Approve More Montana Community Lenders to Assist Small Businesses, Tester Urges Treasury

Only one Montana Community Development Financial Institution currently eligible to help businesses through Paycheck Protection Program

U.S. Senator Jon Tester today continued his push to make sure Montana’s small businesses receive pandemic relief through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) by urging Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to approve more Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) as Small Business Administration lenders, making them eligible to disburse funds through the program.

“In rural communities and those facing challenges in Montana and elsewhere, CDFIs and economic development lenders are able to deploy resources where they are needed and to assist those who often otherwise face barriers to accessing help,” wrote Tester. “In Montana, the partnership between our community lenders and CDFIs significantly strengthens economic development activities…It is critical that resources are getting swiftly into the hands of the folks that need it. CDFIs can be valuable partners in this effort in the Paycheck Protection Program and beyond.”

Currently only one CDFI in Montana is approved to participate in the Paycheck Protection Program. Prior to the program reopening MoFi, a Missoula based CDFI, had already helped 171 small businesses access more than $6 million in funding. MoFi is working with hundreds of Montana’s smallest businesses to help them access resources provided in legislation Tester supported last week. If eligibility is expanded, more CDFIs could provide these services and more of Montana’s small businesses could receive the relief they need.

Tester has led the charge to make sure that Montana’s main street businesses can access the programs Congress created to provide economic relief in the wake of the pandemic. Last week, after pressure from Tester, the Treasury Department expanded eligibility for the PPP to include Tribal gaming enterprises and all taverns, casinos, and bars with fewer than 500 employees, as well as rural hospitals.

Last week, the President signed a bipartisan interim coronavirus relief package, supported by Tester, that includes $310 billion dollars for the PPP.

Tester has been working tirelessly to ensure that Montana is prepared to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. After 72 hours negotiating substantial, bipartisan improvements to COVID-19 stimulus legislation that had previously fallen far short, Tester voted to deliver critical, urgent relief to Montana workers, families, small businesses, hospitals and others hardest hit by the outbreak. This funding includes $1.25 billion for the state of Montana.

Read Tester’s full letter to Secretary Mnuchin HERE.

Visit for a list of resources for Montanans during the COVID-19 outbreak