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Virginia’s small businesses are the driving force behind the commonwealth’s economy. Employing over 1.6 million people, small businesses contributed to 91.5% of all the new job openings added to Virginia’s workforce recently.
Financial support enables continued growth and expansion of small businesses. Local banks and credit unions are solid options. Nationwide banks also have worthwhile financing to explore. We’ll cover national and local banks so you can decide which one is best for your business.
We picked these banks because they do the highest amount of SBA 7a loan lending in Virginia.
Manufacturers and Traders Trust Company
Manufacturers and Traders Trust Company is better known as M&T Bank. In 2021, they approved 83 applications for Small Business Administration (SBA) 7a loans in Virginia with a total approval amount of over $14 million.
M&T was originally founded in New York, but they operate nationwide. While M&T Bank is technically a traditional lender, its approval rates for business financing are promising. They offer several financing options to meet a variety of business needs including:
- SBA loans
- Term loans
- Business credit cards
- Lines of credit
- Equipment Financing
Nationally, they’re a top 10 SBA lender and have a dedicated team of SBA lending specialists to assist you throughout the business loan process.
Wells Fargo is another large approver of small business loans in Virginia. They had a total of 50 loans approved in 2021 and issued SBA loans totaling over $6.2 million.
Wells Fargo offers a wide range of financing options for businesses, including:
- Term loans
- Merchant cash advances
- SBA Loans
- Equipment Financing
- Lines of credit
- Commercial real estate loans
Being a preferred SBA lender allows them to move through the SBA loan process quicker in some cases. As a larger bank, the interest rates offered are typically competitive.
This bank has brick-and-mortar locations in 39 states and is best for business owners who prefer servicing their loans and other financial products in person.
Newtek Small Business Finance
Newtek Small Business Finance isn’t your typical bank. They offer a limited suite of financing solutions for small businesses, but they’re very good at getting funding for the businesses that work with them.
In 2021, they had a total of $19.7 million in loans approved by the SBA for Virginia small business owners.
Newtek has a wider range of loan amounts than many banks and credit unions with business loans ranging from $1,000 to $15 million. Repayment terms range from 7 years to 25 years.
You can also choose between term loans or a revolving line of credit depending on your business needs. After contacting a business loan specialist to prequalify, there’s a 48-hour turnaround time on a decision.
The only downside about Newtek is their customer reviews. Despite having an A+ rating on the BBB, they have a bleak 2.2 rating on Trustpilot where many of the negative experiences come from business owners who tried to obtain PPP loans.
The First Bank and Trust Company
The First Bank and Trust Company is a Virginia-based bank that serviced over $8 million worth of SBA loans in the commonwealth last year. It has five loan offices in Virginia and prides itself on being a local bank.
What sets First Bank and Trust apart is that they offer loan options that other banks don’t. That includes–
- USDA Business and Industry Loans
- Nationally ranked agricultural loan program
- Municipal loans
Since this is a smaller local bank, you can expect them to get familiar with your business and take a well-rounded approach to your business loan request.
Live Oak Banking Company
Live Oak Banking Company is a bit more selective with who they issue loans, but they top the charts by lending much larger business loan amounts. In 2021, they approved an average loan amount of about $1.8 million.
With a total of $52 million approved, they’re the largest SBA loan approver in Virginia. In addition to being the #1 SBA 7a lender, they’re also the #1 USDA Business and Industry lender for 2021. Their loans start at $150,000 and go up from there.
While you’ll get the best service and a loan specialist assigned to your loan application, Live Oak Banking has no physical locations. If you prefer to visit your bank in person, this might not be the one for you.
To make up for the lack of physical presence, Live Oak maintains great service by keeping consistent contact with its applicants and customers.
Pro Tip: To qualify for the best business loan rates and repayment terms with a high-quality bank, you’ll need to build your business credit score as high as possible. Improve your business credit by working with companies that help you build business credit here.
Virginia Economic Development Loan Fund
If you’ve already received partial funding for your business endeavors, the Virginia Economic Development Loan Fund can help make up the difference between the business loan amount you have and the amount you need.
Entrepreneurs running small businesses in Virginia have the support of the Virginia Small Business Financing Authority as a funding option. These loans cater to the economically distressed areas of the commonwealth and offer loans from $50,000 to $500,000.
