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Best SBA loans and lenders

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

Editor's choice: OnDeck business lines of credit

  • Business loan amounts up to $250k
  • Repayment terms up to 18 months
  • $100k in annual revenue required
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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. This list is regularly updated. Most recently, we added Wells Fargo as our pick for the best SBA loan from a bank.

9 best SBA lenders

SmartBiz business loans


Finder rating 4.5 / 5
★★★★★

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on SmartBiz's secure site

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.

Main Street Finance Group business cash advances

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.

Lendio business loans


Finder rating 4.75 / 5
★★★★★

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on Lendio's secure site

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.

Seek Business Capital loans


Finder rating 4.5 / 5
★★★★★

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.

Newtek business loans


Finder rating 3.65 / 5
★★★★★

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.

National Business Capital business loans

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.

Wells Fargo business loans


Finder rating 4 / 5
★★★★★

Wells Fargo offers a wide range of SBA loan programs, including 7(a), 504 and express loans. It’s an SBA preferred lender and is one of the most active 7(a) lenders in the country. If you already have an account, you can also apply online.

Chase business term loans


Finder rating 3 / 5
★★★★★

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.

Celtic Bank SBA 7(a) loans


Finder rating 3.6 / 5
★★★★★

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.

Summary of best SBA lenders

SmartBiz

A simplified application

A connection service that’s entirely SBA preferred lenders and offers loan packaging.

Main Street Finance Group

Businesses that have struggled to qualify

It works with borrowers to improve finances and credit to increase chances of approval.

Lendio

Comparing multiple SBA lenders

It has a network of over 75 providers that makes it easy to compare offers from multiple SBA lenders.

Seek Business Capital

Startups and young businesses

A network that specializes in helping startups find financing, and that offers consulting services.

Newtek

Online SBA loans

It’s the only online lender to make the SBA’s top 10 list of active 7(a) lenders.

National Business Capital

A quick turnaround

It funds SBA loans in as little as 45 days — and offers bridge loans to tide you over.

Wells Fargo

Bank loans

One of the most active SBA lenders and offers a range of options to businesses of all sizes.

Chase

Buying commercial real estate

Financing for up to 90% of the cost of your project with some of the highest 504 loan out there.

Celtic Bank

Funding large projects

It’s consistently one of the most active SBA 7(a) lenders in the country with an average 7(a) loan size close to $1 million.

6 most active SBA lenders in 2021

These lenders offered more financing through the SBA 7(a) program than any other provider out there. Numbers are slightly lower this year, and doesn't include numbers from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) — even though it's technically a 7(a) loan.

Live Oak Bank

$369,181,900

Working with an industry specialist to a fund large project or refinance debt

Huntington National Bank

$150,627,600

SBA loans on the smaller end — these start at $5,000

Newtek Small Business Finance

$146,855,500

Online SBA loans

Celtic Bank

$132,317,500

Online and offline expert assistance with the application

Byline Bank

$117,290,800

Lower-than-average collateral requirements, especially on large SBA loans

Wells Fargo

$114,406,300

SBA funding from a national bank

Source: 100 most active SBA 7(a) lenders, SBA.gov

The most active lenders aren’t necessarily the best choice for all small businessses. But they may be faster at processing applications, especially if you're looking for a loan closer to $5 million.

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.

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.

Recap: Best SBA lenders

  1. SmartBiz: Best for a simplified SBA application
  2. Main Street Finance Group: Best for businesses that have struggled to qualify
  3. Lendio: Best for comparing multiple SBA lenders
  4. Seek Business Capital: Best for startups
  5. Newtek: Best for online SBA loans
  6. National Business Capital: Best for quick turnaround
  7. Wells Fargo: Best for SBA loans from a bank
  8. Chase: Best for buying commercial real estate
  9. Celtic Bank: Best for funding large projects

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.

Name Product Filter Values Loan amount APR Requirements

Biz2Credit business loans
Finder Rating: 3.75 / 5: ★★★★★

Biz2Credit business loans
$25,000 – $250,000
Starting from 8.99%
6+ months in business; $150,000+ monthly revenue; 500+ credit score
Get only the capital you need through secure, prescreened lenders with this highly rated company offering SBA, expansion, working capital and other loans.

OnDeck short-term loans
Finder Rating: 4.6 / 5: ★★★★★

OnDeck short-term loans
$5,000 – $250,000
As low as 35%
600+ personal credit score, 1 year in business, $100,000+ annual revenue, active business checking account
A leading online business lender offering flexible financing at competitive fixed rates.

Fora Financial business loans
Finder Rating: 4.1 / 5: ★★★★★

Fora Financial business loans
$5,000 – $500,000
Varies
6+ months in business, $12,000+ monthly revenue, no open bankruptcies
Get qualified for funding in minutes for up to $500,000 without affecting your credit score. Best for companies with at least six figures in annual revenue.

Lendio business loans
Finder Rating: 4.75 / 5: ★★★★★

Lendio business loans
$500 – $5,000,000
Starting at 6%
Operate business in US or Canada, have a business bank account, 560+ personal credit score
Submit one simple application to potentially get offers from a network of over 300 legit business lenders.

ROK Financial business loans
Finder Rating: 4.7 / 5: ★★★★★

ROK Financial business loans
$10,000 – $5,000,000
Starting at 6%
Eligibility criteria 3+ months in business, $15,000+ in monthly gross sales or $180,000+ in annual sales
A connection service for all types of businesses — even startups.
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