One of your first resources for export financing is a visit to your local bank. If you cannot receive the necessary credit for your export activities from your own bank, you should shop around for another bank willing to consider your loan proposal. Generally, a bank that has an international department or one that is active in small business lending will be more receptive than others to your proposal.
Ask your bank for the name of a correspondent bank that provides international financing assistance. In shopping for a bank, however, keep in mind the distinction between international trade services and international trade lending. Some banks have international divisions that offer international trade services, such as advising and negotiating letters of credit, but these divisions do not lend money.
International lenders, on the other hand, have the authority to make loans, as well as provide related services. Be sure to verify that the bank officer with whom you are dealing has the authority to lend for an export transaction or is willing to work with another division that has lending authority.
Before approaching a bank for financial assistance, you should understand the distinction between venture capital and lending. Venture capitalists invest in a business by providing capital in exchange for equity. Venture capitalists expect that, as the business grows, their equity in the business will grow proportionally. Unlike the venture capitalist, the lender does not obtain equity in the enterprise. Lenders simply provide funds to a small business in the form of loans. Lenders make their money on the difference between the rate at which they borrow money and the rate at which they lend to their customers. Lenders, then, are more sensitive to risk; a proposal that looks good to the venture capitalist may not appeal to a lender.
Usually, you should make your financial arrangements well in advance of expected sales. If you wait until you need credit to begin talking to your banker, you'll probably lose the sales.
Export Credit Agencies: