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First Service ready to help with SBA programs

First Service ready to help with SBA programs

First Service Bank and its team of experts are available and eager to help businesses apply for federal loan programs. In addition, First Service Bank is a preferred lender with the U.S. Small Business Administration, a designation that can help expedite the application process.

“We have a team dedicated to these loans that will work directly with you to guide you through the process,” said Julie Chambers, who has worked at First Service Bank for 13 years and is vice president of loan operations. “First Service Bank has been recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration, most recently as a top lender, receiving the Arkansas Top Lender with Assets of under $500 million award.”  

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers several loan programs, which individuals apply for through their local bank. 

Created in 1953, the SBA helps small business owners and entrepreneurs pursue the American dream. It is the only cabinet-level, federal agency fully dedicated to small businesses and provides counseling, capital and contracting expertise as the nation’s only go-to resource and voice for small businesses.

“Through the SBA, First Service Bank has historically offered financing through 7(a) Loans, 7(a) Small Loans, SBA Express and CapLines,” said Julie. “First Service Bank can also work with its customers to obtain a 504 Loan that is provided through a certified development company.”

SBA program highlights:

The 7(a) Loan Program is the SBA’s most common loan program. It includes financial help for small businesses with special requirements. This is the best option when real estate is part of a business purchase, but it can also be used for short- and long-term working capital, to refinance current business debt and to purchase furniture, fixtures and supplies. The maximum loan amount for a 7(a) loan is $5 million. Key eligibility factors are based on what the business does to receive its income, credit history and where the business operates. 

SBA Express loans are available to eligible small businesses operating in the U.S. or its territories. Loans are available up to $500,000, with up to 50 percent backed by the SBA.

The SBA CAPLine program provides small business owners with fixed or revolving lines of credit, up to $5 million, to help them meet their cyclical and short-term working capital needs.

The applicant will have to provide several documents to complete the loan process. “We typically require financial statements, tax returns, the SBA’s borrower information form and organizational documents for the business borrower,” said Julie. “There are other documents that may be required based on the project.”

The typical turnaround time from application to funding for an SBA guaranteed loan is six to eight weeks, according to Julie. She noted that if no real estate collateral is involved, that timeline is shorter. Also, with First Service designated a preferred SBA lender, the application process can be expedited as long as the project meets the requirements of SBA.

To be eligible for one of the SBA lending programs, the applicant must be an operating business that meets the definition of a small business. “It must be organized for profit, located in the United States or its territories, and be able to demonstrate a need for the desired credit,” said Julie. “There are other requirements that may apply based on the project.”     

Money received through the SBA must be paid back, but there are advantages to this type of business loan. “Through SBA programs, we are able to offer longer terms and we do have options for fixed interest rates. We are also able to offer financing with lower equity requirements.”

First Service bankers are available in person or on the phone to help customers with the SBA application process. “If you are looking to apply for an SBA guaranteed loan, one of our loan officers will be happy to assist,” said Julie. “You can drop by one of our branch locations or we can work with you over the phone to get the process started.”