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The U. S. Small Business Administration


#how to get a small business loan
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6 Step Guide- How to Get a Business Loan

By Natale Goriel Published: September 04, 2013

Money is the lifeline of any business, so whether you’re starting a business or running an existing one, securing financing is a major factor, especially for small businesses.  Many budding entrepreneurs find the task daunting and don’t even know where to begin.

Here’s a simple yet practical guide on how to go about preparing to apply for a small business loan.

1.    What criteria do banks look for in making small business loans?

Different banks or lending institutions may have different standards, but in general, in order to consider your application for a small business loan, banks will require:

  • The loan must be for a sound business purpose. For SBA-guaranteed loans. the business must be eligible based on size, use of loan proceeds and the nature of the business (no lending, speculating, passive investment, pyramid sales, gambling, etc.)
  • You and your partner(s) are of good character, have experience and good personal and/or business credit history
  • Ability to pay back the loan- reasonable to strong collateral (personal and business assets) is very important. SBA expects the loan to be fully secured, but we will not decline a request to guaranty a loan if the only unfavorable factor is insufficient collateral. And of course, owners must have personal equity investment in the business/skin in the game.

2.    What information will you need?

Different lenders may require more or fewer documents, but in general, you will need:

  • Personal and business credit history
  • Personal and business financial statements for existing and startup businesses and as well as a projected financial statements
  • Strong, detailed business plan (including personal information such as bios, education, etc.)
  • Cash flow projections for at least a year, and
  • Personal guaranties from all principal owners of the business

3.    How can you set yourself up from the beginning to make the process easier? (i.e. accounting systems, etc.)

Be prepared; be thorough; be truthful.

  • Choose your lending institution carefully. Larger banks tend to shy away from small loans as they are less profitable and take the same amount of underwriting and servicing. That doesn’t mean large banks do not make small loans; it is just more difficult.
  • Approach banks or lending institutions you have worked with or are a customer of
  • Explore community banks and Credit Unions
  • Talk to a lending officer and find out exactly what documentation they require
  • Be thorough, bring everything they ask. Many loan applications are denied or face unnecessary hurdles because of incomplete applications.

Even before you start gathering and organizing the information required by lenders to consider your application, you should educate yourself regarding business loans so you can understand and discuss intelligently with the lending officers when the time comes.

4.    What is the typical size of a small business loan?

Small businesses come in many sizes, from a start-up of a one-person company to hundreds of employees, and their financial needs vary accordingly, so “typical” also varies. That said, in the banking industry the median small business loan is about $130,000- $140,000 with highest around $250,000. SBA small business loans range from about $5,000 (microloans) to $5 million (largest guaranteed) with the average loan around $371,000.

5.    How can you get financing to start a business since many banks want to fund growth?

Start-ups are probably the most difficult ventures when it comes to securing financing. Many start-up businesses seek financing from family, friends and credit cards.  If the credit is sound, the business plan strong and you have enough personal resources to invest and collateral to guarantee, smaller, community banks and  other community financial institutions and Credit Unions may consider lending you money.

Your best bet by far is SBA assistance. Begin by visiting SBA’s website. where you will find a wealth of information not only on how to secure a small business loan but equally importantly, other services and training opportunities to help you succeed.

6.    Are there associations that can help?

SBA works closely with a large network of partners that leverage SBA resources and are just one phone call away and ready to provide extensive help.

  • SBA District/Branch Offices – at least one in every state
  • SCORE – (approximately 300 chapters nationwide)
  • SBDCs – Small Business Development Centers; (approximately 900 locations nationwide; associated with higher education institutions (colleges and universities)
  • WBCs – Women’s Business Centers (approximately 100 educational centers nationwide)

The U. S. Small Business Administration


#business loans calculator
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7(a) Loan Amounts, Fees Interest Rates

The specific terms of SBA loans are negotiated between a borrower and an SBA-approved lender. In general, the following provisions apply to all SBA 7(a) loans.

Loan Amounts

7(a) loans have a maximum loan amount of $5 million. SBA does not set a minimum loan amount. The average 7(a) loan amount in fiscal year 2012 was $337,730.

Fees

Loans guaranteed by the SBA are assessed a guarantee fee. This fee is based on the loan’s maturity and the dollar amount guaranteed, not the total loan amount. The lender initially pays the guaranty fee and they have the option to pass that expense on to the borrower at closing. The funds to reimburse the lender can be included in the overall loan proceeds.

On loans under $150,000 made after October 1, 2013, the fees will be set at zero percent. On any loan greater than $150,000 with a maturity of one year or shorter, the fee is 0.25 percent of the guaranteed portion of the loan. On loans with maturities of more than one year, the normal fee is 3 percent of the SBA-guaranteed portion on loans of $150,000 to $700,000, and 3.5 percent on loans of more than $700,000. There is also an additional fee of 0.25 percent on any guaranteed portion of more than $1 million.

Interest Rates

The actual interest rate for a 7(a) loan guaranteed by the SBA is negotiated between the applicant and lender and subject to the SBA maximums. Both fixed and variable interest rate structures are available. The maximum rate is composed of two parts, a base rate and an allowable spread. There are three acceptable base rates (A prime rate published in a daily national newspaper*, London Interbank One Month Prime plus 3 percent and an SBA Peg Rate).

