Montana Code Annotated 2015

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     90-1-144. Financial assistance center -- department responsibilities. (1) There is a financial assistance center within the department of commerce.
     (2) The center shall:
     (a) compile and include a comprehensive list of all state financial assistance programs, including but not limited to:
     (i) eligible recipients;
     (ii) conditions required for an award of a loan or grant;
     (iii) limits on the amount of funds available;
     (iv) application information; and
     (v) lending or granting cycles;
     (b) maintain and provide information related to nonstate loan and grant programs by cooperating and coordinating with federal loan and grant programs, commercial lenders, and nonprofit economic development lending organizations; and
     (c) provide regular opportunities for financial institutions, loan and grant applicants, local economic development organizations, business enterprises, and other federal, state, and local governmental entities to review the center and provide advice and recommendations regarding the expansion or modification of the center.
     (3) The department shall:
     (a) develop an internet website specifically designed to assist loan and grant applicants in gathering information. The website must, at a minimum, contain the following features:
     (i) a prominently placed world wide web link representing the financial assistance programs that allows for multiple methods for website navigation;
     (ii) a comprehensive list of the types of loans and grants available from the state, outlined by agency, subject, area, or speciality; and
     (iii) an agency-specific loan and grant list with appropriate links to personnel responsible for administering the program;
     (b) cooperate with the office of the secretary of state to ensure that rules governing electronic transactions, digital signatures, and digital notary can be applied to electronic loan and grant applications;
     (c) provide direct and individual service to interested applicants to ensure that:
     (i) adequate information regarding eligibility requirements for financial assistance is received and understood;
     (ii) contacts and appointments are made with the various state agencies administering financial assistance programs;
     (iii) technical and professional assistance is provided to facilitate the accurate and timely completion of business feasibility plans and financial assistance applications; and
     (iv) periodic updates are provided to applicants regarding the status of financial assistance applications and new or emerging financial assistance opportunities;
     (d) develop a marketing plan to provide information about the center to individuals, commercial financial institutions, local economic development organizations, business enterprises, and local governments;
     (e) coordinate with the department of revenue to provide:
     (i) information related to applicable business licensing and registration requirements; and
     (ii) relevant information related to tax credits and tax incentive programs for economic development activities;
     (f) collect and maintain a supply of loan and grant application forms and information for all state loans and grants and actively assist interested applicants in answering application questions;
     (g) collect and maintain a master list of state loan opportunities by type of loan, eligibility requirements, lending cycles, and availability; and
     (h) review rules, application forms and processes, and lending cycles of loan and grant programs administered by other state agencies and make recommendations to those agencies related to the development of uniform loan and grant requirements.
     (4) The department may gather and disseminate information related to nonstate loan sources and perform other administrative tasks delegated to the department to improve state lending processes and loan and grant program administration.

     History: En. Sec. 4, Ch. 307, L. 2001.

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