CASS LAKE, MN – Leech Lake Financial Services was approved by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) to be a lender for its Small Business Emergency Loan (SBEL) program. DEED has established a loan program to assist small businesses directly and adversely affected and whose industry is named in Executive Orders 20-04 and 20-08 following the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Small businesses are a vital part of Leech Lake’s economy and this program provides a source of interest-free working capital to help businesses sustain operations during this challenging time,” said Rob Aitken, LLFS Executive Director. “We are grateful for this opportunity to help our local businesses get through this pandemic.”

The interest-free loans range from $2,500 to $35,000 and will be based on the firm’s economic injury and the financial need. SBEL loans are paid back monthly over five (5) years and the first payment will be deferred six (6) months. Partial forgiveness may be available. For more information, visit

Leech Lake Financial Services has been lending since 2012 and has made over 1700 affordable business and consumer loans totaling over $3M. It also provides pre and post-loan technical assistance with financial coaching, credit building and financial skills training available for clients.

Leech Lake area businesses including those in the cities of Cass Lake, Bemidji, Blackduck, Walker, Deer River and Grand Rapids should apply directly through Leech Lake Financial Services by contacting Rob Aitken by phone at 218-766-1178 or by email at The SBEL program is still being developed and loans will be available soon.



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