AirFinance and Apple Bank Named EXIM 2021 Lenders of the Year

September 22, 2021

(Ex-Im Bank) Aircraft Financing Arranger and Lender Recognized for Successful Collaboration Meeting Liquidity Challenges of COVID-19 Pandemic

WASHINGTON – The Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) today gave the Lender of the Year award to AirFinance Leasing LLC in Virginia and to Apple Bank for Savings in New York, New York, in recognition of their successful collaboration in finding a creative financing solution that provided liquidity to an aircraft manufacturer in Florida in the face of the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The awards were presented today during EXIM’s 2021 Annual Conference being held virtually September 21-23.

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the commercial financing market temporarily was very limited. AirFinance sought prospects for participation in EXIM programs and found a candidate for a creative solution with Embraer Aircraft (EEA) in Melbourne, Florida. EEA’s business model is to deliver business jets to foreign buyers that are required to pay a deposit of 20 to 30 percent upfront and then pay the remaining balance upon delivery of the aircraft. Due to pandemic travel restrictions, foreign buyers were not able to travel to the United States to take delivery of their aircraft—which meant that the cash invested by EEA in those aircraft would be tied up indefinitely.

AirFinance, an EXIM Qualified Advisor, informed EXIM’s Business Credit Division of the situation and proposed a unique inventory-only facility through which EEA would be allowed to borrow against the aircraft waiting to be picked up by foreign buyers as collateral for the loan. The facility is unique because most EXIM working capital guarantees are provided on facilities where the accounts receivable is the primary collateral. This inventory-only facility enabled EEA to borrow the funds they needed from Apple Bank for Savings to continue operations and enabled EEA to maintain all of its U.S. jobs.

“As the facility for Embraer Executive Aircraft demonstrates, EXIM benefits from creative lending partners such as AirFinance and Apple Bank for Savings because they seek out gaps in the market and partner with us to provide the export financing that our exporters need to maintain and grow their export sales and sustain and add American jobs,” said EXIM Business Credit Division Vice President Steven Freshour, who presented the awards.

“AirFinance’s long-term relationship and trust with EXIM was essential to partnering with EXIM’s Working Capital Division to customize and tailor a program that had long been used in EXIM, especially in designing the approval so it would work for how a U.S. aircraft manufacturer sells and delivers its products. The EXIM team was diligent, constructive, creative, and responsive, and every decision they made had the mission of creating and protecting U.S. jobs at the forefront,” said AirFinance Managing Partner Kirsten Bartok Touw.

“The EXIM 2021 Deal of the Year Award is a milestone in the longstanding relationship we have had with EXIM, since 2009 to finance the export of wide-body, single-aisle, regional and business jet aircraft. We are grateful to be recognized with this award, and we look forward to continuing our deep and productive partnership with EXIM,” said Steven C. Bush, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Apple Bank.

Dana R. MacKinnon, Senior Vice President and Head of Export Credit, stated, “We are extremely honored to receive this award and to support Embraer’s manufacturing facility and hundreds of American aircraft manufacturing jobs. Apple Bank, through its longstanding relationship with AirFinance will continue to remain the ‘go-to’ bank for EXIM-backed working capital facility financings.”

Apple Bank for Savings has partnered with EXIM for more than a decade. The lender has financed the export of U.S.-manufactured wide-body and narrow-body commercial aircraft and corporate business jet aircrafts to a range of airlines, aircraft leasing companies, regional airlines, and aircraft operators around the world. As a result, the partnership between Apple Bank for Savings and EXIM has expanded the global reach of the agency’s customer base and provided a solid earnings foundation for the bank’s substantial export credit business.

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