Fred Hochberg is chairman and president of the Export-Import Bank of the United States and bullish on Wichita’s general aviation.
The federal agency, which helps finance the sale of U.S. exports, has helped Wichita’s industry to compete and sell airplanes overseas. He wants that to continue.
The climate to obtain private financing for airplanes became more difficult during the U.S. recession and the economic downturn overseas.
“We fill in the gap,” Hochberg said.
In the past two years, the Ex-Im Bank has supported $152 million in financing for airplanes built by Wichita planemakers, Hochberg said.
In all, the agency provided more than $1 billion in the financing of business aircraft and helicopters built in the U.S. since the beginning of fiscal year 2012.
A traditional bank will make the loan to the customer, and the Ex-Im Bank guarantees the principal and interest. That induces banks to lend money.
“All of a sudden, the bank is making the loan, and it’s 100 percent guaranteed,” Hochberg said.
President Obama named Hochberg to his current position in 2009.
The bank is currently focusing on developing new markets for U.S. goods and services in emerging economies that want to grow their infrastructure – places like Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Turkey, India, Indonesia, Vietnam, Nigeria and South Africa.
Hochberg also wants to expand the global footprint of key domestic industries in the U.S., such as renewable energy, construction, farm machinery, medical technology, agriculture and avionics.
In 2012, the Ex-Im bank’s financing reached a record $35.7 billion, supported $50 billion in exports and roughly 255,000 export-related jobs at 3,400 U.S. companies, according to the bank.
Small business financing rose more than 70 percent to $6.1 billion.
Hochberg, 62, grew up outside Mount Vernon, N.Y., and earned a degree in art history from New York University. He also holds a master’s of business administration from Columbia University.
After college, Hochberg joined the family business, catalog retailer Lillian Vernon Corp., started by his mother, Lillian.
Hochberg began in its marketing department and eventually served as the company’s president and chief operating officer. He helped transform it from a company with $4 million and $5 million in sales to a publicly traded company with about $200 million in sales at the time of his departure, Hochberg said.
Hochberg worked on President Bill Clinton’s campaign and in 1998 joined the administration as deputy, then acting administrator of the Small Business Administration.
He is a past board member of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the Citizens Budget Commission and FINCA International Micro Finance.
In his spare time, Hochberg likes to bike, cook and go to the theater.