Think you need a lot of money to get a small business loan? Not so with an SBA 7(a) loan. In this post, we’ll outline what this SBA loan is, who qualifies for it, and how to go about getting one. Ready to learn more? Let’s get started!
What is an SBA 7(a) Loan?
The SBA 7(a) loan program is the most popular of the SBA loans provided by the Small Business Administration and offered by SBA lenders, such as banks, credit unions, and online lenders. It’s available to businesses of all sizes and can be used for various purposes, including working capital and cash flow, inventory, equipment, and real estate.
Why You Should Consider an SBA Loan 7(a) for Your Small Business
As a business owner, you’re always looking for ways to secure funding and use the loan proceeds to grow your business. Here are five reasons you should consider this type of loan:
- You don’t need perfect credit to qualify. The SBA doesn’t directly lend money to small businesses. Rather, it partners with approved lenders, such as banks and credit unions, to provide financing and loan terms. This means small business owners may still qualify for the loan even if they don’t have perfect credit.
- You can use the loan for multiple purposes. As we mentioned earlier, SBA 7(a) loans can be used for a variety of purposes, including working capital, inventory, equipment, and commercial real estate.
- You may qualify for a lower interest rate. Interest rates on loans from an SBA lending partner are typically lower than loan interest rates on traditional bank loans. This is because the SBA guarantees a portion of the loan, reducing the risk for the lender.
- You may have a longer repayment period. SBA 7(a) loans typically have a repayment period of up to 25 years. This gives you more time to repay the loan and frees up cash flow in the meantime.
- You may be able to get a partially forgivable loan. If you use your business loan to purchase equipment or real estate, you may be able to get a portion of the loan forgiven if you create jobs or meet other requirements. This can save you a significant amount of money in the long run.
SBA 7(a) Loans Requirements
To be approved for this type of loan, your small business must meet the following loan requirements:
- At least two years of business operations. To qualify for an SBA 7(a) loan, your business must have been operational for at least two years.
- Minimum credit score requirements. While you don’t need perfect credit to qualify for an SBA loan, you will need a personal credit score of at least 640. Business credit is not a requirement, but it may be helpful in the application process.
- Annual revenue. Your business must also have annual revenue of at least $120,000. If you don’t meet this requirement, you may still be eligible for other SBA small business financing.
- Debt-to-income ratio. In addition to the above requirements, you must also have a debt-to-income ratio of 50% or less meaning your business’s debts must not exceed 50% of your business’s total income.
Types of Small Business Administration 7(a) Loan
Many SBA loan programs are available, but the 7(a) loan program is the most popular. Here are a few different types of SBA 7(a) business loan programs:
Standard 7(a) Loan
The Standard 7(a) Loan is the most common type of SBA loan. It’s available to businesses of all sizes and can be used for various purposes, including working capital, inventory, equipment, and real estate. You can apply for a loan amount of up to $5 million.
7(a) Small Loan
The 7(a) Small Loan is designed for businesses that need smaller loans, with a maximum loan amount up to $350,000. It’s a good option for businesses that don’t have a lot of collateral to offer as security for the loan.
An Express Loan is a 7(a) loan that’s processed and approved more quickly than other types of SBA loans. You can typically get an Express Loan in less than 36 hours, making it a good option for businesses that need quick access to financing.
Export Working Capital
This type of 7(a) loan is specifically for businesses that export goods or services. If you export goods or services, you may be eligible for a loan of up to $5 million.
The Veterans Advantage program is designed to help veterans and their spouses get access to small business financing. If you’re a veteran or the spouse of a veteran, you may be eligible for a reduced interest rate on an SBA 7(a) loan.
How to Apply for SBA 7(a) Business Loans
Applying for this type of loan is a straightforward process. Let’s look at the steps needed for the loan application process:
- Choose an SBA lender. You’ll choose a bank or credit union that offers SBA-backed loans. Make sure to shop around and compare rates, terms, and conditions before choosing a lender.
- Complete the application. Each SBA preferred lender has its own application that you’ll need to complete. Gather the required documents, such as your business tax returns, before you get started on your loan application.
- Submit your application. Once you’ve completed the application from one of the available SBA preferred lenders, you’ll submit it to your chosen lender for review.
- Get approved and access your funds. If your loan is approved, you’ll receive the funds in a lump sum. You can then use the funds for your intended purpose.
How Hard Is It to Get an SBA 7(a) Loan?
It’s not difficult to get an SBA 7(a) loan, such as California finance lender loans if you meet the eligibility requirements and have a strong application. However, it’s important to remember that this is a competitive program. There are more businesses applying for SBA 7(a) loans than there are funds available.
How Much Can You Get From an SBA 7(a) Loan?
The maximum loan amount for an SBA 7(a) loan is $5 million. The interest rate is variable, the repayment terms are flexible, and the collateral requirements are relatively lenient. Overall, the SBA 7(a) loan program is a very attractive option for small businesses.
Are SBA Loans Forgivable?
SBA loans, like SBA 7(a) loans, are not automatically forgiven, but there are programs in place that could potentially forgive part or all of your loan. To be eligible for forgiveness, you must use the loan proceeds for eligible expenses, such as payroll costs, rent, and utilities. You must also meet certain other conditions, such as maintaining or restoring your employee headcount and wages.
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Source: Small Business Trends