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Small Business Loans in California (2021 Update)

Small businesses account for more jobs in the United States than any other companies. More than half the population in the country either works for a small business or owns a small business. In order to sustain small businesses, many banks in California and across the country are willing to work with business owners and provide them with working capital.

Small Business Loans in California

Entrepreneurship and Small Business Lending

California is one of the most innovative and entrepreneurial states in the nation. According to NerdWallet, California ranks third on the list of most entrepreneurial states. The state generates more than $84.23 million in angel investors and venture capital per 100,000 people, and the state recorded a 2.6 percent rise in the growth of small businesses from 2010 to 2013, which ranks fifth on the list of states with the fastest growing

The State of Small Business Lending

Since the Great Recession of 2008, many banks and finance companies tightened their lending standards on small business loans, making it difficult to qualify for financing. According to the Small Business Administration, small business lending in 2013 was at the same levels as 2002. Many creditworthy borrowers were priced out of qualifying for small business loans because banks began focusing their attention on larger businesses with big balance sheets. Although the credit markets and interest rates support a strong borrowing environment for small businesses, many banks are still unwilling to loosen their lending guidelines.

Small Business Lending in California

The Office of Advocacy at the SBA reports that California is the eighth largest economy in the world, as of 2015. Statistics show that 99.2 percent of the commerce generated in the state is from small businesses. In 2014, California banks and lenders approved close to $11.7 billion in loans for small businesses, and entrepreneurs accounted for most of those loans by taking out 836,919 total loans for less than $100,000.


Banks in California That Offer Small Business Loans

Below are six banks considered best for small business loans in California:

Commercial Bank of California

Having been merged with National Bank of California, the Commercial Bank of California now has a total of $750 million. Since the merge in 2016, they have opened regional offices in new locations within the state.

Tri Counties Bank

Headquartered in Chico, California, Tri Counties Bank aims to be the source of financial success through its extensive list of consumer and small business banking services.

Pacific Enterprise Bank

Pacific Enterprise Bank was erected in 2007 to fulfill the banking needs of the business community. Its focus is lending to small businesses anywhere from $250 thousand to $5 million.

Seacoast Commerce Bank

Headquartered in San Diego, Seacoast Commerce Bank is determined to provide for the funding needs of small businesses in Western United States.

Community Commerce Bank

Community Commerce Bank specializes in loan products, both for individual consumer and small businesses, as well as deposit accounts.

Plaza Bank

Founded in 2005 in Irvine, California, Plaza Bank has one of the biggest lists of financial services, ensuring that they would be able to accommodate everyone and their specific banking needs.

Top Cities in California and Their Lenders

California is one of the nation’s most famous states. It attracts some of the most ambitious individuals to the area. The entertainment and tech industries play a major role in the state economy. But there’s more to California than what you see on television. The area has a thriving small business community with a great support network for entrepreneurs. Below are the top cities in California for small business owners. We also make recommendations on local lenders that you should use if you end up starting business in the area.

Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles is the most famous city in California. It’s home to the entertainment capital of the world – Hollywood. If you want to take advantage of all the hustle-and-bustle in the area, the lenders below will be your best financing options:

Los Angeles Federal Credit Union

The Los Angeles Federal Credit Union is our favorite business lender in the Los Angeles region. They’ve been helping local business owners obtain funding for decades – they’re local experts.

PACE Finance Corporation

PACE Finance Corporation is another popular lender in the Los Angeles region. They specialize in business loans. They focus on developing local communities and providing tools to small business owners.

San Diego, California

San Diego is a beautiful costal city in the state of California – it’s also the second largest metropolitan area. The local economy benefits from international trade, military bases, and tourism. If you start a business in the area, make sure to use one of the lenders below:

SDBFC stands for San Diego Commercial & Business Financing. The company focuses exclusively on working with businesses in San Diego to help them obtain the funding they need.


LendSpark is a local lender in San Diego that specializes in helping business owners with small startup loans. They’re also known for their equipment financing.

San Jose, California

San Jose is a large, mainly inland city that borders Silicon Valley. It’s much more affordable to move to when compared to neighboring San Francisco. The best business lenders in San Jose are listed below.

Heritage Bank of Commerce

Heritage Bank of Commerce is a specialty lending bank in San Jose that works with local businesses to obtain niche financing options. They’re our favorite lender in the San Jose region.

San Francisco, California

If you’re interest in technology, this is the place to be – San Francisco is the tech capital of the nation. Below are the top lenders in the area.

San Francisco Federal Credit Union

Like many cities, the local credit union in San Francisco is our favorite lender in the area. They provide great rates and have tons of local experience.

FNB has been a longstanding partner with San Francisco businesses – they’ve been providing SBA loans to the area for over 50 years.

Fresno, California

Fresno is one of California’s most popular inland cities. The local economy is driven by the medical and manufacturing industries. The lender we recommend in the area is listed below:

Fresno First Bank

Fresno First Bank provides commercial lending solutions to businesses in the region. They’re really popular with the local clientele. They also have consumer banking products.

Sacramento, California

Sacramento is a former Gold Rush city that has diversified its economy into a range of different services. The area is extremely affordable and has plenty of room for small business growth. The top lender in Sacramento is provided below:

First Northern Bank

First Northern Bank is the major lender in the Sacramento region – they also provide business loans to other small communities in the area.

Long Beach, California

Long Beach is a well-known city that borders Los Angeles. It has become a very popular tourist destination in recent years. The top lender in Long Beach is listed below:

Matrix Business Capital

If you want a local partner that has expertise in the Long Beach area, this is your best choice. Matrix is also well known for its expertise in equipment leasing.

Oakland, California

Oakland is a city just south of San Francisco, the region also benefits largely from the tech scene. Oakland is much more affordable than San Francisco. Check out our favorite local lender below:

Working Solutions

If you’re looking for a local lender that can provide your Oakland based business with microloans, Working Solutions is the perfect option.

Bakersfield, California

Bakersfield is another inland city in the California region that has a large emphasis on healthcare and manufacturing. Our top lender in the area is provided below:

AltaOne Federal Credit Union

AltaOne Federal Credit Union has a local branch in Bakersfield which is used to provide borrowers with commercial and small business loans. They’re our recommendation for the area.

Anaheim, California

Anaheim, California is the home of Disneyland resort. Much of the local economy is based around the Disney resort:


LoanMe provides online personal and small business loans to their customers. They also have a local office right in the middle of Anaheim. They’re great if you want a physical lender with an online presence!


Remember, some of these companies or banks are very specialized and may only handle SBA loans or a business line of credit. Ask them about any special programs for minorities or women. Also ask for information about business grants for startups if that interest you. If you bad credit don't worry as there still may be other alternative lenders willing to work with you.