Need a business loan? Start with SBA’s easy, fast loan ‘matchmaker’ tool
January 11, 2021
The business you’re diligently building is growing. And now, you need a loan to keep that momentum going strong.
Rather than poring through dozens of sales websites, why don’t you let the U.S. Small Business Administration do the heavy lifting for you?
As a free service to small business owners nationwide, the SBA’s Lender Match tool connects entrepreneurs in need of small business loans with participating SBA lenders such as FE Small Business Finance. Simply enter some basic details about your business, and within two days — usually sooner — you’ll be directly connected to lenders in your area.
“It essentially serves as a matchmaker, making it easier for small businesses to find lenders,” said SBA Administrator Linda McMahon in a press release about the service.
“I want to help get more capital in the hands of small business owners and entrepreneurs, and I encourage them to tap into the SBA’s resources for start-up and growth solutions,” added McMahon, who leads the agency and is an entrepreneur in her own right.
Business acquisition: ‘I had no idea we could make this happen’
Husband-and-wife business partners Zachary Weisman and Karina Sanchez had their sights on buying Waterhorse Charters, an existing scuba-diving tour and charter business where Weisman was an employee. The acquisition of the San Diego-based business would also include a 46-foot custom dive boat.
Both in their 20s, they were looking for a financial institution that’d be willing to take a chance on two young entrepreneurs with no collateral and little credit history. Also potentially working against them was the fact they wanted to acquire a business, which in the financing world is considered a startup. Most traditional lenders tend to shy away from lending to startups.
Weisman did some online searching and through SBA’s LenderMatch service found Kelly Klein, a loan officer at FE Small Business Finance. Unlike traditional banks, FE has more flexibility to lend to startups like theirs, which proved promising for the young San Diego couple.
“We thought we had no chance of getting funding, or there was a low chance,” Weisman said. “But Kelly worked with us very patiently and diligently to get (our financing) approved.”
The couple ended up getting two loans through FE Small Business Finance – an SBA Community Advantage loan to fund the acquisition and a companion SBA Microloan to ensure they have enough funds to operate the business moving forward.
“I had no idea we could make this happen,” Sanchez said.
Lender Match success: ‘It all happened because of the loan’
Thanks largely to Lender Match, Monica Challingsworth Lyons also found business financing. She needed it to grow her flourishing Huntington Beach-based restaurant consulting firm, Eustress and Demeter, co-owned by her mother, Darlene Erich.
After submitting basic details about her enterprise to that website, Lyons heard back from three loan agencies. Two, she quickly realized, did not meet her standards.
Lyons ultimately chose to work with Klein, of FE Small Business Finance, given she was “really responsive and professional” in all her communications.
FE provided the women-owned business with an SBA Community Advantage loan to fund four independent contractors, which allowed them to turn their restaurant consulting firm into full-service agency.
“It all happened because of the loan,” Lyons said.
Lender Match is ‘an incredible lead generation tool’
In fall 2021, the SBA rebranded its online lender referral system as Lender Match. It was previously LINC, or Leveraging Information and Networks to access Capital, which debuted as a pilot two years earlier.
The federal agency made the free service more user-friendly and attractive, an effort to encourage more use among potential small business borrowers.
Lender Match was designed to allow entrepreneurs to get matched to participating SBA lenders after submitting some basic details about their business. Matches are made within 48 hours and oftentimes sooner than that.
To date, 800-plus SBA lenders take part in the program. And it has generated some 2 million referrals, turning into 70,000 leads that were followed through, the SBA reports.
Klein handles all the Lender Match requests for FE Small Business Finance. She called the system “an incredible lead generation tool” that’s allowed her to connect with thousands of small business owners.
“What I love most about Lender Match is the wide variety of small businesses that it has connected me with — from seasoned businesses to people that only just have an idea about what type of business they want to start,” she added.
Are you looking for the right match? FE Small Business Finance can help with your business-financing needs. We offer several loan options for business owners who want to launch or grow their enterprises, serving businesses of all sizes in California, Nevada and Arizona.
Tell our loan experts about your business, and they’ll work to match you with a financing plan that best suits you. Let’s talk! Reach us at email@example.com or (619) 243-8667.
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