Programs

Stand-Alone Bond Financings

The Authority typically issues bonds on a stand-alone basis. "Stand-alone" refers to the fact that the transaction is structured for one borrower at a time. Stand-alone bond issues can be structured with fixed or variable interest rates and with or without credit enhancement and/or ratings. For example, a bond issue may be enhanced by municipal bond insurance or a letter of credit if the benefits achieved will offset the additional cost of the enhancement premium. Bonds issued with variable interest rates traditionally require credit enhancement and liquidity agreements in the form of a bank letter of credit or municipal bond insurance.

Bond issues can be sold with or without a rating from one or more of the three primary rating services.  When it is not cost effective to secure a rating, or when a rating is not available, the Authority may issue non-rated bonds.

The Authority's stand-alone financing programs can be completed using several different methods of sale. For large projects, a public offering of bonds is the most commonly used option.  For smaller projects, the private placement of bonds is the most common approach.

Public Sale

A negotiated public sale of bonds is appropriate for sales of complex financing structures, large issue size, variable rate bonds, those with programs or financial techniques that are new to investors, or is offered under volatile market conditions. To complete a negotiated issue, a managing underwriter, approved by the Authority, is selected to work with other members of the financing team to establish contractual terms, obtain credit ratings and enhancement, if available and cost effective, and to structure a repayment schedule for the issue. The managing underwriter tests the interest rates and bond structure in the bond marketplace during the marketing of the bonds.

Private Placement

A private placement is considered for issues in which a public sale is either too expensive (e.g. smaller dollar volume) or likely to be ineffective (e.g. a borrower with a complicated history that requires direct contact with investors). To complete a private placement, the financing team structures the financing, develops a credit package and then drafts documents, which are distributed to the interested investors. Either a private placement agent is appointed to work on the transaction or, if requested by the borrower, the Authority will consider directly placing the bonds with a specified investor. The borrower, with the assistance of a placement agent or the Authority, negotiates the lowest interest cost and covenant requirements. Recent federal legislation revised laws that allow local community banks to purchase bonds at favorable rates.

Loan Process

The Stand-Alone Program requires the borrower to send correspondence to the Authority describing the project and requesting an application. Once the application is completed, the staff will present it to the Authority Board for approval.

Direct Loan Program

The Authority will make direct loans applicable to the credit of the borrower, the type of financing, and the term of the loan. Eligible projects include construction and renovation, facility acquisition, refinancing of qualified outstanding debt, the purchase of equipment and financing costs.

Interest rates

5-Year Term

  • US Treasury 5-year note rate plus 0.15%, or 2.00% whichever is greater.
  • Current rate of 2.00% effective 9/17/2021

7-Year Term

  • US Treasury 7-year note rate plus 0.20%, or 2.15% whichever is greater.
  • Current rate of 2.15% effective 9/17/2021

10-Year Term (refinancing or tied with Trust Fund Loan projects only)

  • US Treasury 10-year note rate plus 0.30%, or 2.25% whichever is greater.
  • Current rate of 2.25% effective 9/17/2021

Expedited Loan Process

  • Submit a letter of application and copies of 3 past year financials
  • Loans processed in 60 days or less
  • Staff drafts loan documents
  • Closing will occur through the mail
General Loan Terms
  • Minimum Loan Size: $5,000
  • Maximum Loan Size: $300,000 for new projects; $500,000 for refinancing projects
  • Loan term of up to seven years for new projects; 10-years for refinancing projects
  • Collateral is required
  • General Loan Guidelines
  • Loans provided on a first-come-first served basis
  • Monthly electronic payments
  • Positive net/worth fund balance

Fees

  • 1% origination fee
  • Borrower out-of-pocket expenses, as applicable


Master Loan Program

The Master Loan Program enables qualified borrowers to access the tax-exempt capital markets at investment grade interest rates. Documents are standardized and bonds can be marketed for more than one borrower at a time, reducing the costs of issuance for each.

Program Structure

  • Loans tailored to meet the Borrower's current and future capital financing needs
  • Credit support provided by the Montana Board of Investments results in a lower interest rate
  • Terms of up to 20 years
  • Bonds marketed for a single borrower or a group of borrowers with each borrower responsible only for its own series of bonds
  • Capitalized interest funding is available during the construction period
Benefits
  • Investment grade bond interest rates have historically provided a lower cost of capital
  • Issuance costs are shared by all borrowers and are therefore kept to a minimum
  • Construction escrow accounts can be created, eliminating the need and cost for interim construction financing
General Loan Guidelines
  • Days cash on hand > 42
  • Days in accounts receivable < 62
  • Current ratio > 1.5
  • Operating margin > 0.5%
  • Debt to capitalization < 67%
  • Debt service coverage ratio > 1.35 for the two prior fiscal years and forward, including additional debt service 

Eligible Projects

  • Equipment purchases
  • Reimbursement of capital expenditures made during current fiscal year, as approved by bond counsel
  • New facility construction
  • Renovation of existing facilities
  • Refundings or refinancing of outstanding debt

Board of Investments Enhancement Fee

A fee schedule has been established taking into consideration the duration of the enhancement, the structure of the bond issue, and the organizational entity (governmental or not-for-profit). That fee is paid to the Montana Board of Investments when the bond issue is closed and has averaged between 115-135 basis points (1.15% - 1.35%) of the principal amount of the bond issue.

Loan Process

The Master Loan Program is an attractive financing vehicle for your particular project and requires the borrower to send correspondence to the Authority describing the project and requesting an application. Once the application is completed, the Authority Staff will present it to the Authority Board and to the Montana Board of Investments for approval. Staff will provide additional information or clarification on the process.

