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Best SBA lenders

Our top picks for government-backed loans from banks, connection services and online lenders.

Updated

Fact checked

Finding the right Small Business Administration (SBA) lender can set your business up for success. Some can even save you time by helping with the notoriously complicated SBA loan application.

When compiling our list of the best SBA loan providers, we first confirmed each lender’s legitimacy, business practices and website security. We then analyzed each lender based on the variety of SBA loans offered, range of loan amounts, rates and terms, and how easy it is to apply. We also considered factors such as how much these lenders typically fund in SBA loans and if they specialize in SBA financing.

Customer reviews on sites like Trustpilot and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) factored into our decision as well.

8 best SBA lenders

SmartBiz logo
Finder Rating: 4.5 / 5

★★★★★

Apply now
on SmartBiz's secure site

Best for a simplified SBA application: SmartBiz

650
Min. Credit Score
Yes
Preferred lender
Yes
Online application
SmartBiz is one of the top SBA connection services and works with a wide range of lenders that offer 7(a) loans. You can prequalify in a few minutes and get your funds in as little as a week after finishing the application — though it can take longer for larger amounts. It charges a referral and packaging fee in exchange for finding your business a lender and doing some of the more time-consuming paperwork for you. While it might cost more, it takes less time.
Pros
  • Potential to get funds in just a week
  • Does the time-consuming paperwork for you
  • Partners with SBA Preferred Lenders
Cons
  • Referral and packaging fees
  • Good credit required
  • Must be in business at least two years
Min. Loan Amount $30,000
APR 4.75% to 7.00%
Interest Rate Type Variable
Min. Credit Score 650
Main Street Finance Group Business Loans logo
Finder Rating: 3.15 / 5

★★★★★

Apply now
on Main Street Finance Group Business Loans's secure site

Best for businesses that have struggled to qualify: Main Street Finance Group Business Loans

N/A
Min. Credit Score
No
Preferred lender
No
Online application
Main Street specializes in helping small businesses that struggled to qualify for an SBA loan in the past or didn’t think it was even an option. It works with you on improving your business’s finances and your own personal credit score to increase your chances of approval. This means it could take up to a year to get your SBA loan, though Main Street allows you to combine it with its bridge loans to keep your business afloat in the meantime.
Pros
  • No minimum credit score requirement
  • Can help improve business finances
Cons
  • Turnaround can take a year or more
  • $10,000 monthly revenue requirement
Min. Loan Amount $5,000
APR Varies
Interest Rate Type Fixed
Min. Credit Score N/A
Lendio logo
Finder Rating: 4.12 / 5

★★★★★

Apply now
on Lendio's secure site

Best for comparing multiple SBA lenders: Lendio

675
Min. Credit Score
No
Preferred lender
Yes
Online application
Lendio is an online connection service that partners with lenders that offer a slew of SBA financing options, including loans through the 7(a), 504 and Express programs. And while there is technically no cost to use Lendio to compare your business loan options, you may pay an origination fee to Lendio once your loan has been funded.
Pros
  • Claims to offer financing in just 24 hours
  • Compare offers from multiple lenders at once
Cons
  • May pay an origination fee
Min. Loan Amount $500
APR Starting at 6%
Interest Rate Type Variable
Min. Credit Score 675
Seek Business Capital logo
Finder Rating: 3.78 / 5

★★★★★

Apply now
on Seek Business Capital's secure site

Best for startups and young businesses: Seek Business Capital

680
Min. Credit Score
No
Preferred lender
Yes
Online application
As a business loan connection and consulting service, Seek Business Capital specializes in connecting startups to funding — including SBA loans. It’s not for businesses that haven’t opened their doors yet, though. You’ll need to be up and running for at least six months to qualify. And it's one of the slowest lenders on this list — it can take up to six months to get your funds.
Pros
  • Borrow up to $350,000
  • Open to businesses just 6 months old
Cons
  • Only offers SBA Express loans
  • Takes 3 to 6 months to get funds
Min. Loan Amount $5,000
APR Varies by lender
Interest Rate Type Fixed
Min. Credit Score 680

Best for online SBA lenders: Newtek business loans

600
Min. Credit Score
Yes
Preferred lender
Yes
Online application
Newtek is the only online lender that ranks in the top 10 list of the SBA’s most active 7(a) lenders. It offers financing up to $10 million with terms as long as 25 years. Instead of having business owners apply for an SBA loan specifically, it has you prequalify for a term loan, line of credit or commercial real estate loan. You then discuss your options with a loan specialist to decide if an SBA loan or other type of financing is the best fit. It’s not a good choice for startups, though: Your business must be around for at least two years to qualify.
Pros
  • Large maximum loan amount of $10 million
  • 24/7 online support
  • SBA Preferred Lender
Cons
  • Must be in business 2+ years
  • May need to provide collateral
  • Can take 2 weeks to find out if you’re approved
Min. Loan Amount $10,000
APR Starting at 6%
Interest Rate Type Variable
Min. Credit Score 600

Best for quick turnaround: National Business Capital Business Loans

300
Min. Credit Score
No
Preferred lender
Yes
Online application
National Business Capital has a unique approach to SBA funding that cuts the turnaround from six months to as few as 45 days. And while you’re waiting for your government-backed loan to come in, it works with over 75 lenders to help you find bridge financing in the meantime. But you’ll need to have a credit score of at least 685 to qualify. And it’s not open to fledgling companies just getting off the ground.
Pros
  • Get SBA funding in as little as 45 days
  • Access bridge financing while you wait
Cons
  • Good credit required
  • Need to bring in $120K+ a year
  • Only for businesses 2+ years old
Min. Loan Amount $10,000
APR Varies
Interest Rate Type Fixed
Min. Credit Score 300

Best for buying commercial real estate: Chase Business Term Loans

N/A
Min. Credit Score
Yes
Preferred lender
No
Online application
You can borrow up to $12.5 million through the SBA 504 program — making Chase a great choice if you plan on expanding your physical locations. It also allows you to finance up to 90% of the cost of your project with extended loan terms.
Pros
  • Borrow up to $12.5 million
  • SBA Preferred Lender
Cons
  • Limited information available online
Min. Loan Amount $5,000
APR Varies by business
Interest Rate Type Fixed
Min. Credit Score N/A

Best for funding large projects: Celtic Bank SBA 7(a) loans

N/A
Min. Credit Score
Yes
Preferred lender
Yes
Online application
You may not have heard of Celtic Bank, but this Utah-based provider consistently earns a top spot on the SBA’s list of most active 7(a) lenders. It offers up to $10 million for loans issued under the 504 program, and its 7(a) loans go up to $5 million. But if you want to visit a branch, you’re out of luck if you don’t live in Salt Lake City.
Pros
  • Large loan amounts available
  • Relatively quick turnaround
  • SBA Preferred Lender
Cons
  • Only one branch in Utah
  • Not open to gas stations, convenience stores and hospitality businesses
Min. Loan Amount $350,001
APR Varies
Interest Rate Type Fixed
Min. Credit Score N/A

How to find the best SBA lender for your business

Ready to begin your search for an SBA lender? Here are some pointers to find the right one for your business.

  • Make sure your business qualifies. Qualifying for an SBA loan might not be as easy as you think. Make sure your business is eligible for an SBA loan in the first place before you start comparing lenders.
  • Research the different types of SBA programs. The 7(a) program is the most popular, but that also means more competition. You might want to look into the 504 or Microloan programs if 7(a) isn’t an exact fit for your small business.
  • Nail down your priorities. Decide what matters to your business most and let that guide you when comparing lenders. Do you have time to apply on your own, or do you want to pay a lender to package the application? How long can your business afford to wait?
  • Don’t limit yourself to banks. Going directly to a bank might be a popular choice, but banks aren’t the only SBA lenders out there. An online lender might be a better fit for smaller businesses, as can using a service like SmartBiz.

How much do SBA loans cost?

SBA loans are known for being inexpensive. That’s because the SBA sets limits to how much lenders can charge in interest and fees. Within those limits, lenders have some flexibility. They can decide whether to offer your business fixed or variable rates and the exact rate you qualify for.

Read our page on SBA loan rates to find out what rates to expect with each program.

Top 100 most active SBA lenders

Want even more options? Comb through the SBA’s list of the 100 most active 7(a) lenders as of September 30, 2019. Lenders are organized by how much they funded in 7(a) loans, not how many businesses were approved.

Alternatives to an SBA loan

SBA loans are notoriously difficult to qualify for and may take months to fund. If your business doesn’t qualify — or if you simply need fast access to funds — consider these alternatives:

  • Business term loans. Most SBA loans are term loans — but backed by the federal government. If your business doesn’t meet the rigid requirements set by the SBA, it may still qualify for a term loan offered by a bank, credit union or online lender.
  • Business lines of credit. If your business needs consistent access to funds, consider a line of credit. These have lower rates than business credit cards, and many can be secured with your business’s assets, making it easier to qualify for than an SBA loan.
  • Business credit cards. Business credit cards are also helpful for businesses that need frequent, quick access to funds. But while they give you access to rewards, they carry higher APRs than business term loans and lines of credit.
  • Short-term loans. A short-term business loan is typically easier for businesses with less revenue to qualify for. However, they may require weekly repayments and have high rates — so ensure your business has the ability to repay before applying.

Bottom line

There’s no one best SBA lender for all small businesses. Banks could be a better choice for established businesses looking for a large amount of funds. But online lenders and connection services tend to be quicker and have more forgiving eligibility requirements. There’s also a chance that an SBA loan isn’t right for your small business at all.

You can learn more about your financing options by checking out our comprehensive guide to business loans.

Find other business loans available today

These lenders are separate from the SBA loan program and offer private loans for businesses. For quick results tailored to your business, you may want to consider one of these lenders to bridge gaps in funding.

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Filter Values Loan amount Starting APR Requirements
LendingClub small business loans
$5,000 – $500,000
9.77%
12+ months in business, $50,000+ in annual sales, no bankruptcies or tax liens, at least 20% ownership of the business, fair personal credit score or better
With loan terms that vary from 1 to 5 years, enjoy fixed monthly payments and no prepayment penalties through this award-winning lender.
Fora Financial Business Loans
$5,000 – $500,000
6+ months in business, $12,000+ monthly revenue, no open bankruptcies
No minimum credit score requirement and early repayment discounts for qualifying borrowers.
Fundera
$2,500 – $5,000,000
7%
$300,000+ of annual revenue, 680+ personal credit score, in business for 3+ years
Get connected with short-term funding, SBA loans, lines of credit and more.
Become business loan marketplace
$5,000 – $500,000
7.5%
At least 3 months in business with $10,000 in monthly revenue or at least 6 months in business with $3,000 in monthly revenue.
Compare loan offers from top lenders using this marketplace. It’s free & won’t affect your credit.
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