WASHINGTON, D.C.— "We compete with Ex-Im," Carlos Garcia told me at the Export-Import Bank Annual Conference. "We basically do the same exact thing."

Garcia is a vice president at Euler Hermes, a german-owned financial company that finances exports. Euler Hermes, in Germany, is underwritten by the German government—it is their version of Ex-Im. But in the rest of the world, Euler Hermes is just a regular financial services company, a subsidiary of Allianz, the financial services giant.

Many U.S. exporters turn to Euler Hermes to help finance their exports. Private banks provide the direct financing, and Euler Hermes backs the loan. In general, however, Ex-Im financing is preferable — the price is better because the U.S. taxpayer backs the financing.

Garcia's statement corroborates what I've heard from Ex-Im attendees in the past.

"Ex-Im Bank is a competitor," Michael Kraemer, a banker at American International Group, told me at the 2015 Ex-Im conference.

"There is a vibrant private export credit market," Charles Baker at export financier Atrafin told me. "Ex-Im provides financing that the private sector also provides."

"There is definitely competition," Bryan Maloney of DS Factoring, another export financier, told me last year. "It's kind of outlandish to say there isn't." I wrote last year: "Maloney's firm, which doesn't use Ex-Im financial products, he tells me, competes directly with Ex-Im, but also with larger finance firms that sell products backed by Ex-Im guarantees."

The testimony of these real-life bankers undermines the Ex-Im argument that the federal agency only provides financing unavailable in the private sector. Some Ex-Im financing surely goes beyond what the private sector would do. "They will go into riskier markets," Garcia, of Euler Hermes, tells me. But if Ex-Im went away, many financiers would happily fill the void.

Timothy P. Carney, The Washington Examiner's senior political columnist, can be contacted at tcarney@washingtonexaminer.com. His column appears Tuesday and Thursday nights on washingtonexaminer.com.