This post is sponsored by the Export-Import Bank of the United States.

Expanding into new markets can be a daunting challenge for any business, but it is especially risky for small businesses. The Export-Import Bank of the United States works with companies of all sizes to get them the capital they need to safely expand internationally. In 2015, nearly 90% of the bank’s transactions, more than 2,300, directly supported U.S. small businesses.

In this post, Kenneth M. Tinsley, senior vice president of credit and risk management and acting chief risk officer, discusses how the bank is working to help small businesses with international expansion. He talks about available trade finance products and how the EXIM Bank can help.

Question: Tell me about the role the EXIM Bank plays in international finance?

Kenneth Tinsley: Particularly with respect to trade finance, we help fill in the gaps not funded by the private market to support U.S. (read more…)

Virtually every meme and parody video making its way around the internet this week seems to have something to do with Star Wars – The Force Awakens … except one.

The band at First Round Capital went the pop music route for their holiday video and nailed it with an epic parody that spoofs a montage of videos from artists like Mark Ronson/Bruno Mars, The Weeknd, Maroon 5, Drake and Jason Derulo, among others.

The parody features First Round Capital staff and employees of numerous start ups re-enacting the videos for pop hits like Uptown Funk (remember all the dancing in the street?) and Sugar, which featured Maroon 5 crashing the weddings of some of their fans.

If you listen closely, you will enjoy the best part of the video: The First Round Capital crew changed all the lyrics to make them relevant to the start up and venture capital world. (read more…)

Few retailers in the world have as big and complex of a supply chain as Walmart. But the interaction between suppliers and retailers has evolved in recent years. Former Walmart president and CEO Mike Duke was on hand at CME Group’s 8th annual Global Financial Leadership Conference to discuss how the retail giant’s relationship with suppliers has evolved.

Duke was interviewed by Daniel Glickman, vice president of the Aspen Institute and former US secretary of agriculture, who pointed out just how crucial Walmart has become for many companies in its supply chain.

“I’ve talked to some of your suppliers and some of them will quietly say they sometimes worry more about what Walmart says than what the US government says because they said you have more impact on their lives in some cases than some regulatory edict coming out of Washington,” Glickman told Duke.

Duke responded that the old days of simply placing demands on suppliers is over. (read more…)

The Milken Institute is working to give policymakers, media, and the academic community a deeper base of knowledge when it comes to global banking issues. The Institute’s recent launch of offers users a new and unique way of accessing information on banking systems worldwide and their regulatory environment. The site aggregates World Bank data from 180 countries in addition to its own independent research and analysis on an open platform that is accessible to anyone.

“Never before has this kind of information been collected and presented in such an easy-to-use way,” said Staci Warden, executive director of the Milken Institute’s Center for Financial Markets. “We are confident that it will be a tremendous resource for anyone working in this area.”

The aim of is to build a database of international banking facts and figures, increasing transparency regarding the worldwide banking environment. Key features include ease of use and the ability to incorporate data into independent research by users; interactive charts and maps; up-to-date news and expert commentary, and global banking reports. (read more…)

While its creation was lamented by some and championed by others, industry experts say the performance thus far of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has been a mixed-bag. The Financial Services Roundtable assembled thought leaders as part of its “How is the CFPB Doing? The Advocates’ Perspective” panel discussion in Washington, D.C. A few of the key highlights included:

  • Georgetown University Law Professor Adam Levitin was the most outspoken member of the panel, saying the CFPB may yet be finding its sea legs as experienced staff complete their “regulatory tourist stints” and depart the Bureau, leaving behind an undetermined culture. Levitin said the CFPB has enjoyed the benefits of a “we had to do this” kind of approach while it has tackled rule-makings many viewed as “mandatory.” However, going forward the Bureau will be dealing with discretionary issues that may find it “swimming in deeper waters.” One unique outcome Levitin noted is the money is the “disgorgement” of funds for misdeeds, also known as money going back to consumers.
  • (read more…)