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Arkansas Small Business Loans: Best Local and Online Options

Without a doubt, it’s paramount that business owners and entrepreneurs in Arkansas are well-informed about the different financing options and non-financial support available to them. Time is one resource that a business owner can never get back. To help you save time and effort, we discuss which...

Arkansas Small Business Loans
Tetiana Sitiugina-Babiuk
Financial Sector Specialist and Content Strategist
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Arkansas is an ideal location for your business: not only does it have the lowest cost of living in the United States, but the average loan amount received by small businesses within the state amounts to an impressive $388,735. By exploring a broad range of options, you will be able to find a small business loan in Arkansas that will precisely suit your purposes and needs.

Top Four Arkansas Small Business Loan Options

Below we highlight several top lenders and their respective funding programs.

Arkansas Federal Credit Union

Arkansas Federal Credit Union (AFCU) provides favorable interest rates and is the state’s largest credit union. They offer revolving credit facilities, working capital funding, equipment loans, and commercial real estate loans, to name a few. AFCU provides business owners with competitive interest rates, which can start as low as 2.5%, depending on the financing you are applying for.

It’s important to note that credit union financing can be a lengthy process. Furthermore, your business and your company will need to meet certain criteria when you apply. Nevertheless, this means that the approval process is personalized and based on the merits of the individual business. Repayment terms are flexible, but you need to access their site and follow the prompts for more information. The application process starts via the online portal, but you can also contact the offices and book an in-person consultation.

First Arkansas Bank and Trust

First Arkansas Bank and Trust provides banking services and loans to consumers and local businesses alike. Arkansas-based entrepreneurs are welcome to apply for business lines of credit, new and used commercial vehicle loans, business equipment loans, commercial real estate and construction loans, and more.

The bank doesn’t disclose the loan amounts and rates on their website, but it does provide contact information of local Loan Officers who are ready to discuss the loan products in more detail.

Bank OZK

Formerly known as Bank of the Ozarks, Bank OZK has been providing financial services to the people and businesses within the state for over 115 years. The bank is a preferred Small Business Administration (SBA) lender, which makes the SBA loan application easier to navigate and faster to close.

With a variety of loan products ranging from $30,000 to $10 million, Bank OZK provides funds for all small business needs, from starting up a business to land acquisition for business expansion.

BOK Financial

BOK Financial, formerly known as Bank of Arkansas, is another preferred SBA lender with a solid reputation within the state.

The bank provides flexible Small Business Administration 7(a) and 504 loans, with repayment terms ranging between 10 and 25 years. BOK Financial also offers business credit cards and revolving lines of credit, which present smart financing options for virtually any business. Finally, the bank offers long-term loans for business equipment and vehicle purchases.

Summary Table
 

Institution TypeProviderMax/Min Amount
State-based Credit UnionArkansas Federal Credit Union$5K - $250K
Local bankFirst Arkansas Bank and TrustNot specified
Local bank, preferred SBA lenderBank OZK$30K - $10 million
Local bank, preferred SBA lenderBOK FinancialNot specified

Top Three Online Arkansas Small Business Loan Options

Online loan providers offer fast approval times and payouts. These two points make online lenders an attractive option. There are minimum prerequisites attached to these loans, and credit score requirements are typically lower than those requested by banking institutions.

1. Biz2Credit

Similarly to many other online lenders, Biz2Credit offers an easy online application process combined with quick turnaround times. However, the company stands out with its high borrowing limits and reasonable interest rates.

As such, with Biz2Credit, you can apply for a term loan of up to $250,000 or a commercial real estate or working capital loan of up to $6 million. With either lending option, the interest rates start at only 8.99%, and the fund disbursement takes less than 72 hours.

Keep in mind, however, that Biz2Credit is not the best option for startups and new businesses. The annual revenue and credit score requirements can be difficult to meet, so you’ll be out of luck if you have poor credit.

2. Fundera

Fundera is another excellent online loan partner. Their representatives walk you through the process of applying for funding and continue to help you once you have received loan approval. Like most other online lenders, Fundera offers products that are applicable nationwide, and they have consultants in every state, including Arkansas.

There are several loan options available, and you can apply for free. Your application is then forwarded to potential lenders.

3. Fundbox

Fundbox is another online lender offering important financial assistance to entrepreneurs and small business owners in the form of short-term lines of credit and invoice factoring. As such, through Fundbox’s platform, you can apply for a loan ranging between $1,000 and $100,000 in value, with repayment terms of 12 to 24 weeks. The application process is fast and simple, and the fund disbursement is also quick.

The great thing about loan products offered by Fundbox is the fact that no personal guarantee or collateral is required. However, in order to qualify for a loan, you need to make sure that your business earns at least $25,000 in annual revenue and has been in operation for three months or more. In addition, your personal credit score should be no less than 500.

4. Credibly

Ever since 2010, Credibly has been offering cheap and fast financing to small business owners within Arkansas and across the country alike.

