This is SBA’s primary and most flexible loan program, with financing guaranteed for a variety of general business purposes. It is designed for start-up and existing small businesses, and is delivered through commercial lending institutions.
The major types of 7(a) loans are:
SBA’s Express programs offer streamlined and expedited loan procedures for particular groups of borrowers.
SBA Express gives small business borrowers an accelerated turnaround time for SBA review; a response to an application will be given within 36 hours.
The Community Express loan program allows approved SBA lenders to provide a unique combination of financial and technical assistance to borrowers located in the nation’s underserved communities. Eligible communities include SBA’s Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBzones) and those communities identified as distressed through the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). To encourage small businesses start-ups, SBA makes eligible loans of $25,000 or less, regardless of where small businesses are located.
The Patriot Express Program is designed for small businesses of which 51 percent or more are owned/controlled by veterans or members of the military community.
The Small/Rural Lender Advantage (S/RLA) initiative is designed to accommodate the unique loan processing needs of small community/rural-based lenders by simplifying and streamlining loan application process and procedures, particularly for smaller loans. It is part of a broader SBA initiative to promote the economic development of local communities, particularly those facing the challenges of population loss, economic dislocation, and high unemployment.
SBA offers several special purpose 7(a) loans to aid businesses that have been impacted by NAFTA, to provide financial assistance to Employee Stock Ownership Plans, and to help implement pollution control mechanisms.