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The most visible elements of the SBA are the loan programs it administers. The SBA does not provide grants or direct loans with the exception of Disaster Relief Loans. Instead, the SBA guarantees against default certain portions of business loans made by banks and other lenders that conform to its guidelines.

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In 2008 we defaulted on SBA loan, went through a foreclosure and our lawyer told us we were ‘all set’ and we we were, this SUMMER we got a bill for $150,000. No contact in 7 years and the SBA all of a sudden sent us right on to the department of Treasury, no due process…. forced us into an emergency bankruptcy.

You should approach small-business-loan shopping just as you would shopping for a car, says Suzanne Darden, a business consultant at the Alabama Small Business Development Center. Once you determine which type of lender and financing vehicle are right for you, compare two or three similar options based on annual percentage rate (total borrowing cost) and terms. Of the loans you qualify for, choose the one with the lowest APR, as long as you are able to handle the loan’s regular payments.

When pitching an angel investor, all the old rules still apply: be succinct, avoid jargon, have an exit strategy. But the economic turmoil of the last few years has made a complicated game even trickier. Here are some tips to win over angel interest:

• Assemble a complete financial history. In addition to your personal credit information, a lender is going to want to know that your business has a stable financial history. “An accurate and complete financial history is very important to lend credibility to the SBA loan request,” Anderson says. “If you are currently in business, lenders will want to see profit and loss statements for three complete fiscal years and the current year to date. In addition they will want a recent balance sheet, within the last 60 days.” If you are just starting a business, this step is not required. But keep in mind that it is much more difficult to obtain SBA loans for start-up businesses than existing businesses.

Because you’re just starting out and your personal credit score is below 600, your best bet is microloans through nonprofit lenders or the U.S. Small Business Administration. The downside is these are “micro” amounts of money, usually no more than $50,000. However, many microlenders help businesses grow and establish better credit. SBA microloans generally have an APR of 8% to 8.5% and manageable repayment terms. Successfully repaying microloans will boost your credit score and make you eligible for bigger financing.

Many new small-business owners access financing through personal loans, often via a growing number of online lenders. But like credit cards, personal loans can have high APRs, especially for bad credit borrowers.

As a U.S. SBA preferred lender, TD Bank has a lending group especially dedicated to SBA customers. Our experienced Business Development Officers, Credit Underwriting and Closing Groups help keep the approval and closing process running smoothly as well as provide funds quickly and efficiently.

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