Small Business Loans for Veterans Just Got Better
When I talk to veterans about small business loans, I’m surprised at how many are unaware of the options available to them. For many veterans, small business loans are much more attainable than they expected. The US Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Patriot Express Loan offers terms that traditional financing does not. And with recent changes to the Patriot Express loan terms, the benefits are only getting better.
No Upfront Fee for Veterans in 2014
Starting January 1st of this year, the US Small Business Administration (SBA) is waiving the upfront fee for all veteran business loans under 350k that are authorized under the Small Loan Advantage (SLA) loan program. Roughly 73% of SBA business loans for veterans are $350,000 and below, so this initiative has the potential for big impact on veteran borrowers. What does this mean to you? The upfront fee is a percentage of your guaranteed loan amount and is calculated into your total closing costs. If you’re a veteran, this could mean a savings of up to $7,875 on your SBA loan closing costs! This initiative is aimed at giving more veterans access to business loans, and will continue through the end of the 2014 fiscal year.
Other Benefits of the Patriot Express Loan
The SBA Patriot Express loan for veterans can be used for a wide range of business expenses, including business acquisition or expansion, commercial real estate purchase or construction, equipment, new business development, debt consolidation and working capital. Patriot Express loan terms and lending criteria are also more flexible than traditional bank loans, resulting in approvals for borrowers that have been refused business financing from their banks. Other benefits of the program include:
- Higher loan amounts than the SBAExpress loan program
- Lower interest rates
- Faster turnaround
- Streamlined processing
The Patriot Express loan uses the same lending criteria as the SBA 7(a) loan, but is only available to veterans and members of the military community, including:
• Veterans (other than dishonorably discharged),
• Service-disabled veterans,
• Reservists and National Guard members,
• Active-duty service members participating in the military’s Transition Assistance Program,
• Current spouses of any of the above, and
• The widowed spouse of a service member or veteran who died during service or of a service-connected disability.
The Down Side to This Program
While the Patriot Express loan is opening up possibilities to many veterans, it might not be the right loan option for you. There are a few restrictions of the program that make it less attractive for some borrowers, particularly those making a property purchase. The maximum loan amount is $500,000- not a lot if you’re wanting to purchase commercial real estate. Because of this, veterans looking for a commercial real estate loan will probably find that their needs exceed the Patriot Express loan terms. In this case, the standard SBA 7(a) loan is probably a more suitable program, as it caps out at $5 million.
Resources for Veteran Small Business Owners
Even if the Patriot Express loan terms aren’t robust enough for your needs, the SBA offers veteran specific resources that you may find very valuable. You can find them at their website here, or contact your local SBA office for in-depth guidance, training and business mentoring. This SBA blog post also lists some excellent resources for veteran entrepreneurs.