At some stage, business owners are ready to launch and take the next steps to growing their business. In many cases, financing is needed to get to that next level. It’s essential for business owners to have knowledge of the variety of financing options available. For businesses just getting started or those looking to grow, a government-backed loan from the Small Business Administration (SBA) may make the most sense.
With an SBA loan, borrowers may qualify for lower down payments — as low as 10 percent. Through the SBA 504 loan program, borrowers can purchase real estate for company operations with less money down than conventional (non-SBA) loans. The ability to provide less money down preserves working capital for company operations.
The borrower will benefit from lower debt service requirements as a result of longer repayment terms. Using SBA terms, borrowers can obtain financing for working capital for up to seven years, business purchases up to 10 years and real estate up to 25 years. Longer loan repayment terms help preserve the company’s cash flow, providing additional working capital for the business.
Under SBA rules, banks have flexible collateral parameters, where the lack of collateral is not the sole reason to decline the loan. As a result, service-based, retail and cash-based business owners are able to qualify for loans if their cash flow can support loan repayment.
SBA loans have competitive interest rates and may be fixed for up to 20 years. With the ability to fix interest rates through loan maturity, SBA loans can protect borrowers’ cash flow from higher future loan payments that may arise when rates increase.
With Flexible Reporting Requirements, SBA loans allow businesses to focus on their operations and maintaining fewer of the bank’s loan agreement requirements. The loan agreements for non-SBA loans contain provisions for financial reporting as well as loan covenants that must be maintained. SBA loan agreements contain fewer requirements, which simplifies loan compliance for borrowers.
SBA loans have been around since 1953, but many changes have been made over the last decade. Altogether, these changes have resulted in shorter and simpler application processing. A close working relationship with your banker is key for helping you navigate the SBA loan process. Borrowers who carefully consider the SBA loan program often find that SBA loans are better options and appreciate their banker considering appropriate solutions for meeting their needs.
Karen Leckie is a Senior Vice President and a Private Banker in San Antonio for Amegy Bank, a division of ZB, N.A. Member FDIC. An experienced banker, Leckie specializes in the healthcare industry. She meets regularly with healthcare experts to stay on top of issues and industry changes that impact the healthcare business. Her goal is to offer clients one-on-one, personalized solutions and comprehensive service at any time. Amegy Bank is a Preferred SBA Lender, the highest designation awarded by the SBA. For more information, please contact Karen at 210-343-4558 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.