Lenders are allowed to add an additional spread to the base rate to arrive at the final rate. For loans with maturities of shorter than seven years, the maximum spread will be no more than 2.25 percent. For loans with maturities of seven years or more, the maximum spread will be 2.75 percent. The spread on loans of less than $50,000 and loans processed through Express procedures have higher maximums.

*All references to the prime rate refer to the base rate in effect on the first business day of the month the loan application is received by the SBA.

Percentage of Guarantee

SBA can guarantee as much as 85 percent on loans of up to $150,000 and 75 percent on loans of more than $150,000. SBA’s maximum exposure amount is $3,750,000. Thus, if a business receives an SBA-guaranteed loan for $5 million, the maximum guarantee to the lender will be $3,750,000 or 75%. SBA Express loans have a maximum guarantee set at 50 percent.


The Truth About Credit Card Debt.


#credit card debt consolidation
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The Truth About Credit Card Debt

from daveramsey.com on 04 Aug 2009

Myth: Aren’t there positive uses of a credit card? Like rebates and airline miles?

Truth: Responsible use of a credit card does not exist. Credit card debt is a major problem in America.

There is no positive side to credit card use. You will spend more if you use credit cards. Even by paying the bills on time, you are not beating the system! But most families don’t pay on time. The average family today carries $8,000 in credit card debt according to the American Bankers’ Association.

Now let’s talk about the rebates. If you were using a credit card at 5%, you would have had to have spent $80,000 to get $4,000 rebates on new cars that lost $6,000 of value when you drove them off the lot. That is not a good deal!

Cash vs. Credit Cards

When you pay cash, you can “feel” the money leaving you. This is not true with credit cards. Flipping a credit card up on a counter registers nothing emotionally. A study of credit card use at McDonald s found that people spent 47% more when using credit instead of cash. This is money you could have saved!

If you “have to” use plastic, I suggest a debit card. I use them for travel and the occasional convenience of ordering something over the Internet or phone. Other than that, I use cash.

Personal finance is 80% behavior. You need to cut out habits that make you spend more. You do not build wealth with credit cards. Use common sense. When you play with a multi-billion dollar industry and you think you’re going to win at their game, you are naive. You cannot beat the credit card companies.

Start living on cash today! Dave’s budgeting forms are a great, free way to begin.

Save $500 or more on your insurance by using Dave’s Endorsed Local Provider .


The U. S. Small Business Administration


#unsecured business loan
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Which Unsecured Business Lines of Credit are Best for Your Business?

By Marco Carbajo Published: May 21, 2014

Whether you’ve been in business for a couple of weeks or five years, access to cash is a crucial element of survival for a business. When the going gets tough, a business can fail unless it has access to cash on demand.

For business owners, getting unsecured business lines of credit is by far the best choice for having that cash on demand. The fact is that business owners want access to funds – whenever they need it, at a competitive rate and with flexible payment options. The National Federation of Independent Businesses says, “Think of it as an insurance policy that never needs to be paid until you need it.”

It’s important to note there are two main types of unsecured business lines of credit one needs to consider: traditional and non-traditional.

So how do you determine which one is best for your business?

The traditional business line of credit issued by a bank calls for a substantial amount of documentation in order to qualify such as financials, personal tax returns, business tax returns, bank account information, business registration documents, etc.

In addition, once a line is issued an annual financial review is required to maintain the line of credit. While a traditional credit line offers various benefits such as check-writing privileges, it tends to be the most difficult line of credit to obtain and maintain.

In a recent survey conducted by the National Small Business Association, “29 percent of small business owners report having their lines of credit reduced in the last four years and nearly 1 in 10 had their line of credit called in early by the bank.”

In my opinion, a non-traditional line of credit in the form of business credit cards are the best unsecured business lines of credit a company can get. It provides the fast access to cash and payment flexibility associated with a traditional credit line but without all the drawbacks.

Qualifying for this type of revolving credit line is FICO® driven and doesn’t require the yearly reviews, excessive documentation and level of scrutiny that comes with a traditional credit line.

Some of the advantages of non-traditional business lines of credit are as follows:

1) Access to cash quickly – With unsecured business credit cards . you can utilize as much or as little credit from your line as you want to, anytime and anywhere

2) High credit limits – Business credit cards carry high credit limits, making it extremely convenient to finance larger business purchases. Many cards even offer 0% APR for the first 12 months.

2) Flexibility – With business credit cards you have flexible payment options compared to a fixed month-to-month payment that comes with a business loan. When you tap into your credit line, you have three options every month. You could pay the full amount due, pay at least a minimal portion of the balance or pay greater than the minimum amount due.

3) True separation – Business credit cards enable business owners to separate personal and business expenses while benefiting from business credit reporting. This makes it possible for business owners to establish the creditworthiness of the business itself.

4) Personal credit protection – Small business credit cards that report solely to the business credit agencies allow business owners to protect their personal credit ratings while building their business credit.

While a non-traditional business credit line provides all the convenience and flexibility a business needs, there are some negative aspects to consider. The major drawback is the ability for a business to accumulate debt. Without a fixed payment schedule, business owners may be tempted to simply pay the minimum monthly payment on its outstanding balances. By carrying debt, compound interest can really add up, especially if a company carries large balances.

No matter what type of unsecured business lines of credit you decide to obtain for your business, it’s crucial to manage any debt responsibly. Traditional and non-traditional business lines of credit are essential tools for any business to have in its financial arsenal.