National Infrastructure Bank: Overview and Current Legislation [December 14, 2011] [open pdf - 398KB]
"Conceptually, an infrastructure bank is a government-established entity that provides credit assistance to sponsors of infrastructure projects. An infrastructure bank can take many different forms, such as an independent federal agency, a federal corporation, a government-sponsored enterprise, a state government entity, or a private-sector, nonprofit corporation, but is distinguished from a commercial bank or private-sector infrastructure fund by being government established. Unlike government departments that mainly fund infrastructure through grants, an infrastructure bank would be expected mainly to provide credit assistance, typically loans, loan guarantees, and lines of credit. As with a traditional commercial bank, infrastructure bank borrowers would be expected to repay their loans with interest, and may have to pay other fees associated with the bank's credit instruments. But unlike a commercial bank, an infrastructure bank takes no deposits and conducts no other 'over-the-counter' transactions. Examples of existing infrastructure banks are the European Investment Bank (EIB) and, in the United States, state infrastructure banks, and possibly the Export-Import Bank."
CRS Report for Congress, R42115