The general small business, or 7(a) loan program is the SBA's primary business loan program. It is the agency's most frequently used financial assistance program because of its flexibility in loan structure, variety of loan proceed uses, and availability. The program has broad eligibility requirements and credit criteria to accommodate a wide range of financing needs. The business loans that SBA guarantees do not come from the agency, but rather from banks and other approved lenders.The loans are funded by these organizations, and they make the decisions to approve or not approve the applicants' requests. The SBA guaranty reduces the lender's risk of borrower non-payment. If the borrower defaults, the lender can request SBA to pay the lender that percentage of the outstanding balance guaranteed by SBA. This allows the lender to recover a portion from SBA of what it lent if the borrower can't make the payments.The borrower is still obligated for the full amount. To qualify for an SBA loan, a small business must meet the lender's criteria and the 7(a) requirements. In addition, the lender must certify that it would not provide this loan under the proposed terms and conditions unless it can obtain an SBA guaranty. If the SBA is going to provide a lender with a guaranty, the applicant must be eligible and creditworthy and the loan structured under conditions acceptable to SBA.
Must be a for-profit business and meet SBA size standards; show good character, credit, management, and ability to repay. Must be an eligible type of business.