SmartBiz Loans is a unique combination of an online SBA loan marketplace and a bank enabling technology platform.
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SmartBiz Loans® has found a way to combine the expediency of online loan offers with the reliable (and much sought after) Small Business Administration (SBA) loan. This can be one option to look towards should you look to expand your business.
SmartBiz only offers one type of SBA loan product through their preferred SBA bank partners which simplifies their offered products and they even simplify the types of applicants that will have the best chance to be accepted. This SBA 7(a) loan is offered in three ways: Working Capital, Debt Refinance, and Commercial Real Estate. The only variation occurs with the real estate loan, which harbors lower interest rates and a 25-year repayment.
SmartBiz looks to appeal to customers with their transparency. Most of the information about the company and its practices can be found online on their main website. SmartBiz can work with a wider variety of businesses than most long-term lenders, but they do have restrictions against businesses that have filed for bankruptcy or have too low of a credit score. The business owner’s personal credit score must be above 675 to qualify for a loan through SmartBiz.
|SmartBiz creates a faster way to get an SBA loan||Not for businesses with poor credit|
|Can help with business growth for healthy companies||Newer businesses might not be able to meet revenue requirements|
|Can work with a wide variety of business types||The SBA still has to approve your loan request through SmartBiz|
|Simplified pay structure and fee system||The entire process can take a long time to complete, delaying your loan arrival|
|Looking for paperwork can be painstaking and tedious work|
Just as the product offering is simple, so too is the pricing. SBA Loans facilitated by SmartBiz Loans have a variable rate of Prime Rate plus 1.50% to 3.75%. (Prime Rate is currently 4.25%). Depending on the size of the loan your interest rate will change. The smaller the loan, lower the interest rate.
At the time of this post, a loan through SmartBiz could have a total interest rate of anywhere between 5.75% and 8.00% (the interest rate combined with the prime rate). Because the rate is variable, your interest payments could increase or decrease over time as the Prime Rate changes. Historically this rate has only increased 1% since 2009 so the impact on your monthly payment would be minimal.
SBA loans through SmartBiz do not have prepayment fees or penaltys for early payment, but there are other fees to take note of. Aside from the variable interest rate, you need to account for bank closing costs (around $450 charged by the bank), and one time referral/packaging fees up to a maximum of 4%.The SBA also charges a guarantee fee that is paid directly to them between 2.25% and 2.75% depending on the size of the loan. The SBA waives this fee for loans $150,000 and less. APR’s are calculated as interest rate plus fees and range from 6.15% to 9.32% depending on loan size.
This information is made available on the SmartBiz website. Once you have agreed to loan terms you will receive online statements from the funding bank to keep track of your business loan. There is no penalty for early repayment if you want to pay back the loan before schedule.
From start to finish, the process of applying for an SBA loan through SmartBiz bank partners is simple and fast. Within moments of filling out their online application, SmartBiz can determine whether you are eligible for an SBA loan. You can pre-qualify for the loan without impacting your credit score because SmartBiz does a soft inquiry during prequalification and only does a hard inquiry after your application is in the funding process and matched with a lender who is highly likely to fund your loan. Also, once you’re pre-qualified, SmartBiz assigns a personal relationship manager to guide you through the application process.
Depending on the size of your loan, the SBA requires varies types of documentation. The larger the loan, the more documentation is requested. Non-SBA loans usually do not require as much paperwork but can also have less favorable terms. If you are organized, then procuring the documents and uploading them through the SmartBiz online platform won’t be a hassle.
It is important to note that the amount of time it takes to procure the loan will be directly related to how quickly you compile the proper documents. The longer it takes to compile the paperwork, the longer it will take to receive your funds.
It warrants mention that SmartBiz doesn’t cater well to businesses in poor credit standing. A business owner’s personal credit score must be above 650 to qualify for an SBA loan facilitated by SmartBiz.
Alternately, if your company does extremely well, procuring a fixed rate, non-SBA bank loan directly might be the better option. SBA loans may end up costing you more in the long run due to their variable interest rates, but again you can pay the loan off anytime without penalty.
One aspect of SmartBiz that may turn away borrowers is the lofty revenue requirements. While this might not be much of an issue for established businesses, newer businesses may find it hard to meet the SBA eligibility requirements. Typically, businesses approved for an SBA loan through SmartBiz have $50,000 to $5 million in annual revenues and 1 to 40 employees. Most are profitable and cash flow positive. All can provide proof that they are able to make the monthly loan payment. The revenue requirements are only one potential tripping point, as the business itself needs to be in good standing with no bankruptcies.
The quickness and ease of use with SmartBiz sets it apart from its competitors, especially with their level of fee and practice transparency. It is all displayed prominently on their website, eliminating the confusion that often accompanies loan acquisition.
As mentioned before, you will be paired with a dedicated Relationship Manager who will accompany you throughout your dealings with SmartBiz. The site also has a Frequently Asked Questions section that is extensive for clients.
SmartBiz also makes sure that it handles any negative remarks swiftly, which means if you have a problem you can either find the answer online or receive the solution from your dedicated associate. Either way, you’ll have all the access to answers you need.
A potential turn off from this process would be the sheer amount of paperwork you would have to complete and produce in order to qualify for a loan. Not everyone will have the patience or the means to gather the necessary documents. Note that SmartBiz does not require some documents that a traditional bank may request like a business plan.
Due to the time it takes to gather documents, receive approval and subsequently your money, the length of time might not be to your liking, though they have funded loans as fast as 7 business days after the application is completed. Small businesses tend to take out loans when they have an immediate need for money. While the SmartBiz platform speeds up the application process, you still need to approval of the SmartBiz preferred SBA bank lending partner. About 90% of the loans referred by SmartBiz to its bank partners are funded because the technology platform matches the borrower with the bank most likely to fund their business.
Since most of the interaction between a business owner looking for a loan and SmartBiz is online, the website tries its best to cram as much information onto its pages. For those who need a physical presence, you will be given a personal account manager that will guide you through the application process and answer whatever questions you may have.