SBA loan requirements and eligibility

Learn which types of businesses can be eligible for an SBA loan from SmartBiz marketplace banks

$5 million
6.75% - 9.00%*
10 - 25 years

SBA Loan Requirements

Many small businesses from a broad range of industries can be approved for an SBA 7(a) loan. Rather than listing what businesses are considered for approval, the Small Business Administration lists those industries that are excluded.

Excluded businesses:

  • Gambling
  • Life insurance
  • Religious teaching
  • Primarily political and lobbying activities
  • Oil wildcatting
  • Mining
  • Mortgage servicing
  • Real estate development
  • Bail bond
  • Pawn or private clubs

For the detailed list of ineligible businesses, head to the SBA’s website to learn more.

If your business does not fall under one of the excluded categories, the next step is to meet the following common eligibility requirements for an SBA loan.

These are the eligibility requirements to apply for a $30,000 to $350,000 SBA 7(a) Working Capital or Debt Refinance Loan from banks that participate in the SmartBiz marketplace:

  • Time in business must be above 2 years
  • Business owner’s personal credit score must be above 650
  • The business must be U.S. based and owned by U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident who is at least 21 years old
  • No outstanding tax liens
  • No bankruptcies or foreclosures in the past 3 years
  • No recent charge-offs or settlements
  • Current on government-related loans

These are the eligibility requirements to apply for a $500,000 to $5,000,000 SBA 7(a) Commercial Real Estate Loan from banks that participate in the SmartBiz marketplace:

  • Time in business must be above 3 years
  • The business owner’s personal credit score must be above 675
  • The real estate must be majority owner-occupied, i.e. at least 51% of the square footage of the property you’re buying must be occupied by and used by your business
  • Sufficient business and personal cash flow to service all debt payments, demonstrated by 3 years of tax returns and interim financial data
  • No delinquencies and/or defaults on government loans

Typically, businesses approved for an SBA loan from banks that participate in the SmartBiz marketplace have $50,000 to $5 million in annual revenues and 1 to 40 employees. Most are profitable and cash flow positive. All can provide proof that they are able to make the monthly loan payment.

SBA 7(a) Loan - Uses of Proceeds

Depending on the amount you want to borrow, you can use the funds from an SBA 7(a) loan from a SmartBiz marketplace bank for a variety of purposes like refinancing high-cost debt, hiring, inventory, marketing, or purchasing commercial real estate.

Debt Refinancing / Working Capital

$30,000 – $350,000

Loans of this amount can be used for working capital (such as operational expenses, marketing, hiring, etc.), new equipment purchases, and refinancing existing business debt not secured by real estate (such as cash advances, business loans, and equipment leases).

Commercial Real Estate

$500,000 – $5 million

Loans of this amount can be used for the purchase or refinance of commercial real estate that is 51% owner-occupied.

Not eligible for an SBA loan?

Don't meet the requirements to qualify for an SBA loan right now? SmartBiz marketplace banks offer Bank Term loan options as well. We help you apply for the right financing at the right time.

Want to know if you qualify for an SBA loan before you apply? SmartBiz Advisor is an online tool to help you learn how banks evaluate your business and how you can secure an SBA loan. Learn more here

SBA loans are the best deal going

SmartBiz marketplace banks offer the gold standard for business owners who want to grow their small business.


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