Tester encourages Montanans to apply for disaster assistance loans

Small Business Administration loans available to 14 counties affected by wildfire

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Senator Jon Tester today encouraged all qualified small business owners in Montana to apply for low-interest disaster assistance loans now available in 14 counties affected by this summer's devastating wildfires.

"There's no doubt about it, from tourism to hospitality to production, this wildfire season took a toll on Montana," said Tester, a member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.  "Taking advantage of these low-interest loans is a good way to help small business folks get back on their feet and back in business where they belong."

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) made the loans available today after declaring an economic injury disaster in the 14 counties.  Governor Brian Schweitzer recently asked the SBA to make the declaration.

Now, qualified business owners are eligible for SBA working capital loans of up to $1.5 million at a 4% interest rate with terms up to 30 years.

The loans are available to affected small business owners in Broadwater, Cascade, Flathead, Granite, Jefferson, Lake, Lewis and Clark, Meagher, Mineral, Missoula, Powell, Ravalli and Sanders Counties.

Small business owners can find more information about the SBA loans online at www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance, or by calling toll-free (800) 659-2955.  The deadline to apply for the loans is June 25, 2008.