SBA 7(a) loan programs are loan products guaranteed by the SBA and offered through financial institutions. They are designed to encourage American small businesses to grow and thrive. There are eight main SBA loan programs:
Details About the Different SBA 7(a) Loan Programs
The SBA 7(a) loan is one of several government-backed loans offered through traditional lending institutions. Small business owners can be eligible for several types of loan programs, but each is designed to fit a specific need as well as promote growth among small American businesses. To see how each loan stacks up against the other, check out our SBA loan comparison page.
SBA 7(a) Standard Loan
Banks and other traditional lending institutions offer the SBA 7(a) standard loan to qualified small business owners. The SBA guarantees the funds up to 85% in some cases. The funds from the 7(a) can be used for nearly any legitimate business purpose. You can purchase equipment, land and real estate, or use the funds for working capital. The maximum loan amount for the SBA 7(a) is $5 million, and there is no minimum.
SBA Express Loan
If you need a loan fast, the SBA Express Loan may be exactly what you’re looking for. The SBA Express Loan is a smaller loan than the 7(a) Standard, but has a much faster turnaround time. As such, the guarantee amount from the SBA is also lower, which means banks are less likely to award small business owners with the Express if they are not well prepared and eligible. An Express loan can be up to $350,000, with no minimum.
7(a) Small Loan
Another option for small business owners looking for funds, but not as much as offered by the 7(a) Standard, is the 7(a) Small Loan. This loan has a maximum of $350,000, and is guaranteed up to 85% in some cases. While the turnaround time of the Small Loan doesn’t compare to the Express Loan, the repayments terms are more favorable to small business owners.
Some businesses have recurring needs for loans. These are often seasonal, and may involve inventory, labor, or materials. The SBA recognizes these needs, and offers the CAPLines program to businesses that qualify. CAPLines have a maximum loan amount of $5 million.
Small businesses that are considered exporters by the SBA can receive expedited government-backed loans. The Export Express program is just that -- a small loan offered to exporters that has a fast turnaround time. Businesses that demonstrate that the funds from the Export Express program would help them export goods can receive up to $500,000 to use for product translations, equipment, inventory, or even real estate and land.
Export Working Capital Program
There are other loan programs for exporters under the SBA. The Export Working Capital Program (EWCP) is made for businesses that need funds for activities related to exports. These loans can be up to $5 million, and the loan maturity is typically 12 months or less. You read that right -- the term for an EWCP loan is usually a year or less.
Businesses that are at least 51% owned by veterans, service members in active duty, or their spouses or widows, can benefit from the Veterans Advantage loan program. The details of the program are modular, and each year the terms change to meet the times. Until September 30, 2018, SBA 7(a) VA loans of up to $125,000 have no fees and an 85% guarantee; loans from $125,000 to $150,000 have a 1% guarantee fee, and loans from $150,000 to $350,000 have a 1.5% guarantee fee, loans from $350,001 to $700,000 have a 3% guarantee fee, loans from $700,001 to $5,000,000 have a 3.5% guarantee fee for the amount of the loan up to $1,000,000, and a 3.75% guaranteed fee for the amount of the loan over $1,000,000.