Commerce Connection

montana department of commerce

Governor Bullock Announces Montana Working Capital Program

On Friday, Sept. 4th, Governor Steve Bullock announced the new Montana Working Capital program which builds off the Montana Loan Deferment program by allowing Montana businesses to take out a new loan to support economic recovery. 

“We are getting money out the door to keep employees on the job, support Montana businesses, and ensure long-term stability,” said Governor Bullock. “With this new program, we can continue to support our economic recovery, while continuing to protect the health and safety of Montanans.”

“Bankers in Montana are doing everything they can to assist businesses impacted by the economic crisis, and both the loan deferment and the new working capital program give them vital new tools in their toolboxes to help businesses regain profitability. We have worked closely with the Board of Investments for months in crafting programs that are truly beneficial for business owners and are easily implemented by banks. The Bullock Administration is to be commended for its tremendous efforts in throwing a lifeline to Montana businesses working through their community banks,” said Cary Hegreberg, President/CEO, Montana Bankers Association

The Montana Working Capital program will allow Montana businesses to take out a new loan to be used for payroll, employee benefits, lease or rent, inventory, utilities, and insurance. Utilizing the unused portion of the $125 million allocated to the Montana Loan Deferment program, new borrowers can work through an approved lender to take out a loan with 35 percent of it granted through Coronavirus Relief Funds. The borrower would be responsible for making payments on the remaining 65 percent of the loan. The maximum loan size is $500,000 with a grant of $175,000. The borrower would then be responsible for making payments on the remaining $325,000.

To be eligible, borrowers must have experienced a 15 percent reduction in gross revenue attributed to the direct or indirect impacts of COVID-19. The rates and terms will be determined by the lender and borrower. Like the Montana Loan Deferment program, the new Montana Working Capital program will be run by the Board of Investments, in partnership with Montana banks and credit unions, and will begin accepting loan applications on Tuesday, September 8.

The Montana Loan Deferment program, launched in June, defers payments on existing loans for six to twelve months. Over $36 million has been awarded to over 1,000 Montana businesses to defer $115 million in payments by businesses. For every dollar awarded, Montana businesses receive $3 in direct benefit. The state of Idaho is working to replicate this program for Idaho businesses.

Nearly $1 billion of $1.25 billion in Coronavirus Relief Funds have been allocated with over $372 million of that awarded, including in grants to support nearly 12,000 Montana businesses and organizations. There are new applications being reviewed for accuracy and compliance in accordance with federal guidelines daily and additional funds are awarded daily. A transparency dashboard is available to provide information on which businesses dollars are going to, in every community of the state, at:

Money graphic

Business Stabilization Grant Program Wait List 

The Business Stabilization Grant opened on May 7, 2020 and has since provided $138 million in grant awards to nearly 9,000 small businesses. The grant was designed to be a first-come, first-served program until funding was exhausted.

As of September 2, it is expected that all funding for this program has been awarded or an award is anticipated. New applications have been placed on a waiting list in the event that additional funds become available. If funds become available, applications will be processed in the order they were received.

Circle Finance

DEADLINE APPROACHING: Montana Loan Deferment Program 

The Montana Loan Deferment Program, funded through the Coronavirus Relief Fund, will stop taking applications on September 18, 2020

Applicants must show at least a 15 percent decline in gross revenue as a result of the pandemic. Businesses must apply directly through their lender. For more program details go to COVIDRELIEF.MT.GOV.

Rental home

More Montanans Can Now Qualify for Emergency Rent, Mortgage Payment Assistance

More Montanans may now be eligible for monthly rent and mortgage assistance. The Montana Department of Commerce announced Monday that Montana Housing has made updates to the Emergency Housing Assistance program to help more Montanans access emergency housing assistance.

Program Updates:

  • Montana Housing will pay the difference between 25 percent of the household’s current net monthly income and their eligible housing assistance costs, up to $2,000 a month with a minimum monthly payment of $250. Household income limits range from $75,000-$125,000 based on family size. Montanans receiving other forms of housing assistance are not eligible.
  • The program has eliminated the $10,000 readily available assets limit. 

Emergency Housing Assistance applicants who need assistance with the application can contact NeighborWorks Montana at or by calling 406.604.4500.


Apply here


Transparency Dashboard Updated Weekly


The state of Montana has launched a dynamic dashboard that shows the Coronavirus Relief Fund grants that have been awarded to businesses and nonprofits. This dashboard will be updated weekly until all grant dollars have been expended. 

Funds have now been distributed to all 56 Montana counties. 



  • Montana COVID-19 Hotline: 1-888-333-0461 or 
  • Montana Coronavirus task force: COVID19@MT.GOV
  • If you are a business owner and have questions related to the the phased approach to reopening and how the plan applies to you directly, please call 1-800-755-6672.
  • If your question relates to unemployment insurance/benefits, please contact the Department of Labor and Industry at 406-444-2545. If you think you are eligible for unemployment benefits accessible to workers laid off due to COVID-19, you can apply for benefits online at: or contact the Unemployment Insurance Division over the phone at 406-444-2545.
  • CDC:
  • Visit Montana: VISITMT.COM or 1-800-847-4868



Upcoming Application Deadline


‘It’s Time We Count’ Campaign Aimed at Increasing Montana’s 2020 Census Count in Final Push

It's Time We Count

The Montana Department of Commerce has announced a targeted marketing campaign that is already reaching Montanans in low-response areas of the state to increase Montana’s 2020 Census count. With 28 days left to count residents, the state is making a final push to encourage everyone to respond to the Census before the shortened deadline of September 30.

“This year has brought unique challenges and disruptions to our daily lives,” said Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney, who is the chairman of the Montana Complete Count Committee. “While Montanans continue to cope with a new reality, the Census may not always be top-of-mind. But that doesn’t make it less important, which is why the state is making this last, targeted effort to encourage Montanans to respond to the 2020 Census and shape our state for the next decade.” 

The “It’s Time We Count” campaign is focused on reaching Montanans in low-response areas such as rural counties and tribal nations in Montana to encourage them to respond to the 2020 Census. Through a strategic mix of digital media, out-of-home, newspaper, radio and TV advertising, Missoula-based marketing firm Windfall will target areas where Montanans may not have received Census information in other ways, particularly through the mail. Due to disruptions from COVID-19 and because the U.S. Census Bureau does not mail to P.O. boxes or rural route addresses, as many as one-fourth of Montana households did not receive Census information earlier this spring.

The Commerce Department recently detailed some additional 2020 Census outreach efforts made possible by three other statewide partners through $530,500 in funding allocated by Governor Steve Bullock from the Coronavirus Relief Fund. Those partners, the Montana Nonprofit Association, Western Native Voice and Forward Montana Foundation, are hiring or have hired additional employees to reach Montanans in hard-to-count areas of the state.

While the federal government is tasked with counting all households every 10 years, the state supports the effort to educate and promote the importance of the Census.

An accurate and complete count of all Montanans is critical for determining the federal funding distributed to the state – overall, more than $2 billion from 300 federal programs is allocated back to Montana based on Census information. The Census count is also used to shape local voting and school districts and will determine whether Montana will regain a second seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Montanans who have not yet responded to the 2020 Census can do so by going to MY2020CENSUS.GOV, by calling 1-844-330-2020, or by mailing in their Census form if they received one in the mail