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SBA Loan Approval

SBA loan approval process and guidelines

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Only takes 5 minutes and doesn't impact your credit score1

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How does SBA Loan approval process work

Here is an overview of the basic steps involved in obtaining an SBA loan from a bank in the SmartBiz Loans network.

Determine eligibility

Review the basic eligibility requirements and use of funds to apply for a $30,000 to $500,000 SBA 7(a) loan from banks in the SmartBiz network:

  • Time in business must be above two years
  • The business owner's personal credit score must be above 650 / 675 (commercial real estate)
  • The business must be U.S. based and owned by a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident who is at least 21 years old
  • No outstanding tax liens
  • No bankruptcies or foreclosures in the past 3 years
  • No recent charge-offs or settlements
  • Up-to-Date on government-related loans
  • 51% owner-occupied real estate for commercial real estate (CRE)

Create a single online SmartBiz Loans account to pre-qualify

Create an online account with SmartBiz and answer a few questions about your business. You'll discover in about 5 minutes if you pre-qualify for a working capital or debt refinance loan of up to $500,000. This process will not impact your credit score.2

Complete one online application

Upload required documents to our secure online. SmartBiz team members are available to answer any questions you may have and guide you through the process. Following are some of the most commonly requested documents:

  • Personal & Business Tax Returns
  • Personal Financial Statements, required from each individual owning 20% or more of the company
  • Profit and Loss Statement
  • Balance Sheet
  • Collateral

Other documents such as business licenses, articles of incorporation, commercial leases, or franchise agreements, may be requested depending on the particular loan application. An accountant or tax preparer may be able to help gather and file the relevant information.

Match you with the lender most likely to fund

Our experienced financial professionals and unique technology platform match you with the trusted lender in our network most likely to fund your business. About 90% of qualified applications we refer are funded.

Bank approval

​​The bank reviews your application and credit profile to approve your application 2

Loan Funding

Loan proceeds are disbursed. Once the application is approved, funds can be deposited into your bank account in as fast as 7 days.

SBA loan approval guidelines

Contrary to what many people think, the Small Business Administration (SBA) does not typically make loans directly to small business borrowers. Instead, it guarantees up to 90% of these loans to the lending banks that make them in order to reduce the bank's risk in providing low-cost capital to small businesses. In turn, the SBA requires small businesses to provide a comprehensive application package to demonstrate their ability to repay the loan.

The SBA provides an 11-item checklist of documentation required to package the application for an SBA loan. It includes statements of personal history and financials, business financials, ownership and affiliations, business licenses, as well as several other documents. For the full list, head to the SBA's website to learn more. Also, each individual lender adds its own requirements on top of the SBA requirements.
SmartBiz is the #1 online lending network for SBA loans. Its intelligent technology platform streamlines the application process and matches each eligible small business with the preferred SBA lending bank most likely to approve their particular application. To secure an SBA-guaranteed loan, the best strategy in approaching the application is to be well-prepared. The more readily available your relevant documentation is, the faster you can complete the application.
To help you simplify and expedite the application process, SmartBiz uses intelligent automation to request only those documents that are relevant based on your specific application. The system lets you pre-qualify in only five minutes so you know if you are a good candidate for an SBA loan from a bank in the SmartBiz network before most of the paperwork must be submitted. That means you won’t waste time gathering and uploading unnecessary documents.

The SmartBiz process

SmartBiz helps you assemble your SBA loan application before it is sent to one of our preferred SBA banks for review and funding. Approximately 90% of all loans referred to our bank network get funded. Throughout the application process, your dedicated Relationship Manager is available to guide you as you upload the required documentation and provide ongoing feedback on your progress.

Once your application is approved by the bank, funds can be deposited into your bank account in as fast as seven days.

The traditional SBA loan application process can take several months of hard work and still end up with a “no.” Instead, we help reduce the application time and difficulty significantly while increasing the likelihood of getting your application to a “yes.” Find out more information on small business loans and apply today.

Learn more about SBA loans

SBA Loan Overview

Start here and discover more about SBA loans and how they help small businesses.

SBA Loan Requirements

Find out which types of businesses can be eligible for an SBA loan from banks in the SmartBiz network. 

SBA Loan Rates & Fees

Current interest rates, how they work, and other fees and costs associated with SBA loans.

SBA Use of Funds

How you can use SBA loan proceeds to save money and grow your small business.

Have 5 minutes? Apply online

See if you pre-qualify without impacting your credit score.1

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1. We conduct a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, in processing your loan application, the lenders with whom we work will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and happens after your application is in the funding process and matched with a lender who is likely to fund your loan

2. Numbers based on internal reporting and metrics

3. Based on FY2020 SBA loans data released by the SBA for SBA 7(a) loans under $350,000

4. This calculator is a tool meant to help you estimate monthly payment amounts based on the information you enter. The monthly payment provided is an estimate meant for illustrative purposes only, loan sizes, interest rates, and loan terms vary and are determined by the applicant's credit profile.