SAN DIEGO, Calif., Jan. 4, 2001 (BUSINESS WIRE)—The Online Asset Exchange, the leading global B2B marketplace for industrial assets, Thursday announced a strategic alliance with First International Bank, a world leader in the use of loans backed by the SBA, U.S.DA and the Export-Import Bank of the United States, to offer online financing to companies that buy and sell industrial assets on www.onlineassetexchange.com.

First International Bank is a subsidiary of First International Bancorp Inc. (NASDAQ:FNCE).

“We are excited about offering our clients financial benefits and hope this will enable them to conduct business more easily and efficiently on our Web site,” stated Frank Berlage, Online Asset Exchange’s president and CEO.

The alliance gives Online Asset and First International the ability to provide commercial and international credit products via ThruCredit(SM), First International’s technological solution for financing industrial transactions via the Internet. ThruCredit allows Online Asset Exchange’s clients to settle transactions up to $5 million online by choosing from a full range of equipment financing solutions provided by First International’s e-CreditMenu(SM). Clients can also access additional business financial transactions such as basic payment guarantees, working capital lines, industrial mortgages, sophisticated international trade, as well as barter and energy financing.

Brett Silvers, First International’s chairman and CEO, noted, “Our presence in the world’s primary emerging markets provides an advantage for small and mid-sized companies utilizing OAEX’s extensive listing of used industrial equipment.”

The two companies presented the initial program in Tijuana, Mexico on Dec. 13, 2000, reaching out to more than 30 mid-sized Mexican manufacturers in the metal bending, cutting and forging industries. The presentation, attended by members of Camara Nacional de la Industria de Transformacion (CANASINTRA), the largest Mexican business organization providing Latin industrial companies support through its exclusive membership services (i.e., insurance, networking, etc.), was a success.

“First International’s reputable name in the financial world, will provide our clients with a feeling of security, as well as an added benefit to purchasing equipment from our site,” said Berlage.

The Online Asset Exchange opened offices in Tijuana in early December to better serve the Mexican manufacturing base and increase international traffic to its Web site and catalog, The Exchange. The importance of the partnership is reflected in First International’s recent endorsement from the Mexican government as the first U.S. bank authorized to make loans to Mexican companies through its small business development fund.

“We are looking forward to working with First International,” said Berlage, “and hoping to grow the used industrial asset market in Latin America together.”

About The Online Asset Exchange

Founded in 1999 and with headquarters in San Diego, The Online Asset Exchange (www.onlineassetexchange.com) is the leading online B2B global marketplace for the sale of corporate assets. The exchange features more than 200,000 assets, including metalworking, forming and processing equipment, valued at more than $14 billion. The exchange has recently expanded its marketplaces to include surface-mount technology, medical, construction, agriculture, aviation, transportation, power generation, chemical and food processing, rolling stock, and printing equipment.

The Online Asset Exchange combines cutting-edge exchange technology with traditional methods of asset disposition, like auctions and brokerages, to provide total asset remarketing services for sellers from small businesses to Fortune 1000 corporations and provides buyers the largest selection of equipment available anywhere in the world. The Online Asset Exchange is a one-stop shop for potential buyers offering a myriad of ancillary services which include shipping, rigging, appraisals, loans and financing as well as aftermarket services such as machinery manuals, tooling, MRO and raw materials.

About First International Bank and First International Bancorp Inc.

First International Bank (www.firstinterbank.com) — a world leader in the use of SBA, U.S.DA and Export-Import Bank loans — provides innovative credit, trade and financial solutions for small and medium size industrial businesses. The company has more than 200 employees and representatives at 29 locations worldwide, including offices coast-to-coast in the U.S. and international representatives located in the Americas, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Central Europe. In 1999, the company originated $551 million in loans primarily within its industrial niche, and closed the year with a managed loan portfolio of $1.1 billion. Established in 1955, the bank is a subsidiary of publicly traded First International Bancorp Inc. (NASDAQ:FNCE – news), with headquarters in Hartford, Conn.