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July 19, 2018Jul 19, 2018

Business Financing Options 2018

Starting or expanding a business can be challenging and often impossible for those without the right financial partner looking out for you and your business. That’s why many business owners opt for traditional business loan financing through reputable, established lenders to secure the funding they need to hire additional employees, purchase new equipment and expand their operations.

No matter the source or method of your intending funding, the following options have been proven to be tried-and-true options for business owners seeking additional funding. It is essential to educate yourself on these options, which is why we’ve provided a brief breakdown of the most reliable, top seven: SBA loans, microloans, private lending, lines of credit, personal business loans, crowdfunding, and grants.

Small Business Association Loans
There are a bevy of government-backed Small Business Association (SBA) loans available to both current and prospective business owners with little, or no capital. According to, “When traditional business loans under reasonable terms are unavailable the SBA can help eligible small businesses obtain loans from participating SBA lenders.” and financial institutions that provide SBA loans will walk you through the process of what is required to qualify for the government secured loan.

Microloans are short-term loans with relatively low-interest rates often utilized by self-employed individuals and new start-ups with minimal capital requirements. While many financial institutions and online lending sources offer microloans, the SBA-backed business loan programs also offer these loans ranging from $500-$50,000.

Private Lending
Whether from friends, family, or business acquaintances, securing funding from private sources carries more risk but may offer better terms depending on your history and relationship with these groups or individuals. Private financing is more and more common in these days of venture capitalists and private equity firms, but you’ll want to investigate the loan options carefully should an offer come forward.

Credit Cards and Lines of Credit
For most Americans, credit cards have increasingly become a security blanket for business owners in need of emergency funds or short-term financing for purchases. Depending on your credit score and history, your ability to borrow and secure lines of credit through traditional financial institutions can vary. If your credit history is poor, you may be limited to using secured credit cards, which typically carry higher fees than conventional credit cards. When comparing interest rates of credit cards to a line of credit, the line of credit will usually have a lower interest rate than a credit card which means using caution when you’re purchasing with plastic.

Personal Business Loans
Though an increasingly attractive and popular option for new or first-time business owners seeking financing, personal business loans are difficult to secure without strong personal credit and proven business income. They are a convenient option for businesses who don’t qualify for an SBA-backed loan or need additionally funding that the government secured loan standard cap of $50,000. However, for those seeking a small amount of money to purchase equipment or develop an early-stage strategy or initial hiring process, they’re an attractive option for qualified borrowers.

This is perhaps the most difficult and least-reliable form of funding available today. Despite some successful products and services launched via platforms like Indiegogo and Kickstarter, there’s no tried and true recipe for success on crowdfunding platforms. In fact, the average Kickstarter campaign only raises about $7,000 and lasts nine weeks — do these numbers sound like they can support the sustainability of your business ideas? While traditional business models don’t often correlate to the crowdfunding world, if anything, it is a good way for inspired entrepreneurs looking to test their market and see what a public response to a crazy idea might be.

There is no shortage of privately and publicly-funded small business grants throughout the US. Some people choose locally-oriented groups that provide information on small business grant funding, like Prospera Business Network located in Bozeman, Montana which also includes bridge loan financing. Others may fall into the category of statewide, regional, or national programs. If you’re a member of the U.S. military, you have additional financing options available to you through small business grants oriented at veteran-owned companies. Check with your local small business administration office or community development program to see what options are available in your area.

Whatever your company’s future plan is, it doesn’t hurt to discuss your business loan options with a dedicated, community-oriented lending partner. It’s a good idea to do some prep work before reaching out to your local bank, such as cleaning up your credit report, finalizing your business plans, looking for personal collateral options to guarantee your loan, and most importantly, be prepared to invest your time and resources into your business. To learn more about Bank of Bozeman’s business lending options or to speak with a small business lending professional, contact us to schedule an appointment or stop by the branch today.

June 8, 2018Jun 8, 2018

7 Things to Do Before Applying for a Mortgage

Buying a house is a major endeavor. To ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible, here are a few things you need to do to prepare to apply for a mortgage.

If you’re at the stage of your life where you’re considering buying a home, you’ll need to secure a mortgage to make your payments affordable and reasonable over the next few decades. A mortgage is a considerable loan and perhaps the biggest financial hurdle you’ll ever undertake, and due to the size and complexities of applying for one, you’ll need to prepare your financial situation and take a few key steps leading up to the application itself.

1. Monitor Your Credit Score
Likely the most important determining factor for lenders is a potential borrower’s credit score and history. A lower credit score can impact the amount a lender is willing to give you in addition to the interest rate you’ll pay over the duration of the home loan. Checking your credit score with the three major credit bureaus (TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian) before applying is highly recommended.

