What is needed to apply for an SBA loan

October 30, 2019

Yes, there are different types of Small Business Administration loans, but all require a core set of documents. Here’s how you can apply to get a loan via the SBA.


If you’re planning to expand your business or upgrade your equipment, you’re likely considering the Small Business Administration (SBA) loan program.

To be considered for an SBA loan, you need to apply for a conventional loan under SBA guidelines with one of the organization’s banking partners. The SBA provides a loan guarantee to its partner lenders, allowing them to offer greater flexibility in terms and rates.

While there are different SBA loan programs, here’s what they have in common: All applications share a common set of paperwork that must be filed.

This core set includes the following: 


Business structure and leadership

You’ll need to describe the purpose and structure of your business and provide a copy of your business plan, complete with projected financial statements. You’ll also need to describe your business and management experience. The lender will also gather personal information, such as previous addresses, educational background and criminal records for you and your leadership team.



You should be prepared to provide your articles of incorporation, franchise agreements, licenses or registrations required to do business in your state and industry, and any applicable lease documents.



Both your personal and business credit reports, income tax returns and bank statements will be reviewed. You’ll also need to provide business financial statements, including a profit and loss statement, cash flow and balance sheet and a complete accounting of all business debt and creditors. Most lenders have a collateral requirement and will determine which of your assets can be used as collateral through your financial statements.

Another factor lenders carefully examine is your debt-to-worth ratio. High personal investment with minimal company debt makes you a more attractive credit risk because you have more financial skin in the game.

Other financial measures of interest to the lender are the working capital you have on hand to manage the business, management of accounts receivable and payable, and how quickly you deliver your product or service after the order is placed.


Purpose of the SBA loan

Provide a detailed description of what you want to accomplish with your SBA loan and a thorough discussion of exactly how the money will be used to grow your business and, ultimately, improve productivity and profitability. You need to make a strong case that you are a good risk who will repay the SBA-serviced loan in full.

Before you gather these loan documents, talk to your lender about your goals for your business. That way, you can get suggestions about the product that best suits your needs and focus your efforts on applying for the right loan. Armed in advance with the right information, you’ll be well prepared to assemble a successful loan package.


SBA Loan Resources


Set up your business plan for success with an SBA Loan.

Learn about U.S. Bank

Related content

In a digital world, Liberty Puzzles embraces true connection

Digital banking and cloud accounting software: How they work together

Evaluating interest rate risk creating risk management strategy

How running a business that aligns with core values is paying off

Meet the Milwaukee businessman behind Funky Fresh Spring Rolls

How to identify what technology is needed for your small business

How to get started creating your business plan

What is needed to apply for an SBA loan

Planning for restaurant startup costs and when to expect them

How to fund your business without using 401(k) savings

How iPads can help increase efficiency in your salon

Tools that can streamline staffing and employee management

The different types of startup financing

Opening a business on a budget during COVID-19

How to establish your business credit score

How small businesses are growing sales with online ordering

How to expand your business: Does a new location make sense?

How to choose the right business savings account

Using merchant technology manage limited staffing

Business credit card 101

Do I need a credit card for my small business?

How to apply for a business credit card

Prioritizing payroll during the COVID-19 pandemic

5 tips to help you land a small business loan

5 questions business owners need to consider before taking out a loan

Leverage credit wisely to plug business cash flow gaps

How to establish your business credit score

8 Ways for small business owners to manage their cash flow

How to make the most of your business loan

Do you need a business equipment loan?

How Lip Esteem is empowering women

When small business and community work together

Community behind Elsa’s House of Sleep

How a family-owned newspaper is serving its community

Honey Luxury Beauté: growing a side project into an eye-catching beauty business

How Gentlemen Cuts helps its community shine

How tenacity brought Taste of Rondo to life

How a travel clothing retailer is staying true to its brand values

How community gave life to lifestyle boutique Les Sol

How Shampoo’ed is transforming hair and inspiring entrepreneurs

The San Francisco bridal shop that’s been making memories for 30 years

How Al’s Breakfast is bringing people together

Celebrity Cake Studio’s two decades of growth and success

How a group fitness studio made the most of online workouts

How Wenonah Canoe is making a boom in business last

How a bar trivia company went digital during COVID-19

Beyond Mars, AeroVironment’s earthly expansion fueled by U.S. Bank

How this photography business persevered through tough times

Community and Coffee: How one small business owner is breaking down barriers

Business risk management for owners of small companies

For small business growth, consider the international market

What type of loan is right for your business?

Tech tools to keep your restaurant operations running smoothly

Save time with mobile apps for business finances

Start of disclosure content
XX-011 Equal Housing Lender
XX-014 Loan programs: credit + home
WI-031 Bank + USBI disclaimer