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OPIC Presents Partnership Award to Warren Gross, Former President of Export Finance Assistance Center of Washington

April 24, 2009

SEATTLE, Washington – Dr. Lawrence Spinelli, Acting President of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), presented Warren Gross, former longtime president of the Export Finance Assistance Center of Washington (EFACW), with the OPIC Partnership Award for serving as OPIC’s foremost advocate in the American Northwest.

The OPIC Partnership Award recognizes organizations for cooperating with OPIC to encourage American investment in emerging markets, by disseminating information about OPIC products and services to their constituencies. Dr. Spinelli presented the award at an international partnerships workshop conducted at the World Trade Club.

“Warren Gross has done more than any individual to inform American entrepreneurs in the Northwest about OPIC products and services, and for his longstanding service to the agency we are pleased to present him with the OPIC Partnership Award,” Dr. Spinelli said. “Warren’s pioneering efforts for the EFACW on behalf of SMEs in the Northwest was an invaluable corollary to OPIC’s work, helping countless U.S. companies gain access to emerging markets overseas. We deeply appreciate his support.”

Gross retired last year as managing director and president of the EFACW, a nonprofit corporation established by the state legislature in 1983 to enable small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to become more active in exporting. The EFACW advises SMEs on payment risk and settlement terms of export sales, identifies sources of risk mitigation and financing for all aspects of export transactions and determines eligibility for various government and private export loan guarantee and payment risk insurance programs.

Under Gross’s leadership, EFACW developed a client base of more than 500 Washington companies, and originated export finance applications with a cumulative value of almost $1 billion since 1991. EFACW serves as the U.S. Export-Import Bank’s ‘city-state’ market cooperator and has earned ‘Top Performer’ recognition as a marketer of Ex-Im Bank’s programs. EFACW is also a member of OPIC’s Partners Program.

Gross was designated to represent SeaFirst Bank in Tokyo in 1972. He supervised the opening of that bank’s Tokyo branch, then managed its activities in southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand. He was recruited to manage Asia activity for Republic Bank Dallas in 1982 and supervised the expansion of that bank’s presence in Japan, Korea and Taiwan. In 1986, Gross returned to the Northwest to manage commercial lending for First Interstate Bank in the Spokane area. He joined the EFACW in October 1991.

Gross is treasurer and executive committee member of the District Export Council of the U.S. Commerce Department and a director of the International Trade Alliance of Spokane. He is a graduate of Whitman College and an alumnus of George Washington University Law School and Pacific Coast Banking School. He retired with the rank of Commander, United States Naval Reserve in 1987.