Rural Montana Small Businesses Gain Access to Financing Options

Posted: Dec 26 2018
Startup and existing businesses often have various financial needs that traditional financing cannot meet, making Small Business Administration (SBA) financing a viable option towards making that project possible. However, market research shows that rural communities throughout the United States, specifically the state of Montana, are often underserved regarding SBA 504 loan delivery to small businesses, preventing hundreds of entrepreneurs throughout the state from pursuing their dreams of starting or expanding their business.

The first step towards bridging this gap? Creative financing solutions. Earlier this year, the SBA announced the SBA 504 Loan Program Rural Initiative Pilot Program (504 Rural Pilot), which allows Certified Development Corporations (CDCs) like Dakota Business Lending to make 504 loans outside their original Area of Operations to businesses located within rural areas of the same SBA region as the operating CDC. After seeing this SBA financing delivery gap in Montana, Dakota Business Lending has decided to step forward and offer the 504 Loan Program to these businesses and help meet the goals of the SBA rural initiative. Capitalizing on this opportunity and expanding their services will allow Dakota Business Lending to bridge this gap and deliver creative financial solutions to Montana entrepreneurs by providing them with a greater opportunity to acquire the capital they need to pursue their dreams. “Dakota Business Lending has a rich, long history of delivering SBA financing options to small businesses in the area it serves,” said Dakota Business Lending’s President and CEO, Steve Dusek. “It is our intention to duplicate this 35-year history of expertise and responsiveness to the businesses, lenders and communities throughout Montana.” Dakota Business Lending has been the number one SBA lender in North Dakota for the past eight years, working alongside third party lenders and economic development professionals across the state to make these programs possible. 

The SBA 504 loan program is designed to help small businesses preserve cash by offering lower down payment options than conventional financing (starting as low as 10% down) as well as reduce risk by providing a below-market, fixed interest rate for 10-, 20-, or 25-years for the purchase and improvement of real estate or other long-term fixed assets. The program is a partnership with the small business, their primary lender and Dakota Business Lending to secure this type of financing.

christie2DBL.jpgOne of the key aspects to creating and providing these financing solutions to small businesses in Montana is Dakota Business Lending’s decision to welcome back Christie Williams to our team. Born and raised in Bozeman, Montana, Williams and her husband moved to Minot in early 2012. With background experience in lending, she joined the Dakota Business Lending team as a Commercial Loan Officer for three years until she and her family decided to move back to Montana in 2015. During her time with Dakota Business Lending, she developed and delivered the SBA 504 program in northwestern ND and forged solid relationships and partnerships that continue to help businesses in ND today. Williams has been welcomed back to the Dakota Business Lending team as a Commercial Loan Officer based in Lewistown, 
Montana, working to help jumpstart the 504 Rural Pilot Program throughout the state. “Dakota Business Lending is excited to have Christie Williams back assisting with the delivery of this important long-term, fixed rate financing option to Montana’s small business community,” stated Dusek. “Her years of SBA expertise and knowledge, coupled with her passion and deep Montana roots, make this an ideal opportunity for area businesses wishing to access capital for growth.” Christie will be reaching out to lenders, economic developers and other partners over the course of the next year to share information about the program and work with potential borrowers on their financing needs. She is often found spending time with her husband, her two children and her dog on their ranch as well as running their custom farming business.  

Founded in 1982, Dakota Business Lending is the oldest, largest, and most experienced 504 CDC in North Dakota. With staff in Fargo, Bismarck and Minot, Dakota Business Lending serves the entire state of North Dakota and five counties in western Minnesota.  The mission of this private, not-for-profit entity is to provide small business financing solutions through collaborative partnerships in a supportive, creative environment that grows the economy and creates or preserves quality jobs. Since inception, Dakota Business Lending has provided over $500 million in loans with total project impact exceeding $1 billion to small businesses and local economies.