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Montana Businesses Encouraged To Prepare As More Loans Become Available

The Ellen Theater in Bozeman, Montana,  the evening of March 30, 2020.
Rachel Cramer/Yellowstone Public Radio
The Ellen Theater in Bozeman, Montana, March 30, 2020.

Montana financial leaders are encouraging business owners to get their ducks in a row as more funding for the federal Paycheck Protection Program was approved by Congress Thursday.

Tracie Kenyon, President and CEO of Montana's Credit Unions, says small businesses, as well as non-profit organizations and co-ops, will likely get a second chance to receive forgivable loans to pay employees.

“It’s not too late. Funding should be coming," Kenyon says. "Now is a good time to check in with your credit union, your bank and find out about the next phase of funding and get your paperwork ready to go.”

Some financial experts predict the new funding could run out in a day or two.

The Paycheck Protection Program through one of the federal coronavirus relief packages ran out of its nearly $350 billion in less than two weeks. The U.S. Small Business Administration reported more than 1.6 million loan applications had been approved nationwide by last Thursday.

Montana ended up with nearly 13,500 loans totalling almost $1.5 billion. But many businesses are struggling to make ends meet during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Congress approved an additional $300 billion for the program Thursday.

“Probably a huge number of businesses that were not able to get in before the funding ran out will get funding. I know that my credit unions have a pipeline of loans waiting for the funding so I expect those funds will be exhausted fairly quickly,” Kenyon says.

Kenyon says over one-third of the 47 credit unions across Montana are approved for the Small Business Administration loan program, which administers the government-backed loans.

She says people should call their financial institution or check the Montana Credit Union website to find out which ones participate in the program.

The Montana Credit Union, the Montana Division of the Small Business Administration and the Montana Independent Bankers Association are putting together reports with more data on loan approvals. They will be presenting the findings next week during a hearing with the Economic Affairs Interim Committee of the Montana Legislature.