East West Bank and Centre Merchant Finance Named 2022 Lenders of the Year at Export-Import Bank of the United States Annual Conference

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WASHINGTON, DC – The Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) today awarded East West Bank of California and Centre Merchant Finance in New York their Lender of the Year award in recognition of their work to provide EXIM-backed financing to and on behalf of U.S. exporters. The award was announced at EXIM’s Annual Conference in Washington, D.C.

New York-based Centre Merchant Finance successfully provided innovative trade finance solutions for its customers, helping them achieve quick and cost-efficient results for purchasing capital goods and inventory at internationally competitive rates. EXIM granted Centre Merchant Finance a Master Guarantee Agreement in 2001, enabling the company to directly finance the sale of products and services to foreign buyers. Many of Centre Merchant’s customers are small- and medium-sized enterprises, rendering them an important partner for segments of EXIM’s medium-term loan program.

 “Foreign markets have become more competitive throughout the years, and the unique challenges in today’s global markets are requiring U.S. exporters to have all the tools necessary to compete in this arena,” said William Schoeningh, President. “Financing is always a concern for exporters, whether they are small, family-owned businesses, or corporations that thousands of families depend on. EXIM Bank and Centre Merchant Finance are a strong partnership that is a vital part of our exporting customers’ toolbox to be able to compete in today’s aggressive world of trade.”

East West Bank, located in Los Angeles, has served the financial needs of the Chinese American community since 1973. A champion for the small business export community, East West has grown into the largest independent bank in southern California. One of EXIM’s most active Delegated Authority Lenders, 100 percent of their EXIM working capital portfolio is comprised of small business customers. Because of its success within EXIM’s Working Capital Guarantee Program, East West was recently increased to a Level 6 Delegated Authority, the highest offered by EXIM, allowing the bank to approve up to $150 million in loans to further capitalize on trade finance opportunities for American exporters.

“Reaching out to EXIM bankers is just a phone call away,” said Li Zhang, Sr. Vice President, Manager of Southern California Banking & Credit, East West Bank. “With the assistance and guidance from our EXIM partners, we are able to apply a solution-driven approach to supporting our clients’ export business across a vast range of industries.”

“I congratulate them on this award. EXIM benefits greatly from dedicated lending partners such as East West and Centre Merchant,” said EXIM President and Chair Reta Jo Lewis. “These institutions allow us to identify markets that need our support that we can then provide with the appropriate financing to grow export sales and American jobs.”


EXIM Bank an independent federal agency that provides competitive and necessary export credit to overseas purchasers of U.S. exports to promote and support American jobs. A robust and fully functioning EXIM Bank can assist the United States in leveling the global playing field for U.S. exporters when they compete against foreign companies that receive the support of their national export credit agencies. EXIM also contributes to U.S. economic growth and the support of more than a million jobs through the support of thousands of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) around the country. Since 2000, EXIM Bank has provided $14.6 billion to the U.S. Treasury after paying for all of its administrative and program expenses.

For more information about EXIM, please visit www.exim.gov.