The Small Business Administration (SBA) announced it will launch a first-of-its-kind tool on the federal agency’s website that will allow entrepreneurs looking for a small business loan to get matched with a SBA lender.
This tool, called Leveraging Information and Networks to access Capital (LINC) will have small business owners fill out a simple online form of 20 questions and connect them with lenders within 48 hours.
Upon completion, a borrower’s application will be publicized to every lender in that borrower’s county, as well as to other lenders with a regional or national reach.
Once lenders have reviewed the information that matters most to them, they’ll respond within 48 hours, all this for no fee or commitment.
The option is designed to untether entrepreneurs from any one neighborhood bank and give them broader access to capital via technology.
In a typical 24-month period, 574,000 visitors to the SBA’s Web site are looking for a lender.
"This is an improvement to our website that enables a borrower to more efficiently find a lender, said Miguel Ayala, SBA press secretary.
Ayala said ease of use is essential when it comes to Web-based tools for businesses.
"In a few minutes, a borrower can share just enough information for a SBA- approved lender to make an informed decision about pursuing financing with that borrower," he said.
LINC will roll out in waves, and will begin by connecting small business owners with non-profit lenders that offer free financial advice and specialize in micro lending, loans in the SBA’s Community Advantage program, and real estate financing.
In the longer-term, the SBA plans to add more traditional banks that offer an even wider array of financial products.
Initially, 124 lenders across SBA’s lending programs are participating in LINC, operating in all 50 states, Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico.