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Best SBA Lenders: Top 7 Options to Consider in 2022

SBA loans are backed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) and can be used to start or expand your business, purchase equipment or inventory, pay off existing business debt, or even buy commercial property. If your business is in need of funds, an SBA loan is one of the best options.

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Susan Guillory
Professional Intuitive Business Coach and Content Writer

Reviewed by: Sarah Brooks, Personal Finance Writer and Editor

Fact Checked by: Dr. JeFreda R. Brown, DBA, CFEI, and a highly respected financial expert

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SBA loans come with lower interest rates and longer repayment periods than other types of funding. If your business is in need of working capital, whether that’s to expand your business or pay for daily expenses, an SBA loan can help meet those needs.

While SBA loans are backed by the federal government, they are not funded by them. Instead they are funded by banks and online lending institutions. Our team of financial experts reviewed and ranked the top online lenders to help you get funded.

Best SBA Lenders: Top 7 Options to Consider in 2022

There are many factors to consider when choosing the right SBA lender for your business. In this review we highlight the rates, fees and terms of each lender and explain what makes them a good option. We also share potential downsides of each lender, and provide a methodology you can use to select the best option for your needs.

 

Best SBA Lenders of 2022 - Full Overview

If you’re interested in applying for an SBA loan, here’s an in-depth look at our top picks of SBA lenders in the online lending market today.

Fundera - Best for Comparing Loan Offers

Fundera

While Fundera does offer some loans directly, it also has a loan marketplace that connects borrowers with the best financing options, including SBA loans.

Once you input a few details about your business, you will be shown offers from SBA and other lenders, including the rates and terms you qualify for. If you choose one of these options, Fundera gets a referral fee and you get the SBA loan you are looking for.

Pros
Multiple offers with one application
Competitive rates
Soft credit check
Cons
Application process may take several weeks
Currently only offers two SBA lenders

SBA loans offered by Fundera partners, like all SBA loans, can be used for a variety of purposes, from buying equipment to investing in marketing. With the SBA 7(a) loan, you can borrow up to $5 million. With CDC/504 loans, you can borrow up to $5.5 million, and with SBA microloans, up to $50,000.

 

Here’s what you need to qualify for an SBA loan through Fundera:

680+ personal credit score

4+ years in business

Annual revenue of $180k or more


The Bottom Line

If you like the idea of getting multiple offers from different SBA lenders (and other lenders, as well), Fundera provides a one-stop shop for your financing needs. Qualifications are a little higher than with other SBA lenders, but rates are reasonable.

Try Fundera

SmartBiz - Best for Upfront Pricing

SmartBiz

It’s not always easy to understand how much you’ll pay in interest for an SBA loan, but SmartBiz puts its pricing up front so you can easily calculate what it might cost to borrow money from the lender.

In addition to transparent pricing, SmartBiz has financial professionals who can guide you through the streamlined application process, helping you get your loan funds faster. And because SmartBiz is a lending platform, you’ll get multiple offers from different lenders to choose from.

Pros
Clearly communicated interest rates
Streamlined SBA loan application process
Financial professionals to help
Cons
Higher requirements to qualify
May be additional applications with lender

SmartBiz lenders offer 7(a) loans of $30,000 to $350,000, as well as commercial real estate loans of $500,000 to $5 million. The interest rate for the 7(a) loans is the Prime Rate plus 2.75% to 3.75%, which currently makes that range 6.25-7.25%. The rate for the commercial real estate loans is Prime plus 1.5% to 2.75%, so currently 5-6.25%.

 

Here’s what you need to qualify for an SBA loan through SmartBiz:

650+ personal credit score

U.S.-based, for-profit business

Must have enough business and personal cash flow to service all debt payments

In operation for 2+ years

No bankruptcies or foreclosures within 3 years

No outstanding tax liens or delinquencies and/or default on government loans

The Bottom Line

The interest rate you pay on your SBA loan matters, and if you can understand what that looks like before going through the application process, you can budget for your loan payments. SmartBiz makes it easy to understand what you’ll pay, and its application process is streamlined so you can focus on getting back to your business.

