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Government & Community Assistance to Obtain Money

Community Express Loan Program

Financial Resources For Northwest & West Central Ohio Entrepreneurs


Purpose of Program

Approved SBA lenders are authorized to adopt SBA’s most streamlined and expedited loan procedures to provide a unique combination of financial and technical assistance to borrowers located in the nation’s underserved communities. 

Eligible Businesses

Businesses in communities that including SBA’s Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZones) and those communities identified as distressed through the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). To encourage small businesses start-ups, SBA makes eligible loans of $25,000 or less for Community Express, regardless of where small businesses are located.

Eligible Use of Funds

Must used for an eligible purpose which includes a wide variety of general business purposes, including working capital, inventory, seasonal lines of credit, revolving lines of credit, machinery and equipment, furniture, fixtures, land and buildings (including purchase, renovation and new construction), leasehold improvements, and debt refinancing (under special conditions).

Loan Amounts

SBA will guarantee 50% of gross loans up to $350,000.

Repayment Term

Loan maturities are based on the ability to repay, the purpose of the loan proceeds, and the useful life of the assets financed. However, maximum loan maturities have been established: 25 years for real estate and equipment (should not exceed life of equipment which is generally 5-10 years), and terms for a working capital or inventory loan should be appropriate to the borrower’s ability to repay up to 10 years. Revolving lines of credit shall not exceed 7 years.

Interest Rates

Standard SBA rates apply: Lenders may charge up to prime plus 2.25% for maturities under seven years and prime plus 2.75% for maturities of seven years or more, with rates 2% higher for loans of $25,000 or less and 1% higher for loans between $25,000 and $50,000.


To offset the costs of its loan programs to the taxpayer, SBA charges lenders a guaranty fee and a servicing fee for each loan approved and disbursed. The amount of the fees is based on the guaranty portion of the loans. The lender may charge the upfront guaranty fee to the borrower after the lender has paid the fee to SBA and has made the first disbursement of the loan. The lender's annual service fee to SBA cannot be charged to the borrower.

For loans of $150,000 or less, a 2 percent guaranty fee will be charged. Lenders are again permitted to retain 0.25 percent of the up-front guaranty fee on loans with a gross amount of $150,000 or less.

For loans more than $150,000 but up to and including $700,000, a 3 percent guaranty fee will be charged.

The annual on-going servicing fee for all 7(a) loans approved on or after October 1, 2007, shall be 0.550 percent of the outstanding balance of the guaranteed portion of the loan. The legislation provides for this fee to remain in effect for the term of the loan.


Collateral, Security

Lenders are not required to take collateral for loans up to $25,000; may use their existing collateral policy for loans from $25,000 to $250,000. Each lender has its own lending and credit requirements. Generally, they require some type of collateral and personal guarantees of significant owners. The type and amount of collateral is determined by lender and government regulations, and risk characteristics of the loan. Collateral must have documented value (which may require third party appraisal) sufficient to protect the interest of the lender and the SBA in the event of loan default.


Participation Requirements

Additional Considerations

Lender must ensure borrower receives appropriate technical assistance; may use SBA’s Small Business Training Network (SBTN) and/or Resource Partners to fulfill requirements; lender must document provision of assistance in loan file.

Program Funding Source

How to Apply

Interested businesses should apply through a participating lender.

Links to Loan Application and/or Specific Information

The SBA has a web site that identifies required SBA forms and suggestions for information that should be included in your request. It is at

Small Business Administration
Columbus District Office
401 N. Front Street, Suite 200
Columbus, Ohio 43215

Go here for West Central Ohio SBA Participating Lenders

Useful Information

Interest Rate Links

Business Management Links

Glossary of Important Financial Terms You Should Understand

How To Prepare A Business Plan to Obtain Money

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