Bank of the West Small Business Loan Review
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Bank of the West is designated as an “SBA Preferred Lender.” This means that they have been certified by the SBA to offer a faster process for approval on an SBA loan than you might find at another lender. SBA loans are preferable for businesses because of the lower interest rates and generous repayment terms that usually accompany them.
Understanding Your Loan Options
SBA loans from Bank of the West are in participation with the United States Small Business Administration. Loans are subject to approval in accordance with Bank and SBA eligibility and lending guidelines. The two major SBA partnership loans are available at the Bank of the West, including the 504 program that focuses on real estate and machinery funding and the 7(a) program that requires security but offers the same real estate loans for variable rates and 20-25-year terms. Their website is fairly explanatory as to the process of application and the conditions for the loan.
One important requirement to note for SBA loans is that the way you spend the money is very closely regulated. You can’t use SBA loans for any personal expenses or to pay off credit cards unless the transactions on those cards are all business-based.
Speed of Implementation and Loan Duration
Bank of the West gets some serious honesty points for telling you straight up that they can achieve pre-approval for your loan within two days but if everything is in place it will take at best 30 days for final approval. That is refreshing, since many banks claim to speed up the process, however it’s important to keep in mind that the process might be slower for larger loans, as the bank and/or the government will want to protect itself from risk. The larger the amount, the more paperwork and documentation that needs to be provided, especially if backed by the SBA rather than with a personal asset or security. Gather more information on how to get a business loan to start a business.
Fine Print and Final Thoughts
These loans often go to companies that have spent some time learning about the process of applying for such programs and have their ducks in a row as far as bookkeeping and documentation of all of the financial requirements that are requested by such lending institutions. This particular bank uses personal sales representatives and loan counselors, so the preferred mode of communication is the phone to even start to talk about the requirements of the loan process. It might be worth asking your accountant if you are lucky enough to have one.
Anne is a Senior Author for SBL. She began her career as an independent consultant for local businesses after graduating with a BA in Management. Since that time, she’s expanded to writing as well as consulting to spread helpful knowledge to small business owners across the country.