Tester urges CEOs of nation’s largest banks on access to capital in rural America

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Senator stresses importance of brick-and-mortar banks in Montana

US Senator Jon Tester has urged the CEOs of America’s largest banks on their commitment to providing in-person banking services in Montana and throughout rural America. With older, rural households more likely to visit branches in person than other demographics, branch closures have had a disproportionate impact on rural communities and small businesses in Montana.

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

“As you know better than anyone, access to capital is critically important for business expansion, employment and economic growth,” said the tester. “Even a few years ago, in my small town of 600 people, a bank – one of your banks, actually – decided to withdraw… This potential withdrawal and access to a brick and mortar facility would have could really raise issues with my small town where post offices are still important and schools are still important and banks are still important.

The tester asked: “Are you engaged in brick and mortar installations in rural America and if not, why not?”

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

Tester was specifically honored by the NFIB for his support of the 2021 Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and for voting in favor of enhanced base protection in the fiscal year 2021 budget, among other key votes.

Last July, Tester secured $61,327,969 for the State of Montana Small Business Credit Initiative through the US Bailout 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 rejected a proposal by President Biden and Democratic senators to change the hardened-base tax provisions that would have negatively impacted a family’s ability to continue running a farm, ranch, or a little company.

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