Best SBA Lenders: Top 7 Options to Consider in 2023
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.
Reviewed by: Sarah Brooks, Personal Finance Writer and Editor
Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may affect which companies we write about and where the company appears on a page. However, any analyses, or reviews expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been approved or endorsed by any partner.
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.
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 rating methodology you can use to select the best option for your needs.
Best SBA Lenders of 2023 - 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.
Excellent customer reviews on independent review sites
Pros & Cons
Shop multiple SBA lenders all in one place
Competitive interest rates
Excellent customer service
No impact on credit when applying
Funding times are longer than with traditional loans
Must have decent credit
Relatively high annual income required
Lendzi was founded in 2020 and is a direct lender and a lending marketplace. The company offers a multitude of small business loan products, including loans backed by the Small Business Administration. One of our favorite features of Lendzi is their excellence in customer service. And, with more than 2,000 5-star reviews on sites like Google and TrustPilot, past and present customers agree. It takes just a few minutes to fill out an application on Lendzi’s website, and from there an expert representative will give you a call to discuss your business and loan options further. This makes the entire process quicker and more efficient.
Lendzi does the work for you by connecting you with many SBA lenders to choose from. SBA loans can be used for any business expense, and rates are typically lower than with other types of financing. Types of SBA loans offered by Lendzi include SBA 7(a) loans, SBA 504 loans, SBA microloans, SBA disaster loans, and more. The SBA 7(a) loan is the most popular type, and most borrowers can request anywhere from $5,000 to $5 million.
If you want help throughout the process to answer questions and guide you on the best product for your business, look no further than Lendzi. Lendzi makes it less stressful and complicated so you can devote more time to your business and less time to your loan application. Plus, with so many 5-star reviews, it’s hard to find any cons of choosing Lendzi.
SBA commercial real estate loans up to $5 million.
Loan Repayment 10 - 25 years
SBA 7(a) loan rates: 8.25-9.25%
SBA Commercial real estate loan rates: 5.50-6.75%
Receive multiple loan offers
Pros & Cons
Clearly communicated interest rates
Streamlined SBA loan application process
Financial professionals to help
Higher requirements to qualify
May be additional applications with lender
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.
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%.
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.
GoKapital offers six different types of loans to small businesses, including SBA loans. If you have strong credit and a solid business history, an SBA loan from GoKapital can offer some of the best rates around. While funding times can be a bit longer with SBA loans, the rates and terms are usually significantly better than with traditional small business loans. If you can wait 30-60 days for funding, an SBA loan from GoKapital could save you thousands in interest.
An SBA loan from GoKapital ranges from $250,000 to $5 million with terms of 5 to 25 years. Rates are some of the lowest you’ll see in the industry, starting at just 5%. Once you fill out an application, you should receive a response within three to five business days. From there, it does take a little while for funding - up to three months, but the savings in interest can be well worth your wait.
GoKapital has stricter qualification criteria than other lenders, but they do offer some of the most competitive rates in the industry. If you’re in need of financing and have a solid business history - including credit score, length in business, and annual revenue - an SBA loan from GoKapital could be the perfect fit for you.
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.
Main Features 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.
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.
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.
Main Features 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.
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.
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.
Main Features 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.
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 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.
Main Features 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%.
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.
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
Min. Credit Score
Min. Time in Business
Min. Annual Revenue
Up to $5 million
6.5% on average
Up to $20 million
Starts at 6.99%
Up to $5 million
Prime rate + 2.25% - 4.75%
Up to $5 million
5% - 9%
Up to $5 million
2.75% - 6.25%
Up to $500k
Up to $5.5 million
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.
Mission-oriented businesses in areas traditionally underserved by lenders
SBA Loans for Small Businesses Pros and Cons
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.