Guide to SBA 7(a) Loan: All You Need to Know

This article covers what you need to know about SBA 7(a) loan requirements, types and process application.

An SBA 7(a) loan is flexible financing provided by the United States Small Business Administration (SBA). To achieve its goal of encouraging company development, the SBA offers a number of loan programs tailored to satisfy the special capital needs of emerging enterprises. The 7(a) loan program provides low-interest loans of up to $5 million to small firms for a variety of reasons, including operating funding, investment for equipment purchase, and acquisition of real estate property. However, the application procedure can prove complicated and take 60 to 90 days before closing. This article covers what you need to know about SBA 7(a) loan requirements, the types of SBA 7(a) loans, and the process of the SBA 7(a) loan application.

SBA 7(a) Loan for small businesses

A startup company often deals with significant capital constraints and fundraising issues. It could keep them from taking on the challenge fairly against their competition even when their product is outstanding. For decades, the Small Business Administration made financing to startup firms feasible. The importance of the SBA 7(a) Loan is that it enables small firms to fulfill their goals when the lack of funding is standing against their development.

What is an SBA 7(a) Loan?

The Small Business Administration’s most popular lending program, the SBA 7(a) Loan, provides financial assistance to small businesses with particular needs. It is the greatest choice for acquiring property for the company, but it can also be utilized as short-term and long-term working capital, for refinancing existing commercial debt, or buying furnishings, fittings, and supplies for the business.

The SBA 7(a) loan has a maximum lending limit of $5 million. Key qualifying variables include a business strategy to generate income, good credit history, and the location of the business. Your lender can assist you in determining which sort of loan is most suited to your requirements.

How does the SBA 7(a) Loan work?

SBA 7(a) loans are not obtained directly from the Small Business Administration. Instead, SBA assures a portion of a loan issued by a traditional bank, credit union, or other financial organization. When you’ve shown your requirement for the cash and provided the lender with a business strategy that is both affordable and solid, they can process your loan and finance you. Remember that it is necessary to create a detailed budget for the use of those finances.

How does SBA 7(a) Loan help small businesses or startups?

For entrepreneurs wishing to pump some capital into the ledger, the SBA 7(a) loan is a viable option. SBA 7(a) loans are government-backed financing, intended to assist small businesses that lack adequate external sources of finance in getting off the ground and going with enough money to really prosper. It ensures that financial constraints do not stand in the way of your startup’s growth.

Types of SBA 7(a) Loan

There are various loan kinds available under the SBA 7(a) loan scheme. The ideal one for your company will vary depending on the amount of financing you need, how you plan to utilize it, and how fast you require it.

Types of SBA 7(a) Loan

  • Standard 7(a) loan – With a maximum ceiling of $5 million, this program provides money for working capital, equipment, supply purchases, real estate, and company growth. SBA guarantees 85% of loans for up to $150,000 and 75% of loans beyond $150,000. SBA application turnaround time is five to ten business days.
  • 7(a) small loan – This loan, with a maximum loan amount of $350,000, is meant to fund minor finance requirements. The maximum SBA guarantee is 85% for loans up to $150,000 and 75% for loans over that amount. The SBA’s application turnaround time is five to ten business days.
  • Non-7(a) microloans – With a maximum loan amount of $50,000, this loan provides extremely small loans to newly started or expanding small businesses. It provides working capital or funds the purchase of supplies, equipment, furniture, and fixtures. Existing debts and the purchase of real estate are not permitted uses of SBA microloans. The range of interest rates is 7.75% to 8.5%. To qualify, you must fulfill the 7(a) conditions.

Uses of SBA 7(a) Loan

The 7(a) loan is often used for the following purposes:

  • Working capital, including long-term and short-term.
  • Under certain situations, refinancing current business debt.
  • The acquisition of machinery, equipment, furnishings, fittings, commodities, or materials.
  • Revolving funding depending on the current value of goods and receivables.
  • The construction of a new facility or the restoration of an existing one.
  • The acquisition of real estate, including property and infrastructure.
  • Starting a new company or aiding in the purchase, operation, or growth of an existing one.

SBA 7(a) Loan for small business or startup’s growth

SBA 7(a) loan is great for startups that have exhausted other traditional financing avenues, such as personal loans, credit cards, grants, and other conventional sources, and yet can’t get enough funding to back their growth. SBA 7(a) loan provides loans with moderate interest rates and reasonable fees, making them manageable for small businesses.

Things to consider before getting SBA 7(a) Loan

While they are ideal for small businesses, getting an SBA 7(a) loan is not easy to qualify for. Businesses must meet certain eligibility requirements and provide proper documentation to qualify.

Eligibility criteria for getting an SBA 7(a) Loan

For small business owners to be eligible for SBA 7(a) loan, their businesses must meet the following criteria:

  • The business must operate for profit
  • Put the money toward achieving the business objectives
  • Must consider all other financing options, including their own assets
  • The business must satisfy the SBA definition of a small business
  • Have substantial investment in equity
  • Should be able to prove their need for funding
  • Not be in default on government loan
  • Conduct business in or plan for it in the United States or any of its territories

SBA 7(a) Loan rates

The interest rate only accounts for a portion of a 7(a) loan’s total cost. The SBA limits the costs that lenders can impose, and most SBA 7(a) loans will include a guarantee fee that varies depending on the loan amount from 0.25 to 3.75%.

