Getting a business loan after bankruptcy

Increase your chances of approval after bankruptcy with a solid business plan.

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Starting or expanding a business is difficult enough. But if you’ve filed for bankruptcy, your progress could grind to a halt. Lenders don’t want to see low scores or unpaid debt in a potential borrower. Don’t let it dash your hopes, however: There are still some financing options for your business after bankruptcy.

Is it possible to get a business loan after bankruptcy?

Yes. However, your options might differ depending on whether you’ve faced a personal or business bankruptcy. Lenders typically want to know the whole picture behind any bankruptcy listed on your credit report, so attach a brief explanation to your application that details the reason. If you stick to an unemotional account of the facts and how you’ve learned from it, lenders may be more willing to extend a loan despite past bankruptcy.

Lenders often also consider the type of bankruptcy. A personal bankruptcy caused by an accident that left you unable to work is different from a business bankruptcy caused by overextending your resources. The time since your bankruptcy also plays a role: The more time between filing and your application, the more likely you’ve built your credit back up and can show that you’re good for the money you borrow.

Which lenders accept businesses that have filed for bankruptcy?

Every lender has its own requirements when it comes to bankruptcy. While some won’t want to see it on your credit report, these lenders are willing to consider your application even if you’ve declared bankruptcy within the past few years.

LenderIs bankruptcy accepted?
LoanBuilderYes, but the bankruptcy must be discharged from your credit report.
Go to LoanBuilder's site
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OnDeckYes, if filed more than two years ago.
Go to OnDeck Capital's site
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SmartBizYes, if filed more than three years ago.
Go to SmartBiz's site
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Funding CircleYes, if filed more than seven years ago.
Go to Funding Circle's site
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LendingClubYes, but the bankruptcy can’t be recent.
Go to Lending Club's site
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BlueVineYes, if filed more than three years ago.
Go to BlueVine's site
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KabbageIt depends. A bankruptcy may affect your loan terms.
Go to Kabbage Inc.'s site
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FundboxYes. Bankruptcy won’t disqualify your business.
Learn More
FundationIt depends. Bankruptcy may affect your loan terms.
Learn More
Lighter CapitalYes, if filed more than one year ago.Learn more
DealstruckYes, if filed more than two years ago.Learn more

 
 

Can I get an SBA loan after chapter 7 bankruptcy?

Yes, although it can be difficult. If you’re applying for a loan from the Small Business Administration (SBA) 10 years after declaring a chapter 7 bankruptcy, then it likely won’t have an impact on your application. However, if your bankruptcy is more recent, then you may want to include a strong and thorough business plan, as well as a written explanation for your bankruptcy. This might include discussing major events such as a divorce, car accident or life-threatening illness that contributed to you filing.

How can I improve my chances of approval?

You can increase your chances of get approved by taking the time to improve your credit and focusing on the six factors below.

1. Look for secured loans

Secured loans rely less on your credit history and more on the value of your collateral. Because you’re providing security and lowering the lender’s risk, you may increase your chances of approval if you’ve previously face bankruptcy. There are multiple types of secured business loans your business may be eligible for, including equipment financing or invoice factoring.

2. Have a solid business plan

Before setting foot in a bank or starting an online application, make a strong case for why you need this money. Put together a solid business plan that proves to the lender you’re prepared and know exactly how you’re going to use and repay your loan. After a bankruptcy, instilling confidence in your lenders is most important.

3. Limit your outstanding debt

Bankruptcy erases many of your previous debts and obligations, giving you time to sort out your finances and repay any debts that couldn’t be discharged.

For the first few years after bankruptcy, you may have trouble getting credit — lenders may not be confident that you can repay what you borrow. By limiting your outstanding debt, you show lenders that are responsible with money and that any debts you take on are repaid.

4. Explain your previous bankruptcy

Beyond a brief explanation of your bankruptcy on your credit report, consider writing a statement that describes your circumstances overall. Include the reasons that led to default — a divorce, accident or illness, for example — sticking to a factual account without too much emotion and explaining how your circumstances have changed since then. You want to show the lender that you have what it takes to bounce back after bankruptcy and can handle taking on a new business loan.

5. Take your time

While you may want to start rebuilding your credit quickly, you likely won’t find the strongest rates and terms with a fresh bankruptcy on your credit report. The more time that passes, the better you look to lenders. You can rebuild your credit score by paying down debts that weren’t discharged, helping to prove that you’re responsible with your money despite such a large financial setback.

6. Get a cosigner or co-applicant

Some lenders allow you to apply with a cosigner or another applicant if your credit history isn’t strong enough to qualify on your own. There’s a big difference in responsibility between these two roles, though.

A cosigner is responsible for the loan if you default, but they reap none of the credit benefits if you repay on time, whereas a co-applicant is equally entitled to the loan funds and responsible for all payments. Talk about the specific risks before allowing a loved one to sign a contract with you.

Bottom line

There’s hope for your business after you declare bankruptcy. Although it takes time to fix your credit score and prove you have the ability to take on new debts, you can find businesses willing to take a chance with a loan to fund your next venture.

Read our guide to business loans to help you rebound in your next endeavor.

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