When it comes to getting a loan under the SBA 7(a) program, borrowers have a few options. The most popular among them include the standard SBA 7(a) loan, and the SBA Express loan. In this article, we’ll review some of the major differences between the two, in order to help you determine which type of financing might be the best for your small business.
SBA 7(a) Standard vs. Express Loans: What’s The Difference?
The standard SBA 7(a) loan and the SBA Express loan have a variety of differences, including:
Maximum Loan Amount:
Standard SBA 7(a) Loan: $5 million
SBA Express Loan: $350,000
Average Approval Time:
Standard SBA 7(a) Loan: 60-90 days
SBA Express Loan: 45-60 days
Standard SBA 7(a) Loan: Typically requires collateral equal to loan amount
SBA Express Loan: No required collateral under $25,000, and lenders can use their existing collateral policy for loans between $25,000 and $350,000
The Similarities Between Standard 7(a) and SBA Express Loans
Despite their differences, SBA 7(a) loans and SBA Express loans have a number of major similarities, including:
Credit Score Requirements: 640 minimum, with most lenders preferring 680+
Working Capital: Up to 10 years
Equipment: Up to 10 years
Real Estate: Up to 25 years
Plus, both kinds of loans are subject to general SBA eligibility requirements, meaning:
Businesses must operate for profit
Businesses must be in an approved industry (for example, no lending, gambling, speculation, real estate investing, or illegal businesses)
Businesses must already have exhausted other financing methods (personal savings, friends and family, bank loans, etc.)
When Is An SBA Express Loan Your Best Option?
The main benefit of the SBA express loan is speed; getting an SBA Express loan can cut down the entire loan approval process by a month or more. So, if your business is in a financial crunch due to unexpected expenses, or needs new working capital to finance a big order or a busy season, getting an SBA Express loan could be the perfect solution.
Loan Comparison Table
Standard SBA 7(a)
Maximum Loan Amount
Average Approval Time
No required collateral under $25,000, and lenders can use their existing collateral policy for loans between $25,000 and $350,000
Typically requires collateral equal to loan amount