THE AMERICAS: Banker Uncle Sam

Latin Americans who look north to the U.S. for the funds that they need to build their way out of backwardness inevitably focus on the U.S. Government's biggest single source of foreign-development capital, the Export-Import Bank of Washington. What they find is a bank that this year is lending seven times as much development capital as it did a decade ago, a bank that takes the risks that Wall Street shuns—yet a businesslike bank that holds to hard-loan standards.

The Export-Import Bank was chartered in Depression-struck 1934 to help finance U.S. exports, and a...

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