A Look at the SBA Lender Match Tool
Lender Match used to be called LINC (Leveraging Information and Networks to access Capital), which was launched in 2015. However the SBA has upgraded and re-branded the program to make it more relevant to small businesses by gathering information during the application process more pertinent to their needs.
What this means for small businesses is they can fill out a form quickly and expect to get connected with a lender within 48 hours. For the lenders, the new format allows them to filter the referrals they receive from Lender Match to find businesses best suited for the type of loans they offer. Additionally, the search algorithm lets them optimize specific criteria such as business type and specialized financing.
The goal is to get more capital for small businesses, and SBA Administrator Linda McMahon said as much in the press release. “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 startup and growth solutions. It [Lender Match] essentially serves as a matchmaker, making it easier for small businesses to find lenders.”
How Does the SBA Lender Match Tool Work?
Lender Match is a free online tool. To get started, you describe your needs by answering a series of questions. The site says it should take as little as five minutes. Within 48 hours you will get emails with contact information from lenders who are interested. If you agree with the rates, terms, fees and other points, you can apply for the loan of your choice.
The SBA recommends you do some preparation before finding a lender, however. Have a business plan, the amount and use of the funds you are requesting, credit history, financial projections, collateral, and industry experience ready before apply.
As for the lenders, they must be SBA approved and in good standing to receive borrower referrals. Currently, the SBA has more than 800 lenders in its program and has made more than two million lender referrals.
Using the SBA’s Resources for Your Small Business
The SBA is a very important source of information for small businesses. Whether it is using Lender Match to connect with a lender or finding out about the latest computer viruses, it is one of the best free and reliable sources you can use to get answers about your business.
Image: Small Business Administration