The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers a number of 7(a) loan programs. Each one has specific requirements, but the basic eligibility requirements are similar across all 7(a) loan types. You need to be a for-profit business and be able to demonstrate that you’re able to repay the debt you take on. Lenders will also want to see that your company has been operating for at least two years and is generating revenue. Your credit score isn’t a strict requirement, but you should aim for a minimum of 640 and be prepared to provide a financial statement detailing your business’s income.
There are a variety of loan terms available with 7(a) loans, and you can choose whether to go for a fixed or variable interest rate. Variable rates are usually tied to the federal Prime rate, but you can use a different peg index. There are also fees associated with SBA 7(a) loans, which can add up quickly and should be taken into account when choosing a financing option.
SBA 7(a) Loans Eligibility and Application
Generally speaking, businesses that meet the minimum requirements set by the SBA and their lender are eligible for 7a Loans. Some restrictions apply like that 7(a) loans must be used for certain purposes and must not be provided to real estate investment firms or religious organizations. In addition, the underlying business must have a minimum of $5 million in average after-tax net income over the last two years.
The SBA typically requires that you have “skin in the game” with a 7(a) loan, and this will vary from lender to lender. Generally, you’ll need to provide at least $1 in cash or collateral for every $3 loan proceeds for new businesses and $1 in equity for every $4 loan proceeds for existing companies. You’ll also need to provide a personal guarantee, a legally binding agreement that makes you responsible for your business’s debt. The application process for a 7(a) loan can be long and complicated, and turnaround times can vary greatly. If you’re in a rush, consider applying for an SBA Express 7(a) loan or working with an online lender that can offer more flexibility when it comes to borrowing.
Pros and Cons of 7(a) Loans
Unlike most conventional bank loans, SBA 7(a) loans do not require as much of a down payment. This can make it easier for a new business owner to qualify for this type of loan and helps them get started with their business plans. In addition, SBA 7(a) loans have longer repayment terms than most conventional bank loans, allowing borrowers to conserve their cash flow and keep monthly debt service costs low. Another benefit of SBA 7(a) loans is that they can be used for a variety of purposes, from working capital to the purchase of equipment and real estate. They can even be used for the refinancing of existing debt.
Because of the flexibility of 7(a) loans, many business owners choose to use them for start-up expenses, working capital, partner buyouts, and other credit solutions that would not be available through other means. The longer repayment terms also help to keep monthly debt service costs down for the business. Although there are many benefits to SBA 7(a) loans, they do have some disadvantages as well. First, a borrower must meet both the government’s requirements and those of the lender to qualify for this type of funding. Additionally, the loan application process can be time-consuming and complicated. A good way to streamline the process is to work with a debt advisor who can match you with the right SBA-preferred lender for your industry, loan size, and needs.