicker than it could in the past," said Ed Russell, a spokesman for the bank. …

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