Jun 18, 2024
Travis Palmer

How Long Does an SBA Loan Take to Process? A Comprehensive Timeline

Securing an SBA loan can be a significant step for your business, but understanding the timeline for processing these loans is crucial. This guide explores the steps involved, factors affecting the processing time, and tips to expedite your SBA loan application.

1. Overview of SBA Loan Processing

Typical Timeline

  • Average Time: The average processing time for an SBA loan is between 30 to 90 days.
  • Variability: Processing times can vary depending on the type of loan, the lender, and the completeness of your application.

Key Steps

  • Pre-Qualification: Initial assessment by the lender.
  • Application Submission: Submitting the full loan application and required documents.
  • Underwriting: Detailed review and analysis by the lender.
  • Approval and Funding: Final approval and disbursement of funds.

2. Detailed Timeline Breakdown

Step 1: Pre-Qualification (1-2 Weeks)

Initial Consultation

  • Meeting with Lender: Discuss your financing needs and determine if you pre-qualify for an SBA loan.
  • Pre-Qualification Assessment: Lender evaluates your business and financial health.

Step 2: Application Submission (2-3 Weeks)

Preparing Documentation

  • Gather Required Documents: Collect necessary documents such as business plans, financial statements, tax returns, and personal financial statements.
  • Complete Application Forms: Fill out SBA loan application forms and any additional forms required by the lender.

Submission and Initial Review

  • Submit Application: Submit your complete application and documentation to the lender.
  • Initial Review: Lender performs an initial review to ensure all required information is provided.

Step 3: Underwriting (2-4 Weeks)

Detailed Analysis

  • Credit Check: Lender performs a detailed credit check.
  • Financial Analysis: Lender reviews financial statements, cash flow, and business plan.
  • Collateral Evaluation: Assessment of collateral offered to secure the loan.

Additional Documentation

  • Requests for Additional Information: Lender may request additional documents or clarifications.

Step 4: Approval and Funding (1-3 Weeks)

Loan Approval

  • Approval Notification: If approved, you receive a notification outlining the loan terms.
  • Sign Agreement: Review and sign the loan agreement.

Disbursement of Funds

  • Final Review: Lender conducts a final review to ensure all conditions are met.
  • Fund Disbursement: Funds are disbursed to your business account.

3. Factors Affecting Processing Time

Type of SBA Loan

  • SBA 7(a) Loans: Generally take longer due to more comprehensive requirements and larger loan amounts.
  • SBA 504 Loans: Can be faster for real estate and equipment purchases but require coordination with a Certified Development Company (CDC).
  • SBA Express Loans: Typically processed faster, within 36 hours for approval, but have a lower maximum loan amount.

Lender’s Efficiency

  • Experienced Lenders: Lenders with extensive experience in SBA loans often process applications faster.
  • Lender’s Workload: High application volumes can slow down processing times.

Completeness of Application

  • Complete Documentation: Providing complete and accurate documentation upfront speeds up the process.
  • Response Time: Quick responses to requests for additional information help maintain momentum.

Business Financial Health

  • Creditworthiness: Strong credit scores and financial health can expedite approval.
  • Collateral: Readily available and sufficient collateral can speed up underwriting.

4. Tips to Expedite Your SBA Loan Application

Prepare Thoroughly

  • Gather Documents Early: Start collecting required documents early in the process.
  • Double-Check Forms: Ensure all forms are complete and accurate before submission.

Choose the Right Lender

  • Experienced SBA Lenders: Work with lenders experienced in processing SBA loans.
  • Pre-Approval: Seek pre-approval to understand potential issues early.

Respond Promptly

  • Quick Communication: Respond promptly to any requests for additional information or documentation.
  • Stay Available: Be readily available for any follow-up questions from the lender.

Maintain Financial Health

  • Credit Management: Maintain a strong credit score and financial health.
  • Organized Records: Keep your financial records organized and up-to-date.


The processing time for an SBA loan can vary widely depending on several factors, including the type of loan, the lender's efficiency, and the completeness of your application. By understanding the steps involved and taking proactive measures, you can expedite the process and secure the funding your business needs.

Ready to explore your funding options and secure the right financial solutions for your business? Get offers today! Fill out an application with Approvd and discover the best funding solutions for your business. For more business, credit, and financial insights, visit our Approvd blog page.

About the Author

With over 20 years of experience in the business loan marketplace at Approvd, our expert has helped countless small business owners navigate the complexities of securing the right funding. Passionate about empowering entrepreneurs, our expert combines industry knowledge with a deep understanding of the challenges faced by small businesses today.

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