OPIC provides financing either through direct loans, which are reserved for projects sponsored by or substantially involving U.S. small and medium enterprises (SMEs), or through loan guaranties, which are typically used for larger projects. OPIC can offer loans as small as $350,000, and can normally guaranty or lend up to $250 million per project.
All loans or guaranties over $50 million must be approved by the OPIC Board of Directors. The Board meets four times a year. OPIC works together with its clients to find a convenient schedule to meet all parties’ needs.
Under both financing techniques, the borrower approaches OPIC to analyze and structure financing for an overseas project, and OPIC determines the appropriate terms of borrowing. Where a guaranty rather than a direct loan is sought, a financial institution willing to provide the needed funds to OPIC is identified. Typical funding institutions include insurance companies, pension funds, and commercial banks, and under the guaranty, these lenders are protected by the full faith and credit of the United States government. OPIC, however, is the lender to the project.
The OPIC guaranty is simply an alternative funding mechanism, and only legal entities created under the laws of the U.S., any state or territory, or D.C., such as corporations, partnerships, or other associations including nonprofit associations more than 50 percent beneficially owned by U.S. citizens may be recipients of OPIC’s guaranty. Foreign corporations that are more than 95 percent U.S. owned are also eligible. OPIC-guarantied loans are classified as eligible U.S. government securities for insurance companies and many other institutional investors.