The prime rate, which banks use to establish rates for consumer loan products, serves as the basis for SBA 7(a) loan interest rates. In addition to a spread that is agreed upon by you and your lender, it adjusts in response to decisions made by the Federal Reserve Board. The SBA maximums must be adhered to. However, they are established by the length of the term or maturity, and the sum of the loan could be constant or adjustable.

The figure below shows the maximum SBA 7(a) loan interest rates:

SBA loan size7(a) loan paid off in under 7 years*7(a) loan paid off in over 7 years*
$25,000 or less11.75%12.25%
$25,001 to $50,00010.75%11.25%
More than $50,0009.75%10.25%

* Rates calculated with the current prime rate of 7.5% as of December 2022

Important terms to know before applying for SBA 7(a) loan

Here are some important things small business owners must know about SBA 7(a) loan before applying:

  • Loan amount – Startups seldom qualify for $5 million in SBA 7(a) financing. Your lender may approve bigger sums if you can establish your earning potential.
  • Guarantee percentage – SBA 7(a) loans are not the same as house mortgages. SBA guarantees up to 85% of loans under $150,000; you furnish the rest. For loans exceeding $150,000, you’ll need to pay 25% down. You’ll need to put up large sums of money as a buffer for losses the lender may incur.
  • Interest rate – SBA interest rates are related to the Wall Street Journal Prime Rate. Real estate loans often have a lower interest rate.
  • Maturity term – While loan maturity depends on the borrowed amount and your capacity to repay, the maximums are fixed. Real estate and equipment loans are restricted to 25 years, working capital and stocking loans to 10 years, like equipment funds.
  • Fees – SBA 7(a) loans could include guarantee and service fees. Under $150,000 loans have no guarantee charge, between $150,000 and $700,000 have a 3% cost, and beyond $700,000 have a 3.5% charge. Loans exceeding $1 million have a 0.25% guarantee charge. All loans are charged 0.52% of the outstanding sum each year.
  • Prepayment penalties – When a customer prepays 25% or more of a 15-year or longer loan during the first three years, a prepayment penalty is imposed. First year: 5% of prepayment; second: 3%; third: 1%.

How to apply for SBA 7(a) Loan

After understanding key points and requirements, a small business owner can proceed to the SBA 7(a) Loan application. Let’s understand how:

Search and find an SBA 7(a) Loan lender

On the Small Business Administration website, you can use a tool that enables you to input details about your company and connect with a lender in your locality. Many national banks like Bank of America and Chase include the program.

Submit your application with the proper documents

There are several documents demanded when applying for SBA 7(a) Loan. A checklist given by the Small Business Administration asks the business to prepare the following:

  • SBA form 1919 for the borrower information
  • SBA form 413 details personal financial statements
  • History of loans previously applied for
  • History and overview of business explaining challenges and need for the SBA assistance
  • Copy of business license or certification
  • Profit and loss statements and projected financial statements as business financial statements.
  • Documents and terms pertaining business lease and an entry from the landlord
  • Resumes of each principal
  • Documents of affiliations and ownership
  • Personal and business tax returns for the past three years

Keep documents of the following details on hand if you are purchasing an existing company:

  • Statement of profit and loss and present balance sheet.
  • Presented a bill of sale with the details of the transaction.
  • Evidence of equity infusion.
  • The last three years’ worth of federal tax returns.
  • Listing price, including a schedule of the available products, hardware, and furnishings.
  • Licenses, midcarder contracts, or franchises.

Based on the exact usage funds or payments made on a loan deal or to an agent or dealer, you could be needed to file extra SBA forms.

Wait for your loan be approved and close the loan

An SBA loan application and financing procedure typically take 60 to 90 days, while the time frame varies. Without the SBA scrutinizing the application, SBA Preferred Lenders can issue loans more quickly. Whether it comes through the SBA or your bank directly, you will be required to wait for approval following the submission of the SBA 7(a) loan application.

Your lender will begin the closing procedure when your loan has been accepted, which includes obtaining collateral, putting together the loan documentation, and satisfying some other regulatory needs. The lender would then release your finances, and throughout the length of the contract, you must pay back the loan in equal monthly installments.

Tips to find a suitable SBA 7(a) loan lender for your business

A bank or credit union that you trust and that also works with other companies like yours is the ideal SBA 7(a) lender. It’s crucial that they comprehend your business strategy and revenue stream, particularly if you’re not starting a typical organization. Find SBA lenders with 7(a) loan expertise; they can speed up the application process, address any issues you may have, and maybe even improve your chances of being approved.

Get your business valuation for getting an SBA 7(a) loan from Eqvista!

Small business owners can access financing through the Small Business Administration with SBA 7(a) loans. However, it takes a lot of paperwork to prove your eligibility. The loans have stringent requirements and drawn-out application processes. By entering inaccurate data in the documentation, you don’t want to prolong it.

The business valuation required for SBA loans, which are substantially more efficient and straightforward to get for every industry, can be supported by a team of experts at Eqvista. To collaborate with us, get in touch with us now.

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