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Here Are 10 of the Best SBA Lenders for Small Business Financing

By Roy Rasmussen Reviewed By Mike Lucas
By Roy Rasmussen
By Roy Rasmussen Reviewed By Mike Lucas

How do you find the best Small Business Administration (SBA) lenders for small business loans? We’ve put together a list of 10 top lenders for you. 

Our SBA lenders list is culled from the most active lenders for the SBA’s primary 7(a) loan program. After reviewing some general guidelines for what to look for in an SBA lender, we’ll look at our list of lenders, what types of SBA loans they provide and what times of limits, terms and rates they offer.

The Best SBA Lenders for Small Business: What to Look for in a Provider

The SBA’s loan programs are geared toward making financing available to small businesses that may have difficulty obtaining standard loans. The SBA doesn’t provide funding directly to businesses. Rather, it works through a network of approved lenders who have agreed to abide by regulations such as interest rate caps. The best SBA lenders are classified as preferred lenders who are authorized to approve loans without direct SBA review, which can speed up the approval process.

When looking for the best SBA lenders for small business, consider:

  • Which types of SBA loans do they provide?
  • What are their loan amount limits?
  • What terms do they provide?
  • How high are their interest rates?
  • What are their qualifying criteria for approval?
  • How easy is their application process?
  • Are they identified as a preferred lender?
  • How long is their loan turnaround time?
  • What do consumers’ online SBA loan reviews say about their services?
  • Do they have branch locations near you?

The SBA loan application process is similar to that you would use for other types of loans. It normally takes 60 to 90 days, unless you are working with a preferred lender who can expedite the process. The lenders reviewed below generally are preferred lenders.

Here’s our list of the best SBA lenders for small business.

A figure labeled “SBA Lender” hands a sack of cash to another figure labeled “Business Owner.”

1. Live Oak Banking Co.

Live Oak Bank leads the ranks of top SBA lenders measured in total amount of 7(a) loans approved. The bank provides SBA 7(a) and SBA 504 loans. Through the internet, Live Oak Bank works with borrowers in all 50 states, placing it in the front ranks of online SBA lenders. However, the bank lacks local branch offices outside their headquarters in Wilmington, N.C., a difference between it and some of the other lenders on the list.

Live Oak Bank provides 7(a) loans of up to $5 million, with repayment terms as long as 25 years, variable interest rates, standard 10% down payments, personal guarantee requirements of 20%, minimal collateral requirements and no prepayment penalties for loans with terms of 15 years or less. The bank provides 504 loans of up to $15 million with fixed or floating interest rates and 10% down payments.

2. Huntington National Bank

Based in Columbus, Ohio, Huntington National Bank tops local SBA lenders for a region spanning Illinois to Pennsylvania, a position which has made them the country’s biggest SBA 7(a) loan originator as measured by volume

SBA loan offerings include SBA 7(a) loans, 504 loans, SBA Express loans and its Lift Local Business loan program, which is designed for racial and ethnic minorities, women and military veterans. Huntington’s limits, terms and rates vary with the type of loan involved.

3. Celtic Bank Corp.

Celtic Bank, based in Salt Lake City, features several SBA loan programs. The bank offers 7(a) loans, of up to $5 million with terms as long as 25 years and rates starting from prime plus 2.75%. 

Celtic Bank extends SBA Express loans of up to $150,000 with terms as long as 10 years and rates of prime plus 2.75% and lower. 

The bank provides 504 loans offering as high as $5 million with terms as long as 20 years at long-term fixed interest rates. 

Celtic Bank’s website provides digital tools you can use to estimate down payments and monthly payments.

4. Byline Bank

Byline Bank is based in Chicago, which has helped it carve out a niche topping the best lenders for SBA loans in Illinois and Wisconsin. They extend SBA 7(a) loans, SBA 504 loans and SBA CAPLines designed for businesses with varying revenue cycles. Byline also provides loans for rural businesses through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Business and Industry (B&I) loan program.

Byline provides SBA 7(a) loans with limits up to $5 million, with terms available for as long as 25 years for real estate loans and 15 years for other purposes. Byline’s SBA 504 loans feature fixed-rate interest rates for loans in the range of $1.5 million to $10 million, with terms as long as 25 years for real estate loans and 10 years for machinery and equipment loans. CAPLines loans have limits of $5 million with terms ranging from 12 months to 10 years.

5. Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo is based in San Francisco with branches throughout the U.S. The big bank provides SBA 7(a) and SBA 504 loans intended for companies with a net worth less than $15 million and an average net income of less than $5 million. They offer 7(a) loans with limits of up to $5 million at either fixed or variable interest rates, available with terms as long as 25 years for commercial real estate loans and 10 years for other purposes.

Their 504 loans are available for limits as high as $6,500,000 for the portion guaranteed by Wells Fargo and as high as $5 million for the portion guaranteed by a Certified Development Company, an SBA-certified nonprofit supporting economic community development. Interest rates can be fixed or variable. Terms are as long as 25 years for commercial real estate loans and 10 years for machinery and equipment loans.

6. Ready Capital

Readycap Lending, a subsidiary of nonbank real estate and small business lender Ready Capital, is based in New Providence, N.J., with offices in New Jersey, New York and Texas and satellites throughout the U.S. Readycap provide SBA 7(a) loans in amounts from $350,000 to $5 million at competitive rates, with flexible terms of up to 25 years for loans involving real estate and 10 years for other loans. They require a minimum credit score of 680.

Readycap also offers 7(a) loans for veterans in amounts of $350,000 to $5 million for terms up to 25 years.

7. Enterprise Bank & Trust

Enterprise Bank & Trust is based in Clayton, Mo., and has branches in Missouri. The lender offers a variety of SBA loan products, including:

  • SBA 7(a) loans
  • SBA 504 loans up to $5 million
  • SBA Express Program loans up to $350,000
  • SBA Export Express loans up to $500,000
  • CAPLines loans up to $5 million

Enterprise Bank & Trust offers flexible terms and favorable interest rates with approvals in as little as 48 hours and funding in as little as 30 days.

A bank has a big sign on the window that reads “SBA Lender.”

8. KeyBank

KeyBank is based in Cleveland and has branches throughout the U.S. in the Midwest, Northeast, Florida, West and Alaska. 

Their range of SBA products includes:

  • SBA 7(a) loans for up to $5 million
  • SBA 504 loans for $100,000 to $12 million
  • Working capital CAPLines for up to $1 million
  • SBA Express loans for up to $350,000
  • SBA International Trade loans for up to $5 million
  • SBA Export Express loans for up to $500,000
  • SBA 7(a) Small loans for up to $350,000

KeyBank offers SBA loans through its offices in the following states:

  • Alaska
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • New Jersey
  • New Hampshire
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Washington

Their other locations offer other types of small business financing.

9. U.S. Bank

U.S. Bank is based in Minneapolis and operates branches in 26 states. Its SBA loan products include:

  • SBA 7(a) business loans for amounts up to $5 million with terms up to 10 years for business acquisition, equipment or tenant improvement and terms up to 7 years for working capital and inventory
  • SBA 7(a) real estate loans for amounts up to $5 million with an additional $2 million available in direct funding from U.S. Bank and terms up to 25 years
  • SBA 504 real estate loans for amounts up to $12.375 million with loan terms of 25 years from U.S. Bank or Certified Development Companies or 10 years for equipment term loans

U.S. Bank offers expedited loan processes with reduced paperwork for companies that have been in business less than 2 years.

10. Commonwealth Business Bank

Commonwealth Business Bank (CBB) is based in Los Angeles and has 8 branches in California and Texas. 

It offers: 

  • SBA 7(a) loans of up to $5 million for terms of 5 to 25 years at variable interest rates
  • SBA 504 loans of up to $20 million for terms of 10 to 25 years at fixed interest rates

CBB offers a simple lending process and quick turnaround time.

Weigh Your SBA Lending Options

All of the lenders reviewed above represent excellent SBA loan resources. They are among the best SBA lenders for small business. Which lender is right for you will depend on variables such as what type of loan you need, where you’re located and what your credit score is. 

Fast Capital 360 can help match you with top SBA loan lenders who meet your needs and qualifying information. Take a few minutes to fill out our free, no-obligation prequalifying form to see your loan options.

Roy Rasmussen Contributing Writer for Fast Capital 360
Roy is a respected, published author on topics including business coaching, small business management and business automation as well as an expert business plan writer and strategist.
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