Try SmartBiz

Lendio - Best for a Quick Application

Lendio

Lendio is a financing platform that connects lenders and borrowers. In addition to offering a wide range of loan products, from lines of credit to merchant cash advances, Lendio also offers SBA 7(a), 504, and Express loans.

Lendio is known for its fast loan application. In just 15 minutes, you’ll be able to see what types of loans you qualify for. From there, you can compare offers from SBA lenders and choose what’s best for you.

Pros
Multiple offers with one application
Fast application
Access to more than 74 lenders
Cons
Qualifications may vary with lender
Rates and terms vary

With Lendio’s SBA lending partners, you can borrow up to $5 million with loan terms of 10 to 30 years. Typically it takes one to two months for your SBA loan application to be processed and approved.

Once you’ve chosen an SBA loan through Lendio, you’ll need:

  • Completed SBA application form
  • Three years business tax returns
  • Three years personal tax returns
  • One-year business financial projection
  • Year-to-date P&L statement
  • Year-to-date balance sheet
  • Debt schedule

 

Here’s what you need to qualify for an SBA loan through Lendio:

550+ personal credit score

6+ months in business

Monthly revenue of $10k or more


The Bottom Line

Though there are many SBA lenders out there, they all vary slightly in the terms and interest rates they offer. Lendio lets you see what you qualify for with multiple lenders so you can compare them.

Try Lendio

Kapitus - Best for Hands-On Help

Kapitus

As an SBA lender, Kapitus stands out in that it has Financing Specialists that will work with you to ensure you fill out your SBA loan application correctly and find the best financing for your needs. Having a guide to assist you in the process can ensure you have the necessary paperwork and information for your SBA loan application.

Kapitus Financing Specialists can help you secure an SBA 7(a) loan or Express loan for working capital, real estate, business expenses, or payroll.

Pros
Financial Specialists help with application
Other loan options besides SBA loans
Highly rated by customers
No collateral required
Cons
Higher qualification requirements
May include high origination fees

Kapitus offers both SBA 7(a) loans and Express loans. The 7(a) loans range from $100,000 to $5 million with repayment terms up to 25 years. Its interest rate is Prime plus 2.7% to 3.7%. With the Express program, you can borrow up to $350,000, and the loan can be closed and funded in just 14 days.

 

Here’s what you need to qualify for an SBA loan through Kapitus:

685+ personal credit score

U.S.-based, for-profit business

Must have established business credit

In operation for 2+ years

$250k in average annual revenue

The Bottom Line

If the idea of applying for an SBA loan on your own is daunting, consider Kapitus. Its Financing Specialists are there to help you through the process so you can get approved for the best SBA loan for your needs.

Try Kapitus

Funding Circle - Best for a Flawless Application

Funding Circle

Funding Circle provides you with one of their loan specialists to help you with the entire SBA loan process. Start by answering a few questions about your business, and then you’ll receive a call from a Funding Circle Loan Specialist.

The loan specialist will then help you fill out the rest of the application, increasing your chances of being approved for an SBA loan. Funding Circle has a network of lenders that can provide in-house approvals in a matter of weeks.

Pros
Loan specialists aid with application
Competitive rates
Fast funding
Cons
High annual revenue requirements
Closing cost, loan guarantee, and broker fee

Funding Circle lending partners offer SBA 7(a) loans of $50,000 to $500,000 with loan terms up to 10 years. These loans have a flat rate of 6%, which is the current Prime Rate plus 2.75%. Applying for a loan will not impact your credit score.

 

Here’s what you need to qualify for an SBA loan through Funding Circle:

650+ personal credit score

Annual revenue of $400,000

In operation for 2+ years

Must be in SBA eligible industry

No outstanding tax liens

The Bottom Line

If you’re nervous about filling out the SBA loan application, Funding Circle can provide the expert help you need to ensure your application is perfect. That won’t guarantee approval, but it can help.

