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First Chatham Bank Small Business Loan Review

Anne Miller

Anne Miller

Senior Author

Anne Miller

Senior Author

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First Chatham Bank Small Business Loan ReviewFirst Chatham Bank is a nationwide SBA 7(a) lender with an in-depth knowledge of the SBA 7(a) loan program. They provide human experts that claim to provide quality efficient service across the nation to a wide range of industries. The fact that they specialize in one particular SBA loan is very interesting and pretty rare. They are more descriptive about the qualities of the loan and conditions for its approval.

Understanding Your Loan Options

The SBA 7(a) loan allows clients to borrow from $350,000 to $5,000,000, as well as smaller loan amounts under $350,000 on a case by case basis. Clients projects are approved for business and industrial projects, purchase & acquisitions, refinancing, ground-up construction, remodeling, expansion, purchase of equipment, machinery, inventory and start-up franchising.

The loan offers flexible terms up to 25 years on real estate,15 years on heavy duty equipment and 10 years or less on small equipment, furniture, working capital, and inventories.

For loans requiring a cash injection, they offer terms of up to 90% financing on transaction involving real estate purchases, up to 85% financing purchase of new equipment and inventories. For non-real estate business expenses, they offer 80-85% financing. No prepayment penalty for loan terms of 15 years of less, which can be a very good idea if you think you will be able to pay it back early and save a bunch of interest money. The First Chatham Bank also does USDA Business and Industrial Loans in rural areas of populations of 50,000 or less.

Speed of Implementation and Loan Duration

First Chatham is an experienced lender when it comes to small business loans, but even they can’t do much to increase the speed of disbursement for the SBA lending product they offer. As such they operate about as quickly as other brick and mortar institutions do in terms of turnaround time for approval and disbursement. You should expect a faster response if you’re applying for one of their private products that aren’t government backed. Either way, if you’re looking to make up short-term working capital shortages, you’re better off looking for another option.

Fine Print and Final Thoughts

The depth of the loan program offered in this area by First Chatham Bank does not necessarily come cheap. The bank expects its customers to pay for access to their expertise. People often sign on the dotted line without taking the time to read the fine print, which is a costly error that you will want to avoid. In the fine print, you will often find hidden fees and service charges that you did not expect to encounter, increasing the overall cost of your loan.

Anne Miller

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.


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