With more than 3,000 SBA lenders nationwide, choosing the best SBA lender can be difficult. Some of the best lenders approve average Small Business Administration (SBA) loan amounts ranging from $75,000 to $1.5 million, with interest rates averaging 6.5% to 9.4%. We’ve provided reviews for the top 10 SBA lenders and listed the top 100 SBA lenders for the fiscal year 2019.
How We Chose the Best SBA Lenders
Picking the best SBA lender to work with on your financing needs will depend on many factors, such as their location and specialty. It’s important to find a lender on the SBA preferred lender list that makes loans in your geographic area and industry and offers the amount your business might need.
We chose the 10 top SBA lenders by considering both the volume of SBA loans issued and the total funding amount each lender approved in the fiscal year 2019, based on SBA data. We’ve also included the average loan amount for your comparison. All the top SBA lenders we reviewed should be a good choice.
Top 10 SBA Lenders
Total SBA 7(a) Loans Approved
Average Loan Amount
Average Interest Rate
Average Repayment Term
*Last Updated: January 2021
Source: Small Business Administration
The 10 best SBA lenders we reviewed are:
1. Live Oak Bank SBA Loans
The SBA loans approved by Live Oak Bank during fiscal year (FY) 2019 through Sept. 30, 2019, are:
- Total amount approved: $1,364,030,871
- Total number of loans approved: 913
- Average SBA loan amount: $1,494,010
- Average interest rate: 7.2%
- Average loan term: 15 years
Live Oak is an SBA preferred lender known for providing an efficient SBA lending process to small business owners nationwide. Live Oak Bank is also known for having specific industry expertise. As a business owner, it can be much easier to qualify for an SBA loan―particularly larger loans―if you work with a lender that specializes in and is familiar with your industry.
Some of the industries in which Live Oak Bank has specific industry expertise are:
- Accounting and tax firms
- Automotive care
- Franchise restaurants
- Self-storage facilities
- Wine and craft beverage makers
Live Oak Bank SBA Lending Reviews
We scoured the web for Live Oak Bank reviews and found that very few reviews exist. This is notable given the reported SBA lending volume. The few reviews we could find noted a confusing SBA loan process and quick loan declines by Live Oak Bank. Quick declines could indicate that Live Oak Bank has an efficient lending process.
2. Wells Fargo SBA Loans
The SBA loans approved by Wells Fargo Bank during FY 2019 through Sept. 30, 2019, are:
- Total amount approved: $788,687,580
- Total number of loans approved: 3,149
- Average SBA loan amount: $250,457
- Average interest rate: 9.5%
- Average loan term: 12 years
As an SBA preferred lender, Wells Fargo SBA loans are offered nationwide, making Wells Fargo SBA Loans some of the best for most small businesses. The Wells Fargo SBA division is comprised of more than 400 employees and manages an SBA loan portfolio of more than $10 billion.
Wells Fargo SBA Lending Reviews
Wells Fargo reviews are mixed. Some customers like the ease of accessing funds and its national footprint. Other customers were disappointed with its customer service experience. Despite the mixed reviews, which are not related to Wells Fargo SBA loans, Wells Fargo is a solid option.
3. Huntington National Bank SBA Loans
The SBA loans approved by Huntington National Bank during FY 2019 through Sept. 30, 2019, are:
- Total amount approved: $647,241,420
- Total number of loans approved: 3,594
- Average SBA loan amount: $180,089
- Average interest rate: 7.2%
- Average loan term: 9 years
Huntington National Bank ranks first in the number of SBA loans approved, even though it only offers SBA lending in eight states: Florida, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Western Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. If you live in the upper Midwest, Huntington is the best SBA lender, based on the number and amount of SBA loans it approves. Having one of the best SBA lenders that’s also local can sometimes make all the difference in getting your loan application approved.
Huntington National Bank SBA Lending Reviews
Huntington Bank reviews from around the web are mixed. Customer service is a common topic in the negative reviews we found, but Huntington still gets high remarks on the application process and the ease of navigating its website.
4. Newtek Small Business Finance SBA Loans
The SBA loans approved by Newtek Small Business Finance during FY 2019 to Sept. 30, 2019, are:
- Total amount approved: $634,192,940
- Total number of loans approved: 886
- Average SBA loan amount: $715,793
- Average interest rate: 8.3%
- Average loan term: 13 years
Newtek is an SBA preferred lender providing online SBA loans to small businesses nationwide, with a primary focus on standard SBA 7(a) loans. While Newtek provides financing to a wide range of industries, some of its specialties include manufacturing, wholesaling, services, retailing, and certain types of construction. Working with a lender, such as Newtek, which specializes in your industry, might improve your chances of getting approved.
