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Banks See High Demand for Loans and Refinancing

Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic began closing businesses and lowering interest rates, banks in the Flathead Valley are reporting high numbers of phone calls, loan applications and mortgage refinances. Banks have seen a lot of activity through the Small Business Administration’s $349 billion federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which authorizes forgivable loans to small businesses Read More…

Nearly 3 million borrowers have been granted mortgage relief, and the industry is crying for help

More than 2.9 million homeowners have taken advantage of a program designed to provide relief to holders of government-backed mortgages, part of the coronavirus CARES Act relief package. This represents 5.5% of all active mortgages, according to Black Knight, a mortgage data and analytics company that is now tracking the growing numbers daily. The program Read More…

The Trump administration paid a bankrupt company with zero employees $55 million for N95 masks, which it’s never manufactured

The coronavirus pandemic has created a desperate clamber for vital medical supplies, like N95 masks, that has led the federal government to award massive contracts to third-party vendors to help fill the gaps. In this chaotic effort to obtain supplies, the Trump administration awarded a $55 million contract to Panthera Worldwide LLC, a company with Read More…

WeWork board sues SoftBank over withdrawal to buy $3 billion worth of shares

A special committee of WeWork’s board is suing SoftBank after SoftBank withdrew its $3 billion tender offer, the company announced Tuesday. WeWork is claiming that SoftBank breached its obligations under their agreement. SoftBank originally made the tender offer to buy shares of WeWork at an agreed upon price last year as part of a package to bail out Read More…

From chew toys to medical masks: Montana’s hardest hit county fights back against coronavirus

Bozeman, Montana has a population of 48,532, but just like big cities in New York and California, this small city in the southern part of the state has seen the demand for medical masks skyrocket. Located in Gallatin County, Bozeman is home to more than one third of Montana’s confirmed COVID-19 cases, and is by far the hardest hit county in Read More…

Work starts in Montana on disputed Canada-US oil pipeline

BILLINGS, Mont. — A Canadian company said Monday that it’s started construction on the long-stalled Keystone XL oil sands pipeline across the U.S.-Canada border despite calls from tribal leaders and environmentalists to delay the $8 billion project amid the coronavirus pandemic. A spokesman for TC Energy said work began over the weekend at the border crossing Read More…

More than 6 million unemployment claims were made last week, Labor Department says

Unemployment claims have spiked to 6.65 million across the country, the Department of Labor said in a press release on Thursday. Unemployment claims have doubled since last week when the Labor Department reported that about 3 million people were seeking unemployment. That figure was already by far the highest number of unemployment claims the department had ever seen. READ Read More…

KOA seeing nationwide cancellations of campgrounds because of coronavirus

Kampgrounds of America (KOA) finds itself on the front lines dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak. Not only has the coronavirus forced the company’s Billings headquarters into a “work-from-home operation”, but KOA’s network of campgrounds nationwide are front and center as the country fights back against the virus. President and CEO Toby O’Rourke took to the Read More…

Billings Shiloh Crossing restaurants see less weekend customers after stay at home directive

BILLINGS — Billings restaurants in the Shiloh Crossing shopping complex are seeing up to a 50 percent loss of sales Saturday following Governor Steve Bullock’s directive to stay at home. “As you can see, around the parking lot, it’s been dead. Our revenue has been cut in half. It’s just been me and my manager doing everything since Read More…

Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes to face trial separate from ex-lover

Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes will head to trial apart from fellow C-suite exec and one-time lover, Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, according to a report. Holmes, who served as the company’s CEO, will head to trial starting Aug. 4 with a separate jury from Balwani, who will be tried following the conclusion of Holmes’ case, Bloomberg reported. The judge did not provide any Read More…

SoftBank strategy shifts from long-term domination to short-term survival as Vision Fund prepares for global downturn

About 10 years ago, SoftBank released a slideshow presentation on the company’s 300-year plan. “Unknown virus” got one reference, on slide 69 of 133. Perhaps coronavirus will just be a blip in the company’s long-term plan for world domination. Perhaps SoftBank’s vision of investing in artificial intelligence and other dominant technology companies will pay off in the long run, Read More…

