SBA Loans Types — How Many Are There?

SBA Loans Types — How Many Are There?

SBA Loans Types — How Many Are There?

The SBA, Small Business Administration, provides loans to small businesses through financial institutions such as banks, microlenders, and online lenders. These SBA loans are government guaranteed, meaning lenders will offer them to small businesses at low interest rates because the government has promised to pay back 85% of the loan in the event of default.

The three most talked about SBA loan types are:

  1. 7(a) Loans: the most popular loan provided by the SBA, available to new and established businesses with a FICO SBSS Score of 140 or above.
  2. 504/CDC(Certified Development Company) Loans: long term financing available for businesses to purchase real estate or high-cost assets they need to run their business.
  3. Microloans: small loans up to $50,000 available through non-profit community lenders to new and established businesses.

But wait… there’s more! In fact, there are over 12 different types of funding provided by the SBA.

The following list of additional SBA loans are either for specific types of businesses or for more specific purposes. Some of these loans fall under the umbrella of one of the above loans. It’s worth taking a look to see if you qualify for one or more of these loans.

Special Eligibility Loans

Community Advantage Loans

Part of the 7(a) loan program, this loan type is for newer businesses in low-to-moderate income areas. Employees of the business must be considered low income or reside in an area that is a low-to-moderate income (LMI) area. Whereas most 7(a) loans require a FICO SBSS score of 160 or above, you’ll only need a 140 or above to qualify for a community advantage loan. Community Advantage lenders offer these loans up to $250,000.

Rural Business Loans

Another loan categorized under the 7(a) program, these loans are for businesses in rural areas that need funding for working capital, equipment, real estate, and certain types of debt refinancing.

These loans are actually provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The business’s majority stakeholder must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, and the borrower must reside in an area with fewer than 50,000 inhabitants. If you think your business qualifies, the best place to start is by contacting your state Rural Development Field Office.


A CAPLine is like a (potentially enormous) line of credit. Businesses can secure up to $5 million for short-term working capital needs. These are meant to help businesses take on more public and private contracts and purchase orders.

A CAPLine can take on four forms:

  1. Revolving line of credit — similar to inventory financing or invoice financing. Your assets or account receivables will be looked at to determine how much you can get on your line of credit.
  2. Seasonal line of credit — for businesses that need to build up inventory for an upcoming season of high sales.
  3. A contract loan — for businesses that need to fill contracts or purchase orders.
  4. A builders line of credit — for contractors looking to construct or rehabilitate a commercial or residential property.

CAPLines fall under the 7(a) umbrella.

U.S. Community Adjustment and Investment Program

This program was created specifically for businesses in areas of the country that are adversely affected by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). This program is not a loan, rather it gives businesses in affected areas a break on SBA 7(a) and 504 loan fees. Businesses that save will also face a job creation requirement— one job created for $70,000 saved on 7(a) fees and one job created for $65,000 saved on 504 fees.

CAIP eligible areas exist in 24 different states; check out the eligible areas here.

Disaster Loans

Disaster Assistance Loans

Businesses located in declared disaster areas can qualify for disaster assistance loans, regardless of the size of the business. There are a few different types of disaster loans:

  1. Physical disaster loans, which cover uninsured or underinsured losses
    Economic injury loans, which cover necessary business expenses that occur regardless of the disaster
  2. Personal property loans, which individuals can qualify for regardless of whether or not they own a business, as long as they reside in a declared disaster area.
  3. Military reservist economic injury loans, which is available to businesses who cannot financially cover the loss of a key employee called for military duty.
  4. These loans are available up to $2M. Interest rates vary based on whether the business has other sources of credit, but will not exceed 8%.

Veterans Loans

Veteran Advantage Loan program

Veterans: did you know? You are eligible for a break on SBA loan fees. Check out the Veterans Advantage program here.

Loans for Businesses Involved in Exportation

Export Express Loans

Export express loans are under the umbrella of the 7(a) program, and offer up to $500,000 for businesses with at least one year in business. The loan must be used in relation to a company’s export development. This could be expanding production for exportation, or finance large export orders, etc.

These loans are “express” because the approval process only takes 36 hours. Your local export assistance center will be able to help you identify whether or not you qualify.

Export Working Capital

This loan is similar to the Export Express Loan, however it takes more time to fund, and businesses can secure up to $5 million. These can be used for inventory or the production of export goods or services, financing suppliers, or to fund a business during long payment cycles associated with a foreign account.

International Trade Loans

International Trade loans are similar to the Export Working Capital loans in that they are available to businesses looking to start or expand exporting. They are to be used for expansion opportunities such as acquiring, constructing, or improving facilities and equipment that will play a role in disrupting foreign markets.

Businesses can up to $5 million through the International Trade Loan Program.

Food for Thought: Although they offer over 12 loan types, the SBA isn’t the only source for small business loans. If none of the above seem like a fit or you don’t meet the SBA’s requirements, don’t sweat it—there are tons of other options. By signing up for a free account with Nav you’ll get personalized financing options for your business, as well as free tools to build your personal and business credit so that you can qualify for the best rates with the best payment terms.

This article was originally written on January 20, 2016 and updated on January 27, 2021.

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