Newtek Small Business Finance SBA Lending Reviews
We searched the web for Newtek Small Business Finance reviews and found very little information. Newtek is interesting because it provides many different types of business services, including loans, payroll solutions, web services, and healthcare, among others. This could be good or bad for businesses, depending on how well it’s organized. The SBA loan volumes reported for Newtek are telling in that it’s one of the top SBA lenders in the nation.
5. Byline Bank SBA Loans
The SBA loans approved by Byline Bank during FY 2019 through Sept. 30, 2019, are:
- Total amount approved: $532,803,200
- Total number of loans approved: 463
- Average SBA loan amount: $1,150,763
- Average interest rate: 8.0%
- Average loan term: 14 years
Byline Bank is an SBA-preferred lender that provides business loans in California, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. This makes Byline Bank one of the best SBA lenders for business owners living in Southern California or the Midwest. When applying for an SBA loan through Byline Bank, you’ll be paired with an SBA expert who will work to find a creative solution to meet your financing needs.
Byline Bank SBA Lending Reviews
We found a mix of positive and negative reviews for Byline Bank. A focus of some of the positive Byline Bank reviews was on friendly, local customer service, which is great if you want an SBA loan. Some of the negative Byline Bank reviews were related to servicing issues and difficulties with Byline’s online platform.
6. Celtic Bank SBA Loans
The SBA loans approved by Celtic Bank during FY 2019 to Sept. 30, 2019, are:
- Total amount approved: $501,792,450
- Total number of loans approved: 751
- Average SBA loan amount: $668,166
- Average interest rate: 8.0%
- Average loan term: 14 years
Celtic Bank offers SBA loans nationally. Unlike many of the other top 10 SBA lenders, Celtic offers an online application process. This is a differentiator that could potentially speed up the process. While Celtic Bank offers SBA loans to a wide range of industries, it also has specific expertise in industries like healthcare and car washes. This industry expertise is part of what makes Celtic one of the top SBA lenders.
Celtic Bank SBA Lending Reviews
We compiled Celtic Bank reviews from around the web and found that Celtic Bank reviews feature a mix of positive and negative ratings. Some customers were impressed with the company’s customer support team, while others complained that rates were not as the company advertised.
7. Chase SBA Loans
The SBA loans approved by Chase Bank during FY 2019 through Sept. 30, 2019, are:
- Total amount approved: $473,091,654
- Total number of loans approved: 1,890
- Average SBA loan amount: $250,313
- Average interest rate: 8.5%
- Average loan term: 10 years
Chase Bank is an SBA preferred lender with approximately 5,100 branches in 23 states. Chase offers SBA loans for startups and newer businesses. While many SBA lenders require at least two years of business history to make an SBA loan, Chase SBA loans are good for any small business regardless of how long it’s been operating. This makes Chase one of the top SBA lenders for startup businesses.
Chase Bank SBA Lending Reviews
We considered Chase Bank reviews from around the web and determined the reviews for the company overall are a mix of positive and negative. Responsive bankers who take the time to understand and respond to business owners’ needs was a high point of the Chase Bank reviews. Some of the negative Chase reviews focused on the overall customer service, not specifically related to SBA loans.
8. U.S. Bank SBA Loans
The SBA loans approved by U.S. Bank during FY 2019 through Sept. 30, 2019, are:
- Total amount approved: $425,581,300
- Total number of loans approved: 2,756
- Average SBA loan amount: $154,420
- Average interest rate: 8.2%
- Average loan term: 8 years
U.S. Bank SBA loans are offered to businesses nationwide. Some of its advertising focuses on quick loans, featuring a streamlined SBA express application and fast approvals. It is not clear just how quickly U.S. Bank SBA loans are funded and approved. However, based on the average U.S. Bank SBA loan amount, SBA express loans are probably what’s driving the U.S. Bank SBA loan volume. This makes U.S. Bank SBA loans a great option if you need a small loan amount.
U.S. Bank SBA Lending Reviews
We considered U.S. Bank reviews about the company in general from across the web and found it has a B+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). We found some negative U.S. Bank reviews, most of which seem to be related to customer service and account servicing issues. However, offsetting the negative comments are some positive U.S. Bank reviews related to the friendly staff and the ease with which its services can be accessed.
9. First Home Bank SBA Loans
The SBA loans approved by First Home Bank during FY 2019 to Sept. 30, 2019, are:
- Total amount approved: $370,562,300
- Total number of loans approved: 1,470
- Average SBA loan amount: $252,083
- Average interest rate: 8.1%
- Average loan term: 10 years
First Home Bank only has branch locations in Florida. However, it offers SBA loans nationwide. In addition to SBA 7(a) loans, First Home Bank also offers SBA 504 loans, International Trade Loans, and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) business and industry loans. If you aren’t certain which program would best suit your business, a representative from First Home Bank can help you weigh your financing options.