2. Check for Errors in Your Credit Reports
In addition to checking your score and taking steps to improve it, you’ll want to check for any errors or discrepancies in these reports and check for signs of failed payments, incorrect transactions, and signs of potential identity theft.

3. Settle Any Debts or Delinquent Accounts
If you’re sitting on a large amount of debt from credit cards, vehicle loans, or student loans, you may have a more difficult time applying for a home mortgage. Before you set aside money for a down payment, consider reallocating those assets toward reducing your debt and delinquent accounts.

4. Reduce Your Debt-to-Income Ratio
One thing lenders look for in a borrower are their monthly gross income and ability to make a mortgage payment reliably and consistently. Loan risk professionals consider debt-to-income ratios a crucial factor in whether your loan is approved or not, so trying to reduce that number to 43% or less should be a priority.

5. Don’t Apply for More Credit for at Least One Year
Applying for increased lines of credit, new credit cards, vehicle, personal, or student loans can have a negative impact on your credit score. To avoid a disappointing result during the mortgage application process, don’t apply for any new forms of credit while you’re saving for a down payment.

6. Save, Save, Save
Once you start thinking about the home-buying process, you’ll want to begin saving your extra income toward the down payment. A larger down payment may help reduce your interest rates and improve your chances for qualification, so working toward a larger lump payment at the beginning will only help.

7. Get Pre-Approved
If you have your financial house in order, you can help streamline the home-buying process by getting pre-approved for a mortgage loan and lock in your interest rate. This shows home sellers that you’re serious, qualified, and ready to close on a home, making you more attractive as a potential buyer.

If you’re planning to buy a home and need help getting started, contact Desiree Smith to learn more about the mortgage application process and discuss your plans to become a homeowner.
May 14, 2018May 14, 2018

5 Important Steps to Successfully Securing a Vehicle Loan

Here’s what you need to know before applying for a vehicle loan.
Of all the iconic and memorable moments throughout your life, there’s nothing like the first time you get your own set of wheels. Whether it happened when you were a teenager or later into your formative years, experiencing the sense of freedom and exploration that comes with owning your very own car is unmatched - except, perhaps, getting behind the wheel of your second or third (and hopefully, considerably more impressive and reliable) vehicles.

Upgrading your ride is a major endeavor that requires a lot of research, test drives, and finding the right fit and feel for your style of driving. But in these economic times, there’s one factor that seems to compete above all else: securing the financing to purchase the vehicle itself.

As with any loan, line of credit, or financing agreement, you’ll need to qualify in the eyes of a lender before you can take the keys and roll your new car off the lot. In order to put your best foot forward, here are some tips to consider before you head to a dealership:

1. Set Some Boundaries
This is one of the most obvious steps, but one that can easily get away from car buyers in a hurry. With persistent advertising that suggests zero or little obligation incentives to sell cars, unwary car buyers can get swept up into a sales pitch and walk away with a staggering monthly payment. By taking your finances into consideration, doing your research on fair pricing for your vehicles of choice, and setting a monthly payment limit will go a long way to helping you get into your next car without winding up hurting your financial situation in the long term.

2. Check Your Credit - and Make Improvements
Having a solid credit score will go a long way toward any form of financing, but there’s always room to improve. As long as you’re paying your bills on time, settling any debts, and avoiding penalties, you should be in solid shape to apply for a vehicle loan. But if you’ve had trouble with your credit history in the past, you should take steps to improve your credit before applying for a vehicle loan or line of credit.

3. Research Your Financing Options
There are two primary choices commonly used to secure financing toward a new vehicle: direct lender financing or dealership financing.

Direct lender financing involves securing a loan directly from a bank, financing company, or a credit union. This is considered the best option for most car buyers, as it allows you the option to compare interest rates between lenders, not just the typically ironclad rates offered by a dealership. It’ll also arm you with the ability to shop around without worrying how you’ll afford the purchase, as your interest rate and loan itself will be locked in while you’re making your decision.

Dealership financing is offered through the dealership itself without the help of an outside financier. This is a convenient option, as you’ll be working with the same company throughout the process, but it keeps you from shopping around for the best available rates. This can cost you inflated interest payments over the lifetime of your car loan.

4. Save for a Healthy Down Payment
Many dealers offer no down payment options for those with excellent credit, but no matter your credit score or history, it’s in your best interest to put as much money down upfront as possible. Not only will this decrease your monthly payments over the life of the loan, it’ll help you avoid settling the overall cost of the loan should you need to sell it before it’s paid off.

