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More than 50 businesses in Fallon County have received assistance from the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

The Bank of Baker has made loans throughout the region, totaling about $6 million, according to the bank vice-president, Janice Moser.

“We did all different types of businesses. We did retail, oilfield, ag businesses, bars, restaurants, hunting guides, just to name a few of the types of businesses that we did. We did everything from sole proprietor to corporations, DBAs (Doing Business As) and LLCs (Limited Liability Corporation)… those type of businesses.

“In Fallon County alone, we did a little over $5 million in 54 loans and in a tri-state area we did approximately 65 loans for more than $6 million,” she said.

According to Moser, the PPP has been a successful program locally.

“The impact it had on businesses is different for each business. If you had a business that closed during that period, it just kept your employees paid. If you had a business that was open, maybe at a minimum,  …. it helped pay your workers,” she said. “So the impact varied quite a bit on the business that was using the money. But it (the PPP) had a positive impact on the business community.

“In some cases it helped the business. In some cases it just helped the employees,” she explained.

The program has helped many of the businesses survive the economic impact of the pandemic since it was created in April, she said.

According to one report by the Small Business Administration, Montana businesses had more than 23,000 in loans and nearly $2 billion in total aid.

Businesses in Baker were the biggest recipients of the program with approximately 54 getting on a list of loans under $150,000. Plevna had five.

Small loans

In Fallon County, the Bank of Baker was the lender for most of the loans under $150,000, according to an SBA report. The bank handled more than 30 loans totaling more than $1.12 million in Baker alone under that $150,000 level.

The Dakota Community Bank and Trust made one loan for a total of $124,300. The bank made a second loan in Baker for $9,300 to bring its investment total to approximately $133,600.

Grasslands Federal Credit Union made seven loans, for slightly more than $185,000.

Baker businesses also got loans from Dakota Western Bank, First Interstate Bank, Stockman Bank of Montana, Kirkwood Bank and Trust, Dacotah Bank, Readycap Lending and Summit National Bank.

Plevna loans

In Plevna, under the $150,000 level, the five PPP loans came to a total of  $137,487. The two largest loans in the Plevna community were made by the Bank of Baker for a total of $106,800.

The Stockman Bank of Montana made two loans in Plevna, with the largest of the $18,027 total being one for $12,700. First Interstate Bank made one loan for $12,650.

PPP support

The program was designed to provide financial assistance to businesses impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic and started in April.

It was part of the CARES - Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Securities – Act which has distributed more than $500 billion throughout the country. It was intended to help small businesses cope with the economic impact of the global pandemic at the local level when businesses were being shuttered for health reasons.

Montana program

In addition, there is a state program that might be able to help local businesses, but they have to apply for it, according to Moser.

The Montana Board of Investments has what is called a deferment program. “If there is a reduction of your gross income of 20 percent or more from January to July of 2019 versus January to July of 2020, there is a program they can apply for. The Montana Board of Investments would make their interest payments up to a full year, if they qualify.”

Businesses interested in the loan deferment program can call their banks for information about the qualifications and terms, she added.

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