Missoula business owners take precautions before government regulations

MISSOULA, Mont. — On Monday, Missoula City-County Health officials announced an order closing bars and limiting restaurant service starting at 8 a.m. Tuesday through 8 a.m. Tuesday, March 24. The health department is doing this to follow guidelines set out by the Centers for Disease Control. “It’s not just about money, it’s really about the ethics Read More…

Billings-area electric co-op rates compare well, at average usage, CEO says

Residential electric rates for one of Montana’s largest rural cooperatives compare well to NorthWestern Energy, when measured at the co-op customers’ average usage, says the co-op’s CEO. “We compete very well, actually,” Yellowstone Valley Electric Co-op CEO Brandon Wittman told MTN News. “So, is it fair to compare? It is, at the correct usage.” In Read More…

Commerce announces Montana Main Street Program

The Montana Department of Commerce announced that five Montana communities have been accepted to become affiliate members of the Montana Main Street Program. The program helps Montana communities strengthen and preserve historic downtown commercial districts by supporting economic development, urban revitalization and historic preservation through long-range planning, organization, design and promotion. “The Department of Commerce Read More…

KALISPELL TECH COMPANY ‘HIRING LIKE CRAZY’

This year, WaterStreet Company is celebrating its 20th year of business in the Flathead Valley. The Kalispell technology company has quietly grown to include 80 local employees and software clients across the country. In 2020, they expect to eclipse the 100 employee mark. “We’re hiring like crazy,” said WaterStreet’s Vice President of Marketing Erica Schatte. Read More…

Warren Buffett sold more than $800 million worth of Apple stock last quarter

Warren Buffett sold more than $800 million worth of Apple stock last quarter, according to SEC filings published on Friday. That might seem like a massive sale, but it’s closer to a rounding error for the billionaire investor and Berkshire Hathaway CEO. Berkshire is Apple’s biggest shareholder with a 5.4% stake worth $72 billion, according to Bloomberg data. Read More…

9 Montana Communities Awarded Main Street Program Grants

HELENA, Mont. – Nine Montana communities will share $118,000 through the Montana Main Street Program to support historic preservation, wayfinding, and revitalization plans for their downtowns. “Montana’s vibrant and charming towns are what attracts visitors, keeps residents and encourages downtown business growth,” Montana Department of Commerce Director Tara Rice said. “These Montana Main Street Program grant dollars Read More…

University of Montana economists tout Billings economy during stop

BILLINGS — Economists with the University of Montana touted Billings’ economic health during a Tuesday luncheon at the Northern Hotel. Patrick Barkey, the University of Montana Bureau of Business and Economic Research director, said Billings has had good construction activity, a healthy real estate sector and financial institutions that are doing well. “Billings is the Read More…

Kobe Bryant left huge impact on business off the court

NBA legend Kobe Bryant, 41, died in a helicopter crash on Sunday morning in Calabasas, Calif., along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office confirmed. Seven other people were on board Bryant’s helicopter and were all killed in the tragic accident. Bryant’s impact on basketball is obvious: five-time NBA champion; two-time NBA Finals MVP; league Read More…

Berkadia Secures $30M for MF in Montana

Berkadia secured $30.3 million in financing for Talus Apartments, a 288-unit garden-style multifamily community in Great Falls, MT. Seattle-based Investors Capital Group, LLC, was the borrower. The 10-year Freddie Mac loan features a full-leverage loan with partial-term interest-only. Located at 2100 26th St. S, the community was constructed in two phases from 2015 to 2018. Read More…

‘An earthquake’: The deal that changed Montana’s insurance market

Two decades ago, four Montana hospitals tried something new. They bankrolled a company to compete with the most powerful insurer in the state. The hospitals wanted to challenge what they described as Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana’s “dominating presence.” So they founded insurer New West Health Services in 1998 to cover hospital employees and Read More…