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New Loan Deferment Program Available To Montana Businesses Hurt By COVID-19

A 'closed' sign on the door of the Agate Salon in Missoula, April 03, 2020.
William Marcus
Montana Public Radio
A 'closed' sign on the door of the Agate Salon in Missoula, April 03, 2020.

Montana Governor Steve Bullock June 17 announced a new $125 million loan deferment program aimed at aiding businesses hurting from the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The Montana Loan Deferment Program will use federal CARES Act relief funds to cover a business’s interest payments for six to 12 months for up to six percent or $150,000.

"The interest will be covered by the public funds up to 6 percent and the banks will write down any amount above 6 percent for that period of time, but the principle is deferred to the end. No penalty," said State Budget Director Tom Livers.

$25 million of the program is set aside for hotels and restaurants. The remaining $100 million is available to other eligible borrowers.

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.

Bullock also announced he’s funneling more $530,000 toward 2020 Census outreach. Montana’s response rate ranks eighth to last in the nation, with just 55 percent of households responding ahead of the Oct. 31 deadline.