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SBA Loan Programs

All 13 Programs, Explained
Learn all the types of SBA loans in this ultimate guide.

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    SBA Loan Programs: Get All the Details

    SBA loan programs are the different setups through which the SBA facilitates small business lending. Though all SBA loan programs will offer affordable business funding, different SBA loan programs offer a variety of funding possibilities based on your business’s history, the amount of capital you need, and how you plan to use the funds.

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    Here’s a quick look into all of the available SBA loan programs:

    1. Standard 7(a) Loan Program. 

    The SBA’s most popular and most general loan program, good for working capital.

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    2. Microloan Program. 

    Intended for smaller businesses who need up to $50,000 for working capital.

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    3. CDC/504 Loan Program. 

    The SBA’s version of a commercial real estate loan.

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    4. 7(a) Small Loan. 

    A 7(a) loan up to $350,000 that’s typically faster to fund.

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    5. SBA Express Loan. 

    SBA loans that come with a 36-hour approval turnaround time.

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    6. SBA Export Express. 

    SBA loans for businesses that need to finance export needs at a fast turnaround time.

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    7. Export Working Capital. 

    Short-term loans up to $5 million for export businesses.

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    8. Veteran’s Advantage. 

    SBA loans specifically for veterans, up to $350,000 in capital.

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    9. CAPLines

    The SBA’s version of a business line of credit.

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    10. Home and Personal Property SBA Disaster Loans. 

    Offer up to $200,000 for repairing personal property.

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    11. Business Physical SBA Disaster Loans

    Offer up to $2 million for repairing business property.

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    12. Economic Injury SBA Disaster Loans.

    Funding for post-disaster slow business.

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    13. Military Reservists Economic Injury SBA Disaster Loans. 

    Loans for businesses with a key employed called for active duty.

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    What Are SBA Loan Programs?

    Though how an SBA loan works will vary from loan program to loan program, a hallmark of SBA loans is that they offer low-rate, long-term funding. SBA loans have some of the lowest interest rates that a business owner can find. And long repayment terms translate to manageable monthly payments. Plus, because most SBA loan programs will mean lessened risk for lenders in some form or fashion, SBA lenders lend more to small businesses. Together, participating lenders issued over $113 billion in SBA loans in the SBA’s fiscal 2017 year.

    SBA loan programs have some drawbacks as well. Qualifying for an SBA loan is tough—these loans go only to the most creditworthy of borrowers. Plus, getting an SBA loan takes patience. The average loan processing time is 4 to 6 weeks, even with a specialist like Fundera helping you with your application. These loan programs are best for borrowers who don’t have an immediate need for funds (if you need capital right away, try other quick business loan options).

    It’s also important to note that, while we go into the most popular SBA loan programs, there are many programs that the SBA offers for different entrepreneurs. They help facilitate SBA loans for women or Community Advantage Loans for specific locales.

    The SBA 7(a) Loan Program

    Most small business owners seeking an SBA loan start off with the 7(a) loan program. These loans accounted for more than 80% of the total volume of loans that the SBA guaranteed in 2017. 7(a) loans are general purpose small business loans, and you can use them for a wide variety of business purposes. Plus, the SBA 7(a) loan program contains within it a variety of different sub-programs to consider.

    Since the 7(a) loan program—or one of the SBA loan programs within it—will be the obvious choice for the majority of business owners, let’s dig deeper into exactly how this loan program works, who it’s for, and how to proceed if you determine that this is the right SBA loan option for you.

    SBA CDC/504 Loan Program

    The second of the SBA loan programs is the CDC/504 loan program. If you need significant funds to purchase or renovate land, buildings, or equipment, the CDC/504 loan program could be your perfect fit.

    The terms, qualifications, and application process for this program are more complex than the more general 7(a) loans. Multiple parties are involved with making 504/CDC loans, making for a more time-intensive process. Plus, there’s typically more at stake here since 504/CDC loans have no set maximum and can cover huge multi-million dollar projects.

    The SBA Microloan Program

    Small businesses with very high overhead or startup costs may seek SBA loans for hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars. But other business owners need a much smaller amount to take the next major step in their business.

    Banks are already reticent to loan money to small businesses in the first place, so many lending institutions won’t even entertain a business loan application for $50,000 or less. It is for exactly this reason that the SBA created the microloan program, which works with small, nonprofit intermediary lenders in local communities to fund loans under $50,000.

    SBA Disaster Loan Program

    Meant for businesses and homeowners in recovery, the SBA Disaster Loan Program provides low-cost financing for economic injury, mostly that which comes as a result of a natural disaster.

    Like the SBA 7(a) loan program, the SBA Disaster Loan Program will have several loan programs within it.

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