Governor Steve Bullock today announced the creation of a loan deferment program to assist Montana businesses impacted by COVID-19.
The Montana Loan Deferment Program will allow businesses and other entities to defer payments on existing loans for six to 12 months and free up a significant amount of otherwise dedicated capital for the borrower to leverage on a monthly basis. If a borrower is approved for the program, Coronavirus relief funds will be used to provide payments to participating lenders to cover interest payments for six-to-twelve months, up to 6 percent or $150, 000.
"Through the Coronavirus Relief Fund, we've been able to consider and begin meeting the needs across all sectors of the economy and in all corners of the state," Governor Bullock said. "The funds we've distributed have gotten Montanans back to work, stabilized businesses, provided a safety net for individuals, and jumpstarted industries while considering what support should be available to ensure long term sustainability."
Governor Bullock is directing $125 million to the program with $25 million specifically dedicated to hotels and restaurants and the remaining $100 million dedicated to other eligible borrowers.
The amount currently dedicated to this program could help defer between 5,000 and 10,000 loans and free up capital to bring stability for businesses and other entities in the long term.
"This program will provide a much needed lifeline to many Montana small businesses to help them recover from the impact of COVID-19 and allow them to get stronger for the future," said Randy Chesler, CEO of Glacier Bancorp.
"This program will not only provide much needed relief to Montana businesses, it will do so in a way that allows the state's banks to mitigate risks in the marketplace. Montana's community banks have stepped up in a big way and will continue to do so through this program in order to help the people of Montana get through this crisis," said Andy West, President of Eagle Bank in Polson.
To be eligible, borrowers must have experienced a 25 percent reduction in gross revenue due to COVID-19. The borrower must also not have access to 12 months of working capital from any other source and be actively registered with the Secretary of State to do business in Montana. The full eligibility criteria are available at COVIDRELIEF.MT.GOV.
The program will be jointly administered by the Board of Investments and the Department of Revenue. Borrowers will apply through their existing lender, which will submit the application to the Board of Investments and Revenue for review and payment if approved. Recipients will be listed on the transparency website that is updated weekly
For businesses seeking access to new capital, the state is currently developing a program that will assist those with needs for new capital.
Governor Bullock also announced he is allocating $530,000 to the Department of Commerce to promote the Census through October 31, the new deadline for completing the decennial count.
"We know an accurate and complete count of all Montanans is critical for determining the federal funding distributed to the state for education, highways, health care and over 300 other programs," Governor Bullock said. "This funding will support the state over the long term and ensure we do everything we can to get a complete count and our fair share of federal funding over the next decade."
While the federal government is tasked with counting all households every 10 years, the state supports the effort to educate and promote the importance of the Census. The U.S. Census Bureau suspended all field operations from March to early May to slow the spread of COVID-19, which put Montana's response rate below the national average. An accurate and complete count of all Montanans is critical for determining the federal funding distributed to the state, it shapes local voting districts, and it determines whether Montana will receive a second seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The following programs have been created in under two months using funding through $1.25 billion in federal emergency relief funding through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act:
-Montana Meat Processing Infrastructure Grant, Montana Department of Agriculture
-Montana Business Adaptation Program, Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation
-Montana Business Stabilization Program, Montana Department of Commerce
-Montana Innovation Grant Program, Governor's Office of Economic Development
-Montana Food and Agriculture Adaptability Program, Montana Department of Agriculture
-Local Government Reimbursement Program
-Emergency Housing Assistance Program, Montana Department of Commerce
-Public Health Grants, Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services,
-Stay Connected Grants, Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services
-Food Bank and Food Pantry Assistance, Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services
-Social Services Nonprofit Grants, Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services
-Telework Assistance Grants, Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services
More than $30 million has gone to Montanans and Montana businesses impacted by COVID-19. To find the transparency webpage and learn more about where the funds are going, go to COVIDRELIEF.MT.GOV.