A political fight over an obscure federal agency is threatening to put the kibosh on a big business for banks.

The Export-Import Bank of the United States provides billions of dollars in loans, guarantees and insurance to private banks in the U.S. and abroad. Banks ranging in size from JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Citigroup (NYSE: C), to the $282 million-asset Midwest Regional Bank in Festus, Mo., use the Ex-Im Bank's programs.

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