The funding from an economic development loan can be used for the following purposes:
- Land and real estate acquisition
- Working capital
- Purchasing machinery or equipment
- Improvements and expansions
- Technology infrastructure
Although this economic development fund is meant to help businesses under a certain revenue level (under $10 million), you’ll still need to meet credit requirements and provide documentation that verifies your ability to repay the loan.
Virginia SWaM Business Microloan Fund
Another business financing option provided by the Virginia Small Business Financing Authority is the Virginia SWaM Business Microloan Fund. This is ideal for small business owners who are looking for smaller loan amounts of up to $10,000.
These loan requests are meant to be paired with business assistance from the Virginia Small Business Development Center (SBDC). With a referral from the SBDC, you can be considered for a loan amount of up to $25,000.
These are short-term loans, so repayment is no more than 48 months. Eligible businesses will still need to qualify with a satisfactory personal credit score.
Virginia Credit Union
Virginia Credit Union offers a streamlined selection of small business lending products including commercial real estate mortgages, term loans, lines of credit, and a business credit card.
Most of their physical locations are clustered around Richmond and Central Virginia. As a credit union, they offer lower rates than most traditional banks along with lower fees.
You’ll have to be a member to take part in the benefits that come with financing through a credit union. Getting a membership to this credit union requires that you be an employee or retiree of one of their listed companies or meet one of their other membership qualifiers.
Seek Capital (Best Startup Lender)
Seek Capital is one of the best lenders for startup businesses. They offer business loans and financing that are a breeze to apply for. Getting a business loan with Seek Capital means–
- No application fee
- No collateral required
- No financial or tax returns needed
- Quick application
Since 2015, they’ve provided over $400 million in funding and have business loan amounts that go up to $500,000. Their customer service scores could be better with an average of 3.2 out of 5 on Trustpilot.
Lendio (Best Business Loan Broker)
Lendio isn’t just a business lender. It sources banks and lenders for you to find the most competitive offers for business loans. Instead of visiting multiple banks and filling out a new application each time, you can fill out one application with Lendio which takes about 15 minutes.
It’s essentially a business one-stop shop for lending options. Lendio finds the best lender for you by sending your information to its network of over 75 business lenders. The best part is that they do it without impacting your credit.
Just because it’s all online doesn’t mean you’ll do everything yourself. They also provide a funding specialist who gets to know your business and the needs behind your loan request.
Then you’re matched with loan offers from multiple lenders and you can choose the rates, capital amount, and repayment terms that work for you.
American Express Business Blueprint (Best Online Lender)
Business lines of credit Business Blueprint have the benefit of being backed by American Express. As a basic requirement, you’ll need to be in business for at least a year, have a business checking account, and be over the age of 18 to qualify.
In terms of revenue requirements, you’ll need to bring in at least $3,000 a month. You’ll also need a FICO credit score of at least 640.
Still need to improve your score before applying with American Express Business Blueprint? CreditStrong’s Business Credit Plans can help you improve your business credit score while saving money in a secure account.
One of the best features of Business Blueprint funding is that there are no origination fees or prepayment fees. You will, however, have a monthly fee that’s based on the outstanding balance of the credit line. The flexible repayment options range from 6 months, 12 months, or 18 months.
When they review the business bank account you choose to link for payments, they may be able to approve you in minutes for the funding you’ve requested.
Funding Circle is another online lender that offers business funding. What sets them apart are their excellent customer reviews and their quick approval times. Funding Circle has an outstanding 4.6 out of 5 on Trustpilot and boasts a turnaround time of 48 hours on some loans.
With a single application, you can qualify for their business term loans, the SBA 7a loan, or their business line of credit. Throughout the loan process, you’ll have a dedicated loan specialist to help you and you can receive funds in as little as three days with the term loan.
Although their term loans will require a moderately high business credit score, you may still be able to qualify for a business line of credit.
New businesses might find it difficult to meet the credit requirements for Funding Circle. Before applying, start building business credit with net 30 accounts. Then once your credit is higher, get the best possible rate from Funding Circle.
Seychelle is a Maryland-based personal finance writer and business owner. She’s passionate about helping others out of financial pitfalls she’s already dug herself out of. Most of her finance knowledge stems from her career as a Financial Consultant and Branch Manager at the 7th largest US bank. Read more of her work on credit, budgeting, debt consolidation, and entrepreneurship at www.seychellewrites.com