Tester Presses CEOs of Nation’s Largest Banks on Access to Capital in Rural America

Senator stresses the importance of brick and mortar banks in Montana

U.S. Senator Jon Tester pressed the CEOs of America’s largest banks on their commitment to providing in-person banking services to Montana and across rural America. With older and rural households more likely to visit branches in person than other demographics, branch closures have disproportionately impacted rural communities and small businesses in Montana.

Tester used his own town of Big Sandy as an example, where the closure of a major bank branch several years ago could have had profound impacts on working families and small businesses had a regional community bank not been opened in its place.

“As you guys know better than anybody, access to capital is critically important if you’re going to have business expansion and employment and economic growth,” Tester said. “Even a few years ago in my small town of 600, a bank – one of your banks, actually – decided to pull out… That potential pullout and that access to a brick and mortar facility could have really raised heck with my small town where post offices are still important and schools are still important and banks are still important.”

Tester asked: “Are you guys committed to brick and mortar facilities in rural America and if not, why not?” 

Tester has been Montana’s leading champion for main street businesses, and believes strongly that access to capital is key to economic growth in rural America. Earlier this month, U.S. Senator Jon Tester received the National Federation of Independent Business’ (NFIB) Guardian of Small Business Award for his work to champion small businesses in Montana and across the country during the 117th Congress. He was one of only two Democrats in the U.S. Senate to receive this year’s award, along with Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV).

Tester was specifically honored by NFIB for his support of the 2021 Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and for voting to protect the stepped-up basis in the Fiscal Year 2021 budget, among other key votes.

Last July, Tester secured $61,327,969 for Montana’s State Small Business Credit Initiative through the American Rescue Plan Act, which will be used for credit and investment programs for small businesses and startups to help them grow and succeed. Tester also stood up and defeated a proposal from President Biden and Democratic Senators to change stepped-up basis tax provisions that would have negatively impacted a families’ ability to keep running a farm, ranch, or small business.


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