5. Get Pre Approved
Before you ever set foot on a car lot, you should research and compare the terms of various loans and get approved before you go shopping. While this won’t be an option if you’re considering financing through a dealership, getting pre approved for a vehicle loan before you go shopping will help expedite the process should you find the right vehicle for the right price and don’t want to delay the purchase.

If you’re interested in stepping up to a new car, truck, or SUV in 2018, consider a vehicle loan from your trusted, local lender — Bank of Bozeman. Our staff has the expertise necessary to ensure you get the right loan for your budget. Come by the bank or contact us today to make an appointment with one of our lenders.
April 19, 2018Apr 19, 2018

Do You Know the Difference Between a Roth IRA and a Traditional IRA?

When preparing for retirement, the general rule of thumb is to plan far ahead - even if retirement doesn’t seem remotely feasible to your current situation.

There are two major types of individual retirement accounts (IRAs) that are offered at Bank of Bozeman: traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs. Let’s define both accounts.
  • Traditional IRAs - A traditional individual retirement account allows people to contribute to investments without tax penalty until that money is withdrawn. Investment professionals typically recommend a traditional IRA to those who expect to have a lower tax rate after retirement than it is right now.
  • Roth IRAs - Roth IRAs are retirement plans in which the contributions made are included on your taxes, meaning you can’t deduct any contributions on income taxes. The upside is that future withdrawals (pre or post-retirement) are tax-free. If you expect your tax rate to be higher post-retirement than your current rate, a Roth IRA might be for you.
Although a brief explanation, IRS requirements for investment savings accounts usually necessitate a bit more planning and careful navigation of tax code in order to keep on the straight and narrow and to avoid unintended penalties, both now and post-retirement. Before you call up your financial institution of choice and inquire about an IRA, let’s go into more depth into the differences:

When a Roth IRA Might be Right for You
If you’re in a low tax bracket (anything in the low 20th percentile or below), you’re likely either in the early stages of your career or have recently changed careers and a Roth IRA might be the right choice. This is because withdrawals from Roth IRAs aren’t subject to income tax, allowing you to take money from the account without tax penalty in the event of a financial emergency. But once you retire, you’ll be able to draw income from those accounts without paying Uncle Sam even if your tax rate has gone up.

When a Traditional IRA Might be Right for You
If you’re close to retirement age or are in a higher income tax bracket, a traditional IRA allows you to take a tax deduction to maximize your income from a retirement savings account. Once a person reaches retirement age, they tend to move to a lower tax bracket due to moving to a lower-paying job, a part-time employment status, or drawing income from other sources (such as other savings, investment, or pension accounts). Though withdrawals from traditional IRAs are taxable as income once you reach 59 ½ years of age, you’ll save during tax season due to your lower income tax bracket during retirement.

Our investment professionals here at Bank of Bozeman are here to help with all of your retirement preparation questions and concerns. Committed to serving the community with local investments that stay right here in Gallatin County, we can help guide you through the differences between Roth IRAs and traditional IRAs no matter what stage of life you’re in. Contact us today to schedule an appointment or visit us right here in Bozeman to learn more.

April 5, 2018Apr 5, 2018

Success Story, The Risings

We are the right financial partner for Dr. Dustin Rising, and his wife, Dr. Rachel Rising.

The Risings are owners of a few successful Bozeman businesses, and proud parents to their three children. The Risings provide exceptional chiropractic services at Gallatin Valley Chiropractic. Dr. Dustin provides chiropractic care and wellness advice as a regular contributor to, one of the top 10 most-visited websites for women. Dr, Rachel is also the owner of Baby Logic, a boutique baby store in the Gallatin Valley Mall in Bozeman. The Risings proudly support local initiatives in the Gallatin Valley, such as Big Brothers Big Sisters. They are members of the Montana Chiropractic Association and the Bozeman Area Chamber of Commerce. 

Bank of Bozeman has been an incredible bank to work with, in every aspect of their banking. I have had several banks that I have worked with in the past from local banks, to national megabanks, and Bank of Bozeman has been by far the best experience I have ever had. My experience is that they are incredibly friendly and approachable the second you walk into the bank. Everyone wears a smile on their face, and welcomes me by name, while inquiring about my day. The bankers are incredible, and are always able to get you in very quickly which is a great relief compared to the long wait time at other banks. of Bozeman provides the full relationship, from your personal banking needs, to loan services, and are my trusted financial partner for all of my businesses.I have recommended them to friends, coworkers, and patients of mine, and will continue to do so in the future. Thank you so much for all of your help Bank of Bozeman, I appreciate everything you do for me!
Dustin Rising, D.C.

They've partnered on construction loans, lines of credit, and three business operating accounts. The Risings also own Risbro Venture Capital, LLC, and RIA Enterprise, LLC.