First Home Bank SBA Lending Reviews
We considered reviews from around the web and found that First Home Bank has generally positive reviews online. Customer service is a common theme among the First Home Bank reviews, with many reviewers calling out an exceptional experience and a few noting customer service problems.
10. Seacoast Commerce Bank SBA Loans
The SBA loans approved by Seacoast Commerce Bank during FY 2019 through Sept. 30, 2019, are:
- Total amount approved: $324,138,400
- Total number of loans approved: 286
- Average SBA loan amount: $1,133,351
- Average interest rate: 7.2%
- Average loan term: 25 years
Seacoast Commerce Bank is a national SBA lender with servicing offices in California, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Utah, and Washington. Based on the average loan amount and the average loan term of the SBA loans originated by Seacoast Commerce Bank, it appears that the majority of the SBA loans originated by this bank are secured by real estate.
Seacoast Commerce Bank SBA Lending Reviews
Reviews for Seacoast Commerce Bank are generally positive. Customers are impressed with the customer service they receive and the slate of services available. There were no reviews—positive or negative—that spoke directly to the bank’s SBA loan process.
Top 100 SBA Lenders
Average SBA Loan Amount for 2019
SBA Loans Approved for 2019
Amount of Approved SBA Loans for 2019
Live Oak Banking Company
Wells Fargo Bank
The Huntington National Bank
Newtek Small Business Finance, Inc.
Celtic Bank Corporation
JPMorgan Chase Bank
First Home Bank
Seacoast Commerce Bank
Readycap Lending, LLC
Bank of Hope
Bank of the West
Manufacturers and Traders Trust Company
Bank of America
Metro City Bank
United Midwest Savings Bank
Bank of George
Commonwealth Business Bank
Harvest Small Business Finance, LLC
United Community Bank
MUFG Union Bank
First Financial Bank
Pacific City Bank
Midwest Regional Bank
Atlantic Capital Bank
The Bancorp Bank
Pacific Premier Bank
Pacific Western Bank
Fifth Third Bank
First Savings Bank
Centerstone SBA Lending, Inc.
Five Star Bank
First IC Bank
New Millennium Bank
Republic First Bank
Plains State Bank
US Metro Bank
TCF National Bank
Midland States Bank
First-Citizens Bank & Trust Company
East West Bank
First Bank Financial Centre
Seacoast National Bank
First Choice Bank
Touchmark National Bank
Spirit of Texas Bank, SSB
First Chatham Bank
Hana Small Business Lending, Inc.
United Business Bank
Veritex Community Bank
First Commonwealth Bank
Columbia State Bank
Summit State Bank
Texas Capital Bank
Home Loan Investment Bank, F.S.B.
How to Qualify for an SBA Loan
Qualifying for an SBA loan isn’t easy. The requirements generally parallel what you would need for a conventional bank loan, and each lender’s qualifications are nearly identical. SBA loans provide financing for established small businesses, startups, and minority-owned businesses. The major factors considered relate to your credit score, cash flow, collateral, and equity.
You typically need the following to qualify for an SBA 7(a) loan:
- Credit score: 680 or greater (check your credit score).
- Ability to repay: Your business needs to have positive cash flow or (for startups) positive cash flow projections, typically translating to a debt service coverage ratio (DSCR) of at least 1.25x.
- Collateral: The loan may not need to be 100% collateralized, but you should have some collateral (business and/or personal).
- Equity: You’ll need a 10% to 20% down payment if you’re starting a new business or if you are acquiring a business or real estate.
These requirements are on top of the SBA’s eligibility requirements. Keep in mind that every lender will require a personal guarantee from the primary business owners, and you’ll be required to submit a personal financial statement through SBA Form 413 or your lender’s form to show what assets you have to back up that guarantee. Check out our SBA loan calculator to estimate your payments, rates, and qualifications.
How to Apply for an SBA Loan
The process of applying for an SBA loan will vary by lender and by the type of SBA loan for which you are applying, although there will be some commonalities. You’ll begin by completing an application and then submit quite a bit of paperwork. To make the application process easier, you can refer to the SBA’s loan application checklist to find out what information you will need to provide. Also, check out our article on How to Apply for an SBA Loan for tips on how to get a small business loan from the SBA.
Bottom Line: Best SBA Lender
Live Oak Bank was the top SBA lender for 2019 and routinely the highest SBA loan amount. Huntington is a great option if you live in the upper Midwest, and Chase SBA loans are good alternatives if you’re a startup. Most of the 10 top SBA lenders will be good funding options and are worth checking out.
For businesses intimidated by the SBA loan process, SmartBiz is an SBA loan provider with a simplified application process and the ability to connect you with a lender that will best meet your needs. SmartBiz offers up to $350,000 for working capital and up to $5 million for commercial real estate and allows you to pre-qualify online in just a few minutes.