Daily Inter Lake: Letter to the Editor: Local business

by Carla and Darin Fisher, Columbia Falls

When we opened Backslope Brewing seven years ago we hoped to provide a community gathering space. We recognize that a community’s resiliency is built on relationships, and it is those relationships that make a strong community.

This meant that when we looked for the support we needed for our business, whether it was banks, grains, hops, food, we first reached out to those in our community.

As a small business one of our most important relationships are those we have with our bankers at our local banks. We appreciate the ways that legislation led by Sen. Jon Tester, made accessing capital from our local community banks seamless. His Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act made it easier for Montana’s small financial institutions to lend to small businesses like ours. Tester worked with Republicans and Democrats in 2018 to cut bureaucratic red-tape for Main Street, because he understands that in order for small businesses like ours to thrive, we need strong local banks that are invested in our community.

It appears that in the wake of the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank some people are trying to use the failure of bank executives in California as a justification for imposing burdensome regulations on Montanans. As Montana small business owners who have directly benefited from Tester’s work, we want to set the record straight.

The truth is that Tester’s bipartisan legislation provided relief to small businesses like ours, along with countless other Montana farmers, ranchers, and homebuyers who have been able to rely on our local community banks for capital. It simply makes no sense for Freedom Bank in Columbia Falls to face the same regulations as JPMorgan. Fortunately, Tester used Montana common sense to push back against Washington bureaucrats’ one-size-fits all policy that was wrong for rural America and for Montana small businesses.

The success of our local brewery is a testament to what can happen when we focus on local relationships and local institutions. Thanks to Tester’s work keeping our local banks strong, we’ve been able to invest in our community and keep the beer flowing.

Letters to the editor April 6 | Daily Inter Lake