Whether they are starting a new business, expanding an existing one or simply need additional working capital, many business owners are utilizing credit to grow their businesses. There are many ways to structure financing, but one option that has grown in popularity in recent years is SBA lending.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) is a government agency that supports small businesses through a variety channels, such as education, disaster relief assistance and its most widely known resource: SBA loan programs. The SBA does not provide loans directly, but guarantees default against a specific portion of the loans made by banks and other lenders that follow the SBA guidelines. These loans are intended to assist businesses that may not be able to acquire financing under traditional terms.
The two most popular types of SBA loans are the 504 and 7a programs; both of which can be used by small businesses of all kinds. Money acquired through 504 loans must be used to improve the community and economy. These loans may be used to purchase real estate, finance construction, or purchase equipment with the goal of helping the business to create jobs. Because these loans are applied to the treasury market, interest rates are typically fixed. Loan amounts are usually capped at $5 million.
Financing secured through 7a loans can be used for the same purposes as 504 loans; however, 7a loans may also be used for working capital, to open lines of credit and, in some cases, refinancing. These loans are tied to the prime rate, so interest rates tend to be variable. Loan amounts are typically capped at $1 million. There are advantages to both loan programs, and selecting the right one for your business will depend on many factors, including how much collateral the owner has, how much money is needed and the purpose of the financing, to name a few.
Business owners are using SBA loans for a variety of purposes, including starting a new business, acquiring another business, refinancing, construction, as well as the purchasing of real estate, equipment and supplies.
The SBA does have some requirements that must be met in order to qualify for one of the loan programs, such as limits to the number of employees a business has and the total annual revenue the business makes. The business must also be independently owned and operated. Loan terms like the amount of the loan and the interest rate will vary. Specific requirements will also depend on the industry of the business, type of loan and the project the loan will finance.
Remember, applying for a loan can be a complex process, and there are many financing options available today for businesses. Business owners should talk to their banker to find out if they meet SBA eligibility requirements and determine if SBA loans are the right fit for their business.
Amegy Bank is a leading Texas bank with more than $12 billion in assets. Founded in 1990, Amegy has a strong tradition of relationship banking, local decision making and financial expertise. Amegy specializes in banking businesses of all sizes, and has the resources to provide financing, investment management, treasury management solutions, international banking, as well as other specialized services. Equally important, the Bank offers individuals and families a wide range of depository, lending, mortgage, wealth management, trust and brokerage services. With more than 80 locations across Houston, Dallas and San Antonio, Amegy is dedicated to serving Texas communities, families and businesses. To learn more about Amegy, visit www.amegybank.com.