Top 10 SBA Lenders for Your Small Business Loans


Top 10 SBA Lenders for Your Small Business Loans

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Getting funds at the right time is critical for many growing businesses. Whether you’re just starting out, breaking into new markets, developing products or expanding your workforce, a business loan or grant can provide the capital you need.

One good option is to choose a loan backed by the Small Business Administration (SBA). The SBA is a U.S. government agency dedicated to supporting small businesses, and one of the main ways they do this is by guaranteeing loans from SBA lenders.

But how do you choose the right SBA-approved lender for your business? We’re here to help. We’ve researched several of the best small business lenders so you can find the perfect one for your business needs. We’ll start by exploring some common requirements for taking out an SBA loan, then dig into specific offerings from lenders approved by the SBA.

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How SBA-Approved Lenders Decide to Let Your Business Borrow Money

Demand for SBA loans is high, and approved lenders have strict criteria for lending out money. Although specific requirements do vary slightly between SBA lenders, here are some of the common areas they look for.

High Business or Personal Credit Score

Your credit score shows how reliable you will be at repaying a loan based on your previous borrowing and repayment history. SBA lenders are looking for businesses with high credit scores that demonstrate a low risk of defaulting on loan payments. 

If you have a Dun & Bradstreet number and profile, then a lender may use that to determine your business credit score. Otherwise, they are likely to use the owner’s or founder’s personal credit score.

Strong Cash Flow and Financial Statements

Your business must have enough free cash flow to comfortably make its loan repayments. SBA lenders will look carefully at your cash flow statements, profit and loss, balance sheets and other financial reports.

Showing strong financial management, together with low amounts of existing debt, will improve your chances of loan acceptance.

Personal or Business Assets for Collateral

One way that SBA lenders reduce the risk of defaults is to require “collateral” from you or your business. That way, if your business fails to make repayments and defaults on the loan, the lender will seize and sell the assets to recoup their losses.

Collateral can take many forms — bank accounts, property, inventory or other assets, and the better the collateral you can provide, the greater your chances of getting accepted. 

Mature Business with a Proven Track Record

SBA-approved lenders prefer to lend to businesses that have a good track record — whether that’s time in business, previously paying back loans or a history of good financial choices and growth. Typically, lenders will want to see that you’ve been in business for at least two years, and the longer, the better.

How Do I Choose an SBA Lender?

The SBA provides a list of its top 100 lenders, in descending order of the total value in loans that they have approved. We looked at the top 10 best small business lenders on that list, and we’ve shared our findings below. Take a look, and decide on which one is best for your needs.

What Is the Easiest SBA Loan to Get?

Requirements do vary between lenders. We’ve listed out some of the most common criteria above, and we’ve gone into more detail in our review of each of the lenders below. We recommend reviewing their websites in detail and speaking to their loan specialists to find out if your business qualifies for an SBA loan.


The Top 10 SBA-Approved Lenders

Here’s our breakdown of the top 10 lenders by SBA loan approved amount value. Many SBA lenders do provide different types of approved loans. In our breakdown, we’ve mainly focused on the most popular SBA 7(a) loans, but other loan types may be available.

We’ll also note that the 25-year repayment terms mentioned are mainly available only on real estate loans. SBA loans for other purposes often have to be rapid much sooner. Visit their websites for more information. 

Live Oak Bank

What Live Oak Bank says about its SBA loan program: “As the nation’s top SBA lender, we guide hundreds of small businesses through the SBA loan process each year. The SBA 7(a) and SBA 504 loan programs provide many advantages for businesses seeking capital.”
No prepayment penalties
Loan amounts up to $5 million on SBA 7(a) loans
Loan terms up to 25 years
Interest rates vary by loan type

Newtek Small Business Finance, Inc

Newtek doesn’t provide specific information on just their SBA loans, but here’s what they say about their terms loans in general: “We lend to existing U.S., profit-making businesses with 2-3 years of tax returns that can repay out of their earnings. We lend to the following industries: Manufacturing, wholesaling, services, retailing, general and heavy construction, special trade construction, and more.”
Limited or no prepayment penalties
Loan sizes of $10,000 - $10 million
Loan terms 7 - 25 years

The Huntington National Bank

What Huntington says about its SBA loan program: “At Huntington, we believe that when small businesses succeed, we all win. Every day we help businesses get to work faster with our streamlined lending process and dedication to expedited decision-making.”
Huntington provides several types of SBA loans, including basic 7(a) loans, SBA Express loans and 504 loans.

Celtic Bank Corporation

What Celtic Bank says about its SBA 7(a) loans: “Since 7(a) loans are backed by the Small Business Administration (SBA), lenders are able to provide lower interest rates and longer repayment terms compared to other business financing options. Because you pay less in monthly interest with an SBA 7(a) loan, you have the cash flow to successfully operate and grow your business.”
Interest rates start at the prime rate +2.75%
Loan-to-value amount of up to 90%
Loan amounts up to $5 million on SBA 7(a) loans
Loan terms of up to 25 years
No balloon payments

Byline Bank

What Byline Bank has to say about its SBA 7(a) loans: “Your business will benefit from increased cash flow you can inject back into your business to not only grow, but thrive. Together, we’ll put together a loan structure that works for your business, whatever the purpose. SBA 7(a) loans are a great fit for a variety of financing needs.”
Loan amounts up to $5 million on SBA 7(a) loans
Loan terms up to 25 years
Longer repayment times (amortization) without future balloon payments
Offers loans without collateral with variable and fixed-rate options

Wells Fargo Bank

What Wells Fargo has to say about SBA loans: “SBA loans are a lot like conventional business loans. You apply for both kinds through banks and other lending institutions, and you qualify by showing that your business is creditworthy. Also, just like conventional business loans, the funds can typically be used to build working capital, finance a project, purchase a building, etc.”
Loan amounts up to $5 million
Loan terms up to 25 years
Fixed and variable interest rates

Enterprise Bank & Trust

What Enterprise Bank has to say about SBA loans: “Our team has the expertise and more than 150 years of collective experience to guide you through the SBA process quickly and efficiently. Based on our experience and track record, Enterprise has Preferred Lender status with the SBA — meaning we have delegated credit authority so your SBA loan decision times are substantially reduced.”
Provides up to 90% loan-to-value
Offers financing of $100,000 - $6,250,000
Repayment terms up to 25 years

ReadyCap Lending

Ready Capital doesn’t provide specific information on just their SBA loans, but here’s what they say about their loans in general: “ReadyCap Lending offers secured and unsecured financing nationwide to small business owners. This includes flexible terms and competitive loan rates to fund a range of business needs.”
Offers both secured and unsecured financing
Provides loans of $10,000 - $5 million
Loan terms up to 25 years

KeyBank National Association

What KeyBank says about SBA loans: “SBA loan programs available through KeyBank offer favorable terms not available with other loan types. Grow your business while enjoying the unique benefits of SBA loans, like longer terms and lower payments.”
Loans of up to $5 million
Requires a business net worth of $15 million or less
Requires an average business net income of $5 million or less over the previous 2 years

Cadence Bank

What Cadence Bank says about SBA loans: “Our experience with processing and servicing SBA-guaranteed loans has earned us the designation as a Preferred SBA Lender, allowing us to speed up the loan approval process significantly.”
Loan amounts up to $5 million
Terms up to 25 years
Low down payment requirements

These top 10 SBA-approved lenders are a great starting point for seeking out business financing.

For more help with your business's finances, Incfile can assist you with your bookkeeping and accounting.

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