All SBA lenders are not created equal. There are 3 general categories of SBA lenders. When you are obtaining your loan it’s critical to make sure you know your lender’s standing with the Small Business Administration.
1. Preferred lender Program (PLP)- (24 hour turnaround) a PLP or Preferred Lender Program has the authority to make the final credit decision on your loan. These lenders can approve your loan in as little as 24 hours depending on their guidelines. They have extensive experience demonstrating to the SBA that they know the guidelines and can appropriately service your loan. This is the best lending institution to go to get your loan done.
2. Certified Lender’s Program (CLP)- (3 day decision) This lender can get a decision back from the local SBA office in an expedited manner. They are not able to make individual credit decisions themselves for the SBA, however they have good knowledge of the process.
3. General Program Lender (GPL)- (7-30 day decision) All banks and Small Business Lending Companies can participate in the General Program Lender program. The Small Business Administration services these loans on a “first come first serve” basis. The Regional SBA office will perform an extensive underwriting process on these loans.
After researching a few lenders I found that most lenders fall into the GPL category. You should ask your lender how many Small Business Administration loans they originate annually and what their standing is. Remember the more autonomy the lender has with the Small Business Administration, the faster the loan can go through.