With relaxed eligibility criteria and generous repayment terms, the range of Credibly’s lending products is worth considering:

  • Working capital loans. Working capital loans are provided to help entrepreneurs meet the short-term financial needs of their businesses. As such, small business owners can apply for a working capital loan of up to $400,000 and choose among repayment terms ranging between 6 and 18 months.
  • SBA loans. While Credibly doesn’t disclose the amounts provided for their government-backed SBA loans, the company does specify that their repayment term length can range between 2 and 25 years.
  • Long-term business expansion loans. Business expansion loans are ideal to help entrepreneurs grow their business. These loans can range between $150,000 and $5 million and come with 3- to 10-year terms.
  • Other types of loans. Credibly also offers equipment financing loans, business lines of credit, merchant cash advances, invoice factoring, and other types of financial products.

5. Torro

Torro is an online lending marketplace that works to connect small businesses looking for a loan with their vast network of private investors, lenders, and independent brokerages.

The main products offered by Torro are business lines of credit and merchant cash advances. While the qualification criteria is somewhat stringent (you would need a minimum credit score of 650 and collateral), Torro’s merchant cash advances come with some of the highest limits available on the market. As such, you can borrow up to $750,000, with specific rates and repayment terms ranging from lender to lender. Business lines of credit come with a significant limit of $250,000 as well.

Additional Arkansas Small Business Financial Resources

Whether you are trying to start a business or you want to expand an existing organization, there is always a place for additional funding. Arkansas offers several grants and intellectual resources to businesses to ensure their continuity. We touch on a few of these options below.

Small Business Administration

The Small Business Administration (SBA) is a national body that seeks to assist small businesses by providing guidance and direction to entrepreneurs and established businesses alike. It’s important to note that the SBA has also established Veteran Outreach Centers and Women’s Business Centers.

Innovate Arkansas

Innovate Arkansas is a local organization funded by the Arkansas Economic Development Commission with the goal to help scale Arkansas businesses through three key focuses: capital, acceleration, and talent. This means that the organization aids local small businesses in raising capital, establishing sustainable revenue streams, and finding top talent.

Amber Grant

The Amber Grant Foundation was established in 1998 to honor the memory of Amber Wigdahl, a young woman who passed at a young age of 19 years before she was able to realize her business ambitions.

Today, the Foundation distributes at least $10,000 every month to female entrepreneurs who have creative and ambitious business goals. In addition, the Foundation has expanded their grant offerings to include a larger annual $25,000 grant.

Other Resources for Arkansas Small Businesses

Whether you are establishing or growing a business, you will need both financial and intellectual resources. Expertise, or a lack thereof, in a given industry can either make or break your business.

We’ve listed a few centers that provide mentorship, enrichment courses, and live webinars to help business owners make informed business decisions.

The Venture Center

The Venture Center is committed to inspiring economic and social change in Arkansas and beyond by focusing on education, acceleration, and collaboration within the startup ecosystem. The organization does so by partnering up with entrepreneurs, universities, corporations, non-profits, government agencies, venture funds, and more.

Among other things, the Venture Centre provides quality training and resources necessary to help establish successful businesses of all sizes.

Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center (ASBTDC)

ASBTDC is a go-to resource for any entrepreneur looking to start or grow a small business in Arkansas. The Center assists all types of for-profit businesses through one-on-one confidential consulting services, free-of-charge market research, and affordable education event

Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) Program

The VBOC program provides important educational support to veterans and their spouses interested in starting or expanding a small business. The program’s entrepreneurial development services include business counseling, training, and resource partner referrals available to veterans, transitional service members, National Guard & Reserve members, and military spouses.

Arkansas Women’s Business Center (AWBC)

The Arkansas Women’s Business Center was established to help support female-owned small businesses by providing business training and access to markets and capital necessary for female entrepreneurs to grow their companies.

At AWBS, a team of professional consultants offer a broad range of valuable business support services, including training activities, business plan development support, mentoring assistance, development of market feasibility studies, and more.

How to Prepare for an Arkansas Small Business Loan

You’ll need to prepare yourself when you approach lenders for loans. Lenders do have some unique requirements when it comes to their approval process, but there are also many similarities. Below is a list of the documents lenders will need to see when assessing your application.

  • A professional and factual business plan
  • Audited financial statements
  • Proof of income
  • Businesses credit score
  • Proof of collateral
  • Proof of business history
  • You should gather as much information about your business as possible. Once these statements are ready, all you’d need to do is decide on the loan that’s best suited to you and begin applying.

    Here is an excellent three-step method to help you decide on the best options for you:

    1. Develop a detailed business plan.
    2. Shortlist the best loan options.
    3. Make contact with the lenders.

    You’d be correct in assuming that the more applications you make, the higher your chances of finding the best loan are.

    The Bottom Line

    Arkansas small business loans offer the most value for your dollar, meaning that business funding can provide more relative value than any other state in the U.S. If you need a traditional bank or credit union loan, you’ll find a slew of well-reputed companies at hand. In addition, online loan providers have expanded their services in recent years and can now offer a faster approval process with more flexible terms. Finally, the state of Arkansas also offers a variety of non-financial small business support in the form of mentorship services, training workshops, and networking opportunities.

    About the Author

    Tetiana Sitiugina-Babiuk

    Tetiana Sitiugina-Babiuk

    Financial Sector Specialist and Content Strategist

    Independent writer, content strategist, and financial sector specialist. Tatiana has an extensive experience in working with financial institutions such as Bank of Canada and Risk Management unit at FinDev Canada. She holds an MA in Financial Risk Management from the University of Toronto.

    More about me

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