SBA Loans From A to Z

The 7(a) Loan Guarantee Program

The general SBA loan program is officially known as the 7(a) Loan Guarantee Program. This means the SBA guarantees business loans rather than makes them. You still have to borrow the money from a bank or another lender, but the SBA guarantee increases your chances of getting the funds. The highest possible guarantee is normally $750,000 or 75 percent of the total loan amount, whichever is less. For loans of less than $100,000, the guarantee usually tops out at 80 percent of the total loan.

SBA policy prohibits lenders from charging many of the usual fees associated with commercial loans. Still, you can expect to pay a one-time guarantee fee and a yearly servicing fee, which the agency charges the lender and allows the lender to pass on to you.

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This article was originally published in the August 1997 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: SBA Loans From A to Z.

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