“Effective today, LINC will bring entrepreneurs and SBA lenders together. There’s a hunger among entrepreneurs to find financing to get their business off the ground or take the next big step in their expansion plan. The SBA stands there ready to help them, now with a few simple clicks,” said Contreras-Sweet. “Across the country, thousands of small business owners pound the pavement every day looking for term loans, equipment financing, lines of credit, invoice financing, and real estate loans to help them hire and grow. If you have a bankable business idea backed by good credit and sound financial planning, the SBA wants to streamline the process for you to get the capital you need.”
According to SBA’s Region II, Regional Administrator Kellie LeDet, who oversees SBA’s programs and services for New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, once a borrower completes the online form it will then be sent to every lender in that borrower’s county, as well as to other lenders with a regional or national reach. Once those lenders have reviewed the information that matters most to them, they’ll respond within 48 hours, all this for no fees or commitment.
“This option frees entrepreneurs from the limited choices they may have,” said LeDet. “Using this technology will enhance a borrowers’ position with lenders and provide them with alternative sources of finance.”
LeDet said, the agency plans to roll out LINC in waves. It will begin by connecting small business owners with nonprofit lenders that offer free financial advice and specialize in micro lending, loans in its Community Advantage program, and real estate financing. In the longer-term, SBA will look to add more traditional banks that offer an even wider array of financial products.
“We are excited about the roll out of LINC and how it will simplify the process for borrowers to find an SBA lender in our region,” said LeDet. “At the end of the day, this new tool will ultimately help improve a borrowers’ access to capital.”
As of today’s launch, 124 lenders across SBA’s lending programs are participating in LINC, operating in all 50 states, DC, and Puerto Rico. Since 2009, these borrowers have made more than 42,000 SBA loans, totaling more than $17 billion.