7 Tips for Expediting the SBA Loan Process
As a small business owner, you have identified the need for financing and decided to secure funding through the Small Business Administration (SBA).SBA loans involve a lot of moving parts, so if you have never completed the process before, how do you ensure that you are starting off on the right foot? As the borrower, there are things you can do in advance to help streamline the process and secure your financing faster.
Select a Preferred SBA LenderChoosing an SBA Preferred Lender ensures you will experience a smoother and more efficient loan process. Only lenders with a proven track record to comply with the SBA’s regulations earn the Preferred Lenders Program (PLP) delegation. The SBA gives Preferred Lenders, like SouthState, the authority to make final credit decisions, which greatly expedites the process. Partnering with a Preferred Lender gives you the confidence to trust your loan will be structured and documented correctly, giving you peace of mind every step of the way.
Separate Personal & Business FinancialsYou may have heard it before but keeping your personal and business finances separate is critical to protecting your credit and assets from both angles. When you apply for an SBA loan, lenders are looking to see how your business acquires money and how you spend it. By maintaining a distinction between the two, lenders can easily analyze your businesses true performance, speeding up the underwriting process. As a bonus, separating your finances allows you to build business credit.
Provide Current FinancialsBe sure that your personal financial statement, interim financials and SBA forms are all current within 90 days. If your financials are outdated, your lender will require updated documentation to comply with the SBA’s requirements. SBA loans require enough documentation without creating additional work for yourself, so provide recent financials with your initial submission to create less work for all parties and make the process as efficient as possible.
Request to Order Third-Party Reports EarlyIf you have a hard or aggressive closing date, ask your lender to collect an adequate deposit to order third-party reports in advance – this will expedite closing. Typical turnaround times to complete commercial appraisals, environmental reports and surveys range between three to four weeks. Business valuations generally take at least two weeks to complete. Underwriting usually takes 7 to 10 business days, so by ordering reports upfront, closing can be sped up significantly.
Establish Your Business’s Support TeamIt takes a village to close an SBA loan. Work on building a strong working partnership with your SBA lender as you will likely need to lean on them for questions and guidance throughout the loan process. Additionally, it is important to have an experienced and knowledgeable team of professionals to provide guidance for your business throughout the loan process and beyond. These third parties typically include an attorney, accountant, insurance provider and potentially a consultant.
Identify a Trusted PartnerRunning a successful business can be incredibly time consuming. If you have limited bandwidth to dedicate to obtaining financing, assign a trusted point of contact to assist with the loan process and required documentation. When information or documentation is requested, it’s important to respond in a timely manner. Identifying a dependable partner to help you promptly gather and submit the correct information will help get your loan across the finish line more quickly.
If Life Insurance Is Required, Start Sooner Than Later.If life insurance is required, begin the process as soon as possible. Securing coverage can sometimes take longer than expected often delaying closing. It can be difficult to identify an insurance provider with experience providing policies for SBA loans, but your lender can provide recommendations for knowledgeable agents upon request.
About the Author, Laura Kepley: With 17 years of sales and marketing expertise in the banking industry and over a decade in SBA experience, Laura is knowledgeable at helping small business owners identify opportunities to fulfill their dreams of ownership and grow the business over time. Her process involves developing a personal relationship with each client and going beyond the numbers to support their larger vision to grow their business.