Small Business Administration (SBA)-backed loans provide affordable financing options for small businesses that may have difficulty obtaining financing via traditional channels. Here are seven things you probably don’t know about SBA loans.
1 The SBA doesn’t actually lend directly to businesses. The bank makes the loan, and then works with the SBA to get it to guarantee between 50% and 90% of the loan.
2 Personal credit is important in the SBA loan process. Especially with true startups, there is usually no credit history for the business and little collateral, so the credit history of the business owner(s) is significant. The owners’ credit history is an indication of how they handle credit.
3 The SBA won’t deny a loan because of collateral (lack of), but all collateral must be taken into account. The SBA requires the bank to consider all available collateral for the loan request. This could include the business owner’s equity in his or her home, vacation home, etc.
4 Quality is more important than quantity when you are deciding whether to apply. Business plans should be concise and cover the important details: the “what,” “why,” “who,” “how” and “when” of your business.
5 Banks are interested in small business loans. In general, they are very interested in helping small businesses grow and become really good bank customers. The SBA is a great tool that helps them add value to the businesses in the communities they serve.
6 The SBA process doesn’t take as long as most people think. Especially with an experienced SBA-preferred lender, it is easy to navigate this process smoothly and avoid any potential obstacles.
7 Borrowers must be a small for-profit business in order to be eligible for an SBA loan. A business must meet size standards to qualify for an SBA loan. Generally this means $7.5 million or less in revenue and 500 employees or less (depending on the industry).
Rosa Scharf is the SBA Champion at Howard Bank. This article originally appeared on the Howard Bank blog.