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Understanding SBA Loans

 
 
 

The SBA (Small Business Administration) backs loans, they don’t lend money. Understanding a little more about loans backed by the Small Business Administration can help you decide whether they’re right for your business.

The SBA does not engage in direct lending

The SBA offers a variety of loan programs for very specific purposes. When you apply for an SBA loan, though, you do so through a bank, not through the SBA itself. While the bank is providing the actual loan, the SBA is guaranteeing a portion of that loan. In effect, the SBA is serving as a co-signer, which in turn helps banks provide more flexible terms to borrowers.

Not all banks offer the same SBA programs

The SBA has several loan programs, including 7(a) for general small business loans, 504 for real estate and equipment, microloans and disaster loans. An SBA loan must first be approved by the issuing bank, which may choose which programs to offer. Also, the lending requirements for any given SBA loan may vary from bank to bank, depending on specific bank policies.

SBA loan programs are not just for new businesses

The SBA has several loan programs, including 7(a) for general small business loans, 504 for real estate and equipment, microloans and disaster loans. An SBA loan must first be approved by the issuing bank, which may choose which programs to offer. Also, the lending requirements for any given SBA loan may vary from bank to bank, depending on specific bank policies.

An SBA loan means additional paperwork

Applying for an SBA loan means you need to provide paperwork to both the bank and the SBA. In addition to the documentation a bank will typically require, the SBA requirements (some of which may also be bank requirements) typically include an SBA loan application, a business plan, a personal financial statement, 3 years of business financial statements, 3 years of federal business tax returns, a one-year cash flow projection, information about all owners and an explanation of how a loan will help the business; and a copy of the business lease or proposed terms. By the way, that’s not a complete list; other documentation and information may be requested.

You can get better terms with an SBA loan

SBA loans are designed to help borrowers who may not meet the lending standards set by most banks. These can include issues such as a recent change in business ownership, a shortfall in collateral to secure the loan, business principals who have a low net worth or the need for extended payment terms.

 
 
 

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