Rapid Finance - Best for Long Repayment Periods

While there are many companies that offer SBA loans, they don’t all have the same repayment periods. If you’re borrowing upwards of $1 million, you might like to have 30 years to repay the money. You can find these terms and more at Rapid Finance.

Pros
Repayment up to 30 years
Other types of loans available
Cons
Qualifications for SBA loans unclear
Fees not disclosed

Rapid Finance partners with the SBA to offer loans up to $5.5 million, with repayment periods up to 30 years. Unfortunately, Rapid Finance does not disclose the fees involved or interest rates you may qualify for.
 

While Rapid Finance doesn’t list the qualifications to get an SBA loan, it does list the following as requirements to apply:

 

 

Requirements for Rapid Finance SBA Loans

Valid form of identity

Business bank account number and routing number for deposit

Last three months of business bank statements

Schedule of debts

The Bottom Line

If you’re looking to borrow a large sum of money and need plenty of time to repay it, Rapid Finance may be a good solution for you. With up to 30 years to repay your SBA loan, you’ll be better able to afford your monthly payments.

Credibly - Best for Fast Funding

Credibly

Credibly offers two types of SBA loans: SBA 7(a) loans and SBA 504 loans. SBA 7(a) loans are used for everyday business expenses, whereas SBA 504 loans are used for commercial real estate financing.

Credibly prides itself on getting you your money fast. Once you’re approved for a loan, you can see the funds hit your account the same business day. You can also get approved quickly; where other SBA lenders can take two to three months to process your application, an SBA Preferred Lender like Credibly can process your application much faster.

Pros
Fast application process
Same-day funding once approved
Transparent criteria to qualify
Cons
Collateral may be required
You may need to make a down payment

Credibly SBA loans can be used for a variety of purposes, from working capital to debt consolidation and equipment purchases. You can borrow less than $150,000 up to $20 million, depending on the SBA loan type. Fixed interest rates start at 6.99%.

 

Here’s what you need to qualify for an SBA loan through Credibly:

620+ personal credit score

2+ years in business

Business owner must be a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident

Must not have outstanding tax liens

No bankruptcies or foreclosures in the last 3 years

The Bottom Line

If you want an SBA loan but don’t have months to wait for your application to be processed, Credibly could be a good fit. In addition to its speedy processing and funding times, Credibly has a stellar reputation when it comes to customer service.

Try Credibly

How To Choose the Best SBA Lenders?

  • Loan Features: SBA lenders offer different types of SBA loans, each with its own borrowing limit and requirements.
  • Application process:SBA loan applications can be complex, and application processing can take weeks or months, in some cases.
  • Interest rates and fees: Some lenders will charge origination fees on top of the interest set by the SBA. Affordability was a strong factor we took into consideration.
  • Qualification process:Though the SBA sets some of the criteria to qualify, lenders can add their own qualifications for things like credit score and time in business.
  • Customer support:Being able to reach your lender’s customer service team any time, and through a variety of channels, is important.
  • Online user reviews: We read lender reviews on independent review sites like Trustpilot to see what it’s like to work with them.
  • Perks and Bonuses: Look for extra service offerings like payment flexibility, advertising transparency, and advanced technology when considering SBA lenders.

 

Best SBA Lenders - Main Features

CompanyMin. Credit ScoreMin. Time in BusinessMin. Annual RevenueLoan AmountInterest Rate
Credibly6202 yearsN/AUp to $20 millionStarts at 6.99%
Fundera6804 years$180kUp to $5 millionPrime rate + 2.25% - 4.75%
Lendio5506 months$120kUp to $5 millionPrime +
Kapitus6852 years$250kUp to $5 millionStarts at 6.25%
SmartBiz6502 yearsunknownUp to $5 million2.75% - 6.25%
Funding Circle6502 years$400kUp to $500k6%
Rapid FinanceUnknownUnknownUnknownUp to $5.5 millionUnknown

 

What is SBA Lending?

Small Business Administration (SBA) loans are a type of small business funding that will be funded by a bank, alternate lender, or a group of lenders. Each loan is partially backed (up to 85%) by the federal government, but the SBA doesn’t actually fund the loans themselves .