Trust Fund Loan Program

Loans from the Trust Fund Loan Program (TFLP) are made from the Permanent Coal Tax Trust Fund managed by the Montana Board of Investments. Short and long term loans are both available under this program as they are applicable to credit of the borrower, the type of financing, and the term of the loan. Authority Board approval is required.

General Loan Terms

  • Minimum loan size: $250,000
  • Maximum loan size: $1,500,000
  • Five years for equipment
  • Twenty years for real estate
  • Take out loan available for bank financed construction loans
General Loan Guidelines
  • Current ratio > 1.50
  • Debt service coverage > 1.35
  • Days cash on hand > 42
  • 20% equity preferred
  • Operating margin > 0.5%
Fees
  • Origination fee: 1%
  • Borrower out-of-pocket expenses include borrower attorney, recording fees, etc.
  • Monthly loan service fee: 50 basis points.
  • Appraisal and environmental audit fees for real estate loans.
Interest Rates
  • Interest may be locked in for a 12 month period with receipt of 50% of origination fee (contingent on Authority Board approval).
  • Trust Fund Loans are based upon the prior monthly average of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines ("FHLB") Fixed Advance Rate for the respective loan terms.
    5-Year Term
5-year
  • FHLB Advance rate plus 0.60%, or 2.25% whichever is greater.
  • Current rate of 2.25% effective 8/31/2021

7-Year Term

  • 7-year FHLB Advance rate plus 0.60%, or 2.50% whichever is greater.
  • Current rate of 2.50% effective 8/31/2021

10-Year Term

  • 10-year FHLB Advance rate plus 0.65%, or 2.75% whichever is greater.
  • Current rate of 2.75% effective 8/31/2021

15-Year Term

  • 15-year FHLB Advance rate plus 0.65%, or 3.00% whichever is greater.
  • Current rate of 3.01% effective 8/31/2021
20-Year Term
  • 20-year FHLB Advance rate plus 0.70%, or 3.25% whichever is greater.
  • Current rate of 3.44% effective 8/31/2021

Expedited Loan Process

Usually these loans can be processed in 60 days or less. Documents generally consist of a loan agreement and a security agreement. Contact the Authority for application. Staff may approve the loan, or present to the Authority Board for consideration. The Authority staff will draft the loan documents and the closing will occur through the mail.



Montana Capital Assistance Program

The purpose of the Montana Capital Assistance Program ("MCAP") is to assist Critical Access Hospitals (CAH), small rural hospitals (those with less than 50 beds), or other eligible health care facilities with the development of a Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) to assess the feasibility of proposed capital expenditures. The Montana Facility Finance Authority provides funding for this program which is administered by the Montana Health Research and Education Foundation, the 501 (c)(3) organization of MHA, an Association of Montana Health Care Providers.

MCAP services available through the Foundation are designed to assist a facility in developing a CIP for presentation to various lenders, including the Authority, for financing. The Authority has financing programs tailored for specific facilities based upon their creditworthiness and the nature of their capital improvements.

Eligibility

The following hospitals and health care facilities are eligible to apply for and receive MCAP assistance:

  • Montana hospitals that have been certified as a Critical Access Hospital (CAH)
  • Montana hospitals located in a rural area of Montana with less than 50 licensed hospital beds
  • Health care clinics located in a rural area of Montana with no hospital services and that are located at least 25 miles from a licensed hospital
  • Must show financial need for grant assistance (excess revenues over expenses of less than $1,000,000 in the three years prior to application)
  • Prior to submission of the MCAP Site Application, the applicant's governing body must have formally approved pursuing a Capital Improvement Plan either by resolution or motion.

Application Process

An eligible hospital interested in obtaining technical assistance through MCAP should obtain a Site Application by writing or calling Victoria Cech, Foundation Director; Montana Health Research and Education Foundation; P.O. Box 5119; Helena, MT 59604; phone: 406-457-8015.

MCAP Services

MCAP provides technical assistance support in four areas – Scope of Service Review, Facility Master Plan, Capital Financing Plan and Legal Assistance. Approved technical assistance projects must be completed within 12 months of MCAP award.

  • Scope of Service Review assists a facility in determining the gaps and overlaps in their community’s services, in evaluating future service demands and more fully developing pertinent services.
  • Facility Master Plan, a critical step in the development of a facility’s CIP, includes an inventory and evaluation of existing conditions of the facility and prioritization of improvement/renovation/new construction needs.
  • Capital Financing Plan includes identifying financing options, establishing a time schedule that integrates the funding with the proposed capital expenditure and developing a brief written document that is formally adopted by the governing body.
  • Legal Assistance aids an eligible facility in offsetting attorney expenses in developing a capital financing proposal.

Costs

Each eligible hospital or health care facility may apply for up to $15,000 in MCAP funding for assistance with Scope of Service Review, Facility Master Plan, Capital Financing Plan, and/or Legal Assistance. Approved applications require a 20% cash match from the facility. MCAP is a reimbursement program. After the project has been completed and all pertinent invoices have been paid by the facility, MCAP will reimburse the facility 80% of the costs of the project, up to a maximum of $15,000. Once the maximum award is reached, eligible facilities may not reapply for MCAP funding for five years.

Due to limited funds under this program ($60,000 each fiscal year, July 1-June 30) the MFFA reserves the right to deny applications if sufficient need is not shown. Technical assistance is provided through consultants selected by the facility and approved by the Foundation.