A Quick Tutorial on Small Business Loans

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Your news feed is full of headlines touting stock market performance and how the President’s tax cuts are going to help the economy.If these headlines continue to prove to be true, small business lending will continue to thrive in 2018. For the first time since before the start of the Great Recession a decade ago, big banks are now approving one quarter of the loan applications they receive. (Forbes, 2018)

According to the latest Biz2Credit Small Business Lending Index, loan approval rates at big banks climbed two-tenths of a percent in October, up from 24.8% in September.

So, with banks loosening up capital, SMBs now have more facilities available to them to get started or to grow. Banks, both large and small, provide small business loans, mainly to more mature and established businesses. For those just starting out, you’ll have a better chance of getting a loan from a traditional bank with an SBA-backed loan. SBA loans reduce the risk for the lending bank, making it easier for businesses to obtain approval and funds.

Alternative lenders, such as peer-to-peer, private investors, and direct lenders, offer additional channels for businesses to obtain funding beyond the banks. Alternative lenders are not subject to as much regulation on what they lend as traditional banks, so they are more flexible, have less borrowing criteria, and have much higher approval rates.

How Do I Get a Small Business Loan

You’re going to have to provide ALLOT of documentation. You will fill out an application, and then provide the requested information for underwriting. Below is a list of the most-commonly requested information:

  • Personal Information
  • Personal Background
  • Business Plan
  • Credit Report
  • Income Tax Returns and/or Financial Statements
  • Bank Statements
  •  Loan Application History
  • Collateral
  • Purpose for the funds (what will it be used for?)
  • Debt Schedule
  • Business legal documents, such as Business licenses and registrations, leases, formation documents (such as articles of incorporation or LLC filing), copies of contracts you have with any third parties, franchise agreements, and so on.

Once you receive loan terms from lenders, you need to determine which option best fits your business needs. Businesses typically analyze each lender’s eligibility requirements, loan options, costs and reputation. In the end, you want a lender that is most likely to approve your loan, offer terms and costs that fit your budget and cash flow needs, and offer good service during approval, closing and repayment.