Posted: Feb 19, 2013 9:34 AM by Marnee Banks - MTN News
HELENA - A Billings lawmaker wants the Legislature to look at creating a state-run bank.
State Representative Doug Kary (R) is sponsoring House Bill 474 which creates a nonprofit independent state-run bank.
Kary says his intention was not to create the bank but instead ask the Legislature to study the issue and draft a startup plan.
However the legislation is pretty clear, stating the bill is an, "act creating a state bank of Montana known as the Montana Resources Bank."
"The main function of this resource bank is to provide the banking services for the state and use public funds to partner with local banks to assist in local community economic development activities," Kary testified in the House Business & Labor Committee.
Supporters of the bill say small businesses and farmers need access to capital and this bank could help.
The banking industry rejects the idea, saying there is plenty of money available to lend; banks are just looking for borrowers.
President of the Montana Bankers Association Steve Turkiewicz said there are already several governmental agencies providing access to start up grants and loans for businesses.
"Looking at what the Board of Investments does, 99% of what it does looks like a state bank, or functions like a state bank in terms of providing funds for available for their partners and the private banks in the state of Montana," he said.
On Tuesday, the House Business & Labor Committee will hear another bill that also creates a state-run bank. Democrat Kelly McCarthy (Billings) is carrying that bill.