The SBA offers numerous loan programs to assist
small businesses. It is
important to note, however, that the SBA is primarily a guarantor
of loans made by private and other institutions.
FUNCTION: Serves as the SBA’s primary business loan program
to help qualified small businesses obtain financing when they
might not be eligible for business loans through normal lending
channels. It is also the agency’s most flexible business loan
program, since financing under this program can be guaranteed
for a variety of general business purposes.
Loan proceeds can be used for most sound business
purposes including working capital, machinery and equipment, furniture
and fixtures, land and building (including purchase, renovation
and new construction), leasehold improvements, and debt refinancing
(under special conditions). Loan maturity is up to 10 years for
working capital and generally up to 25 years for fixed assets.
CUSTOMER: Start-up and existing small businesses, commercial lending institutions
DELIVERED THROUGH: Commercial lending institutions
SBA offers multiple variations of the basic 7(a) loan program to accommodate targeted needs.
FUNCTION: Provides long-term, fixed-rate financing to
small businesses to acquire real estate or machinery or equipment
for expansion or modernization. Typically a 504 project includes
a loan secured from a private-sector lender with a senior lien,
a loan secured from a CDC (funded by a 100 percent SBA-guaranteed
debenture) with a junior lien covering up to 40 percent of the
total cost, and a contribution of at least 10 percent equity from
CUSTOMER: Small businesses requiring “brick and mortar” financing
DELIVERED THROUGH: Certified development companies (private, nonprofit
corporations set up to contribute to the economic development of their communities or regions)
PROGRAM: Microloan, a 7(m) Loan Program
FUNCTION: Provides short-term loans of up to $35,000 to
small businesses and not-for-profit child-care centers for working
capital or the purchase of inventory, supplies, furniture, fixtures,
machinery and/or equipment. Proceeds cannot be used to pay existing
debts or to purchase real estate. The SBA makes or guarantees
a loan to an intermediary, who in turn, makes the microloan to
the applicant. These organizations also provide management and
technical assistance. The loans are not guaranteed by the SBA.
The microloan program is available in selected locations in most
CUSTOMER: Small businesses and not-for-profit child-care centers needing small-scale financing and technical assistance for start-up or expansion
DELIVERED THROUGH: Specially designated intermediary lenders (nonprofit organizations with experience in lending and in technical assistance)
PROGRAM: Loan Prequalification
FUNCTION: Allows business applicants to have their loan
applications for $250,000 or less analyzed and potentially sanctioned
by the SBA before they are taken to lenders for consideration.
The program focuses on the applicant’s character, credit, experience
and reliability rather than assets. An SBA-designated intermediary
works with the business owner to review and strengthen the loan
application. The review is based on key financial ratios, credit
and business history, and the loan-request terms. The program
is administered by the SBA’s Office of Field Operations and SBA
CUSTOMER: Designated small businesses
DELIVERED THROUGH: Intermediaries operating in specific geographic areas.