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By Tim Leeds 

Bear Paw reduces rates on business loans


July 3, 2014

The local economic development agency is offering a special deal to help businesses in the area expand or to help people who want to start a new business.

Bear Paw Development Corp. announced it is reducing a fee in its revolving loan program targeted to help create and grow small businesses.

“To really help kick-start the financing needs of our entrepreneurial community, we thought the best way to do that was to make getting a loan more affordable from the very beginning by reducing our origination fee by 26 percent for the summer,” Bear Paw Executive Director Paul Tuss said in a press release. “We want to be as helpful as we can in assisting small businesses thrive.”

Tuss said reducing the origination fee, charged by lenders to help pay for the upfront expenses of issuing the loan, means a borrower taking a $100,000 loan with a 1 percent fee would save $260.

Bear Paw, the first federally and state-recognized economic development district in the state, has managed the revolving loan fund for 26 years.

Bear Paw Development is a nonprofit community and economic development organization that works in Liberty, Hill, Blaine, Chouteau and Phillips counties and on the Rocky Boy’s and Fort Belknap Indian reservations.

Since 1988, Bear Paw Development has approved more than 335 loans to businesses in northern Montana, which represents approximately $24.2 million that has gone directly into the local economy and also has helped to create or retain 1,255 jobs, the release says.

“Bear Paw Development has had great success in the past at financing businesses throughout our five-county area of northern Montana, but we really believe that the best is yet to come in terms of helping our region’s small business community to grow and prosper,” Tuss said. “Summer is a time when many small business owners think of expanding their operation and when new entrepreneurs consider finally taking that important step toward making their dream become a reality.

“Bear Paw Development currently has funds available to lend to area businesses, and we are looking to invest these funds in projects that will help our communities grow, expand our tax base, create jobs and assist entrepreneurs realize their dream of business success,” Tuss continued.

He also said Bear Paw has many other services to help local entrepreneurs, including counseling and technical assistance for developing business plans, cash flow projections and other details that are necessary to become successful.

Business services are provided through both Bear Paw’s Small Business Development Center and the Food and Agriculture Development Center, which are both part of statewide networks designed to assist small business entrepreneurs and value-added agricultural clients with their projects, the release says.

“In short, we really are the area’s one-stop shop for anyone who may have a great idea but just doesn’t know how to take the next step in planning for the business success they want to achieve,” Tuss said.

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