Heller Financial Inc., the Chicago-based commercial finance unit of Fuji Bank Ltd., has struck a deal with Bank of China to provide third-party export credit insurance and collection services for export receivables.

Heller is discussing a similar arrangement with Comerica Inc. of Detroit.

Under a recently launched program, Heller is offering to provide 100% credit protection to banks for export loans and to manage receivables.

"It's really a very simple concept and it's part of a trend in the market for domestic banks to identify other financing tools so they can do a better job lending against export receivables," said Ken Tarter, vice president at Heller for international business development.

"Banks are comfortable with lending, but they are notcomfortable with export risk, so this plays to everyone's strength."

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