Federal small business loan program ends, funds to be reinvested

Gov. Steve Bullock announced the end of the Montana State Small Business Credit Initiative on Tuesday, adding that the loans will be reinvested at the local level once repaid. (FILE: Martin Kidston/Missoula Current)

A federal program created seven years ago to grow jobs and help small businesses expand has come to a close, though the funding will be reinvested at the local level once the loans are repaid, Gov. Steve Bullock said.

The governor Tuesday announced the end of the Montana State Small Business Credit Initiative, which loaned more than $12 million to small businesses across the state and created or retained more than 1,200 jobs.

As the loans are repaid, Bullock said, the funds will return to regional development organizations to be lent back out to other businesses, generating additional economic impact.

“Access to funding is key to the success of Main Street businesses,” Bullock said. “Montana’s economy is stronger because our business owners and entrepreneurs have leveraged opportunities to make smart investments to help grow business and create jobs.”

The Montana SSBCI was a limited program offered through the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The program was administered in Montana through a partnership between the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and the Department of Commerce, along with local economic development partners.

Created by the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, the SSBCI was developed in response to the aftermath of the recession, when businesses had trouble obtaining loans directly from banks.

In Montana, Bullock said, the program awarded 51 loans to businesses in 17 communities. During its run, it sparked an additional $111 million of investment in the state’s economy, according to the governor.