Small Business Loan Programs from the SBA

Money for a Small Business

Owner of a music store standing in front of his guitar collection
Small Business. Nazra Zahri / Getty Images

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loan programs lend money to small businesses unable to secure financing on reasonable terms through normal lending channels.

The SBA loan programs are operated through private-sector lenders that provide loans which are, in turn, guaranteed by the SBA -- the agency has no funds for direct lending or grants. Most private lenders (banks, credit unions, etc.) are familiar with SBA loan programs so interested applicants should contact their local lender for further information and assistance in the SBA loan application process. 

Here you will find brief descriptions of the primary loan programs available through funding from the U.S. Small Business Association (SBA). For detailed information, including qualifications, allowable uses of funds and interest rates, click on "Complete loan information from SBA."

7(a) Loan Guaranty Program

One of the SBA's primary loan programs, 7(a) offers loans of up to $2,000,000. (The maximum dollar amount the SBA can guaranty is generally $1 million.)

For complete information on the 7(a) Loan Program, visit the SBA web site.

Certified Development Company (CDC), a 504 Loan Program

Provides long-term, fixed-rate financing to small businesses to acquire real estate or machinery or equipment for expansion or modernization. Typically a 504 project includes a loan secured from a private-sector lender with a senior lien, a loan secured from a CDC (funded by a 100 percent SBA-guaranteed debenture) with a junior lien covering up to 40 percent of the total cost, and a contribution of at least 10 percent equity from the borrower.

For complete information on Certified Development Company Loans, visit the SBA web site.

Microloan Program

The Microloan program offers loans of up to $35,000 to qualified start-up, newly established, or growing small business concerns. Loans are arranged through nonprofit community based lenders (intermediaries) which, in turn, make loans to eligible borrowers. The entire Microloan process is handled on the local level, but you must go to one of the local lenders to apply.

Disaster Recovery Loans

If you are in a declared disaster area and are the victim of a disaster, you may be eligible for financial assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration - even if you don't own a business. As a homeowner, renter and/or personal-property owner, you may apply to the SBA for a loan to help you recover from a disaster.

For complete information on Disaster Recovery Loans, visit the SBA web site.

Other SBA Loans

For complete information on the loan programs shown above, as well as other more specialized loans available through the SBA, see: Loans, Grants and Funding - from the SBA.

Veterans & Disabled Persons?

Unfortunately, the SBA has not been granted funds to offer special loan programs to assist either veterans or disabled persons. However, individuals of both groups are eligible for all SBA loan guaranty programs. In addition, veterans are eligible for special consideration under SBA's guaranty loan programs. The special consideration given veterans includes: Liaison personnel in each field office; In-depth management counseling and training assistance; and, Prompt and priority processing of any loan application.

SBA Loan Checklist

Like any loan, an application for a loan guaranteed by the U.S. Small Business Administration involves forms and documentation. When you apply for an SBA loan to start or expand a small business, you will be required to provide these forms and documentation.