If you have everything prepped to create or expand your small business, then all you need is a friendly bank to help you with your cash flow. One of the best and most affordable ways to get the capital you need is to work with a Small Business Association (SBA) approved lender to get a low-interest SBA loan. These loans are available to small businesses at low interest rates to help spur job creation and investments in the local economy, so take advantage if you’re able.

But how do you go about determining an SBA lender to trust?

Finding SBA Loans

First, you’ll need to figure out which banks you’re willing to work with actually offer SBA loans. The best way to do this is to head to the SBA website and use the SBA Local Assistance map page. There, you’ll be able to scroll through the list of U.S. states and choose the district office which covers your area, where you’ll be able to find additional information. Otherwise, head to the actual map and put in your zipcode and it will give you both the local district office address as well as any upcoming events to help train yourself or your employees better!

These district offices will help you find local lenders – like Sentry Bank – who can assist you with the SBA loan application process.

Narrowing Down The List

Once you find a bank or a number of banks you’re interested, you can narrow down the list a bit by checking if they are part of the SBA’s Preferred Lender Program, which Sentry Bank is. The PLP is a designation by the SBA showing the bank is proficient in helping small businesses obtain SBA loans and does so above a set volume, so you can trust they really know what they’re doing.

Application Process

Now it’s time to start working through the application process. Each bank will be able to offer slightly different advantages to the SBA loan you’re applying for, but only PLP participants will be able to streamline the process and make your application process smooth. You can be prepared for the application process before you meet with your lender by gathering your personal and business financial statements, tax returns, collateral documents, articles of incorporation (if an existing business), resume and business plan (if starting a business.)

To apply for SBA loans at Sentry Bank, you’ll need to speak with a commercial lender, like our own Doug Danielson, Mike Grogan and Ryan Holthaus.

Best of luck!