Since the loans are backed by the SBA, though, the lender takes on less risk and is therefore able to offer lower rates. There are many different types of SBA loans available at any one time, each one fulfilling a specific business need.

 

What Are the Different SBA Loan Types?

SBA Loan Program Max loan amount Terms Interest Rates Best for 
SBA 7 (a) Loans$30,000 - $5 millionUp to 25 yearsBetween 2.25% - 4.75% plus base rateA wide range of operational expenses like business expansion, inventory, staff wages, and debt consolidation
SBA 504 LoansUp to $5 million10 - 20 years2.75% - 6%For purchase and improvement of buildings, land, and new or existing facilities
SBA MicroloansUp to $50,000Up to six years8% - 13%Small capital expenses (cannot be used to pay existing debt)
SBA CAPLines LoanUp to $5 millionUp to 10 yearsFrom prime rate plus 2.25%Seasonal businesses, contractors, and builders
SBA Disaster Loans Up to $2 millionUp to 30 years4% - 8%A business that has suffered physical damage or disaster
SBA Express LoanUp to $500,0007 years for revolving line of creditFrom prime rate plus 4.5%Organizations that need fast funding, often within 36 hours
SBA Community Advantage LoansUp to $350,000Up to 25 yearsFrom prime rate plus 6%Mission-oriented businesses in areas traditionally underserved by lenders

 

SBA Loans for Small Businesses Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Low interest rates - As SBA loans are backed by the government, lenders see this type of borrowing as low risk. This means you’ll usually find much lower rates than other types of business lending.
  • Reasonable terms and conditions - Borrowers are often surprised to see just how generous the terms and conditions are with SBA loans. Most can be repaid over a 25 year period and other fees and charges are kept to a minimum.
  • Business growth - SBA loans have been designed specifically to provide a boost to local economies. This means that any business looking to grow, hire new staff, purchase equipment, or benefit the local community will be more likely to be approved.
  • More consistent cash flow - Many businesses have uneven cash flow through the year or long payment terms on accounts receivable. SBA loans are perfect to cover gaps in cash flow issues, such as maintaining payroll and other day-to-day expenses while waiting on client payments.

Cons

  • Tougher eligibility requirements - It’s harder to get your hands on an SBA loan than other types of lending. You’ll need good to excellent credit, strong financial history, and evidence of high income.
  • High amounts of paperwork - You’ll need to provide a substantial amount of documentation, including tax returns, balance sheets, business plans, and projected revenue. It can take several months to process and approve an SBA loan.

 

How Do SBA Loans Work

The US Small Business Administration Department doesn’t loan you the money itself. Instead, it sets guidelines for SBA loans and private lenders will work within these when assessing your application.

Up to 85% of the funding will be guaranteed by the federal government, although the exact amount will vary across platforms. Most SBA loans require significant paperwork and extra time to process, so we wouldn’t recommend them for anyone that needs emergency funding.

If you need fast funding, check out these best small business loans for 2022 >>

SBA loans also offer unique advantages when compared to other loans. Not only are the terms competitive, but some loans provide counseling and education to help support your business. Others may have low down payment options or more lenient overhead requirements. SBA loans were designed with you in mind, and they want to help your small business succeed.

 

How to Apply for an SBA Loan

To apply for an SBA loan, you start by submitting an application to one of the top SBA lenders mentioned above. It’s a fairly straightforward process, and many platforms will be able to present you with various options within minutes of submitting your application.

Here’s how long it takes to get an SBA loan >>

However, to complete the process, you’re going to need to submit a good amount of paperwork, and it could take several months to receive your funding. You should prepare the following documents:

  • Proof of identity, usually a form of government-issued ID like a driver’s license
  • Your personal financial information, including several years of tax returns
  • Business financial information including
  • Year-end profit and loss statement
  • Year-end balance sheet
  • Reconciliation of net worth
  • Interim balance sheet and profit statement
  • Projected financial statements
  • Your business certificate or license
  • Resumes of all principal owners of the business
  • Business lease information

These are usually requested as a minimum and there might be additional documentation you’ll need to provide.

