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 Business Loan Application Tips

Here are the typical items required for any small business loan application:

Loan Application Form

Forms vary by program and lending institution, but they all ask for the same information. You should be prepared to answer the following questions. It’s a good idea to have this information prepared before you fill out the application:
  • Why are you applying for this loan?
  • How will the loan proceeds be used?
  • What assets need to be purchased, and who are your suppliers?
  • What other business debt do you have, and who are your creditors?
  • Who are the members of your management team?
  • Personal Background:
    Either as part of the loan application or as a separate document, you will likely need to provide some personal background information, including previous addresses, names used, criminal record, educational background, etc.

Business Plan

  • All loan programs require a sound business plan to be submitted with the loan application. The business plan should include a complete set of projected financial statements, including profit and loss, cash flow, and balance sheet.

Credit Reports

  • Personal Credit Report: Your lender will obtain your personal credit report as part of the application process. However, you should obtain a credit report from all three major consumer credit rating agencies before submitting a loan application to the lender. Inaccuracies and blemishes on your credit report can hurt your chances of getting a loan approved. It’s critical you try to clear these up before beginning the application process.
  • Business Credit Report: Be prepared to submit a credit report for your business. It is important to review your business’ credit report before beginning the application process.

Income Tax Returns

  • Most loan programs require applicants to submit personal and business income tax returns for the previous three years.

Financial Statements

Many loan programs require owners with more than a 20 percent stake in your business to submit signed personal financial statements. The following forms may be used to prepare your projected financial statements:
  • Balance Sheet
  • Income Statement
  • Cash Flow
  • Bank Statements
Many loan programs require one year of personal and business bank statements to be submitted as part of a loan package.

Accounts Payable, Receivable

Most loan programs require details of a business’ most current financial position. Make sure you have both accounts receivable and accounts payable figures available.

Collateral

Collateral requirements vary greatly. Some loan programs do not require collateral. Loans involving higher-risk factors for default require substantial collateral. Strong business plans and financial statements can help you avoid putting up collateral. In any case, it is a good idea to prepare a collateral document that describes cost/value of personal or business property that will be used to secure a loan.

Legal Documents

Your lender may require you to submit one or more legal documents:
  • Business licenses and registrations required for you to conduct business.
  • Articles of Incorporation.
  • Copies of contracts you have with any third parties.
  • Commercial leases.
Organizing your documents is critical when applying for a loan. Make sure required documents are orderly and accurate. All information you provide will be verified by your lender and the organization guaranteeing the loan. False or misleading information will result in your loan being denied. Keep personal copies of all loan packages.
 
Source: Small Business Administration website

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