A brief overview of working with commercial banks. This information is taken from "A Basic Guide to Exporting" provided by the U.S. Commercial Service to assist U.S. companies in exporting.rry
Last Published: 10/20/2016
Working With Commercial Banks

The same commercial bank services used to finance domestic activities, including revolving lines of credit for working capital, are often sought to finance export sales until payment has been received. Banks do not regularly extend financing solely on the basis of an individual order; they
prefer to establish an ongoing business relationship.

A logical first step if you’re seeking to finance short-term export sales is to approach the local commercial bank your company already uses. If the bank previously has extended credit to your company, it will be familiar with your financial standing,credit need, repayment record, and ability to perform. The bank may be willing to raise the overall limit on an existing working capital line of credit, to expand its scope to cover export transactions, or to approve a separate line specifically adapted to export-related transactions that involve arrangements such as discounting.

Alternatively, you may wish to approach a commercial bank with an international department. Such a bank will be familiar with export business and will also be in a position to provide international banking services related to documentary collections and letters of credit, including the discounting of drafts. An intermediate approach is to retain a relationship with your bank but seek a referral to a correspondent bank that has an international department.

If you already have a relationship[ with a commercial bank, especially one that has a section dedicated to international business, you may be able to save time and effort.
You should visit the bank’s international department to discuss export plans, available banking facilities, and applicable charges. You may wish to inquire about such matters as fees for amending or confirming a letter of credit, fees for processing drafts, and the bank’s experience in working with U.S. government agencies that offer export financing assistance. Generally, the bank’s representative handling your account will not be located in the international department. Thus it is in your best interest to create and foster a close working relationship with the international department.

The responsibility for repaying a working capital loan ordinarily rests with you, the seller, even if the foreign buyer fails to pay. The bank takes this contingency into account in deciding on an export working capital line of credit. Both you and the bank will benefit, though, if you improve the quality of the export receivables by using letters of credit, credit insurance, or working capital guarantees from Ex-Im Bank or the U.S. Small Business Administration.

When you ship capital goods, you may want the commercial bank to make medium term loans directly to the foreign buyer to finance the sale. Such loans are available for well-established foreign buyers in more stable markets. But where there is an element of risk, the bank may require a standby letter of credit, recourse to the exporter in case of default, or similar repayment reinforcement. You should be knowledgeable about loans from your own bank that are backed by Ex-Im Bank guarantees and insurance—assuming that the commercial bank is willing to use them.