 

SBA Loan Rates for Small Businesses

SBA loans remain popular because the rates are typically much lower than you’ll find with other types of borrowing. While other small business funding can run into double-digit interest, the government has set caps on all SBA loans. For example, the most popular type of SBA product, the SBA 7(a) loan, has rates set at a maximum of 4.75% plus base rate, and many businesses will actually be offered even lower rates than this.

Another great example is a 504 loan, which is used for real estate lending. Rates are capped at 6% with repayment terms set over 25 years. This is much better than you’d find at a number of commercial mortgage providers.

 

Conclusion

If you’re looking for working capital to invest in marketing, advertising, new hires, or office space, a loan backed by the Small Business Administration can provide you with low interest rates and long repayment terms. If you qualify for an SBA loan, you’ll save significantly over what you’d pay with other types of loans online.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What Is a Preferred SBA Lender?

Lenders that have been designated as Preferred SBA Lenders have been approved by the Small Business Administration to give final approval on SBA loan applications rather than funneling them through the SBA to process. Working with a Preferred SBA lender can speed up the application process, cutting down the processing time by as much as several weeks.

What Credit Score Is Needed for an SBA Loan?

Each SBA lender can set the required credit score to qualify for an SBA loan. Generally, you will see credit score requirements of at least 550, and averaging 650. Some lenders may disclose this number, while others may not. Additionally, SBA lenders may look at time in business, annual revenues, and other criteria to determine eligibility.

Can a Startup Get an SBA Loan?

More often than not, a business is required to be in operation for at least two years to qualify for an SBA loan. Because startups don’t yet have a proven financial record, they may be seen as risky and therefore not qualify for SBA loans.

Best small business startup loans >>

What Businesses Are Not Eligible for SBA Loans?

Businesses in certain industries do not qualify for SBA loans. These include, but are not limited to, those involved in lending, life insurance, pyramid sale distribution, those engaged in illegal activity, speculation, lobbying, or consumer or marketing cooperatives. Additionally, to qualify for an SBA loan, a company must be considered a small business as defined by the SBA.

How Long Does It Take to Get an SBA Loan?

SBA loan application processing times vary from one lender to another. Generally speaking, it may take as long as three months to get approved for a loan. Working with a Preferred SBA Lender may speed up the process.

Is it possible to refinance with an SBA loan?

As long as certain conditions are met, it is possible to refinance existing debt with an SBA loan. The purpose of the original loan must have been SBA eligible, and the payment amount of the SBA loan must be at least 10% less than the original loan amount. Borrowers must provide written documentation as to why the original loan wasn’t sufficient.

Is a down payment a mandatory requirement for an SBA loan?

More often than not, an SBA loan does require a down payment. That down payment may vary depending on other factors, as well as how much you plan to borrow, but plan to have 10% to 30% of the loan value available for your down payment.

Susan Guillory

Written by: Susan Guillory

Professional Intuitive Business Coach and Content Writer

Susan Guillory is an intuitive business coach and content magic maker. She’s written several business books and has been published on sites including Forbes, AllBusiness, and SoFi. She writes about business and personal credit, financial strategies, loans, and credit cards.

More about me
Sarah Brooks

Reviewed by: Sarah Brooks

Personal Finance Writer and Editor

Sarah Brooks is a personal finance writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience. She specializes in personal and business loans, mortgages, auto loans, and credit cards.

More about me
Dr. JeFreda R. Brown

Fact checked by: Dr. JeFreda R. Brown

DBA, CFEI and a highly respected expert in personal and business finance

Dr. JeFreda R. Brown is more than a financial consultant: she’s an avid teacher and subject matter expert who helps people—individuals and groups in a business setting—master the skills they need to achieve lasting financial wellbeing. As Founder and CEO of Xaris Financial Enterprises, it is her passion and life goal to help others develop and maintain financial wellness.

More about me

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