Small Business Association Loan Checklist – Prior to CARES Act

This article was updated on March 24, 2020.  Updates to this article will be made as new information becomes available.

Schneider Downs continues to track the evolving landscape of financial programs offered to small businesses disrupted by the coronavirus (COVID-19).  This is a summary of the U.S. Small Business Administration (“SBA”) loan process and documents needed to apply for an SBA loan, prior to any of the new legislation passed by the federal government as a result of COVID-19.  Schneider Downs can assist with the application process and the documents necessary for these loans.


The SBA works with lenders to provide loans to small businesses.  The SBA doesn’t lend money directly to small business owners. Instead, it sets guidelines for loans made by its partnering lenders, community development organizations, and micro-lending institutions.  The SBA reduces risk for lenders and makes it easier for them to access capital, which makes it easier for small businesses to get loans.

Benefits of SBA-Guaranteed Loans

SBA-guaranteed loans generally have rate and fees that are comparable to non-guaranteed loans.  Additionally, some loans have lower down payments, flexible overhead requirements and no collateral requirements.  The SBA also offers continued support with some loans.

Loan Amounts and Business Purpose

The 7(a) loan program is the SBA’s primary program for providing financial assistance to small businesses and this program is currently being proposed as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act.

Eligibility Requirements

Lenders and loan programs have unique eligibility requirements, remembering that these requirements may change with the final version of the CARES Act.  Generally, eligibility prior to the CARES Act is based on the following:

  • Be a for-profit business – the business is officially registered and operates legally
  • Have invested equity – the business owner has invested their own time or money into the business
  • Do business in the U.S. – the business is physically located and operates in the U.S. or its territories
  • Exhaust financing options – the business cannot get funds from any other financial lender
  • Normally, businesses must meet size standards, be able to repay, and have a sound business purpose. Even those with bad credit may qualify for startup funding. A lender will provide a business with a full list of eligibility requirements for a business loan. 

Application Process

The SBA loan application process works as follows:

  1. Describe your business needs – answer a few question about the business
  2. Get matched in 2 business days – receive email with contact information of lender who express interest in loan
  3. Talk to lenders – compare rates, terms, fees and more
  4. Apply for loans – submit loan applications and paperwork

Brief Checklist before Meeting with a Lender

Before meeting with a lender and prior to any changes in the CARES Act, a business should have the following information or documents ready for a 7(a) loan application:

  • Business plan – most lenders will expect a business plan when applying for funding
  • Amount and use of funds – a business should know how much capital is needed and how it will help the business
  • Credit history – lenders will use credit scores to determine credit risk and interest rate.  The SBA may help guarantee some loans that otherwise may not qualify.
  • Financial projections – a business needs to understand its finances, how funds will be used and how the business plans to pay back the loan.
  • Collateral – many lenders require a business to use another asset to guarantee the loan.  This may be a home, car, inventory or other property owned.
  • Industry experience – this may not be required, but it’s helpful.  Knowledge of the business’ industry can make a lender feel confident about making the loan.
  • Borrower information form – to begin the process, a small business owner will need to complete SBA Form 1919.  This form must be completed by all associates of the business applicant as required on the form, to include all owners of 20% or more of the business, all officers and directors, managing members, any person hired to manage the day-to-day operations and any other person who is guaranteeing the loan.
  • Personal background and financial statement
    • Statement of Personal History – SBA Form 912 (if required after completing Form 1919)
    • Personal Financial Statement – SBA Form 413 (not required, but available for lenders to use)
  • Business financial statement – to support the application and the ability to repay the loan, the following statements must be prepared:
    • Year-end Profit and Loss Statement (last three years)
    • Year-end Balance Sheet (last three years, including a detailed debt schedule)
    • Reconciliation of Net Worth
    • Interim Balance Sheet
    • Interim Profit & Loss Statements
    • Projected Financial Statements (includes month to month cash flow projections, for at least a one-year period)
  • Business certificate/license – small business owners will need to be able to provide the original business license or certificate of doing business when closing the loan.  If the business is a corporation, stamp the corporate seal on the SBA loan application form.  This information should be readily available to provide to the lender.
  • Loan application history – include records of any loans the small business owner may have applied for in the past
  • Income tax returns – include the business’ signed federal income tax returns for the previous three years
  • Resumes – include personal resumes for each principal
  • Business overview and history – provide a history of the business and its challenges.  Include an explanation of why the SBA loan is needed and how it will help the business
  • Business lease – include a copy of the business lease, or note for a landlord, giving terms of the proposed lease

These documents are not necessary for an SBA Disaster Loan and may not be necessary for loans under the CARES Act.

Please contact Schneider Downs if you have questions regarding the documents needed for the SBA loan process. 

Also, visit our Coronavirus resource page at for additional related content.

You’ve heard our thoughts… We’d like to hear yours

The Schneider Downs Our Thoughts On blog exists to create a dialogue on issues that are important to organizations and individuals. While we enjoy sharing our ideas and insights, we’re especially interested in what you may have to say. If you have a question or a comment about this article – or any article from the Our Thoughts On blog – we hope you’ll share it with us. After all, a dialogue is an exchange of ideas, and we’d like to hear from you. Email us at [email protected].

Material discussed is meant for informational purposes only, and it is not to be construed as investment, tax, or legal advice. Please note that individual situations can vary. Therefore, this information should be relied upon when coordinated with individual professional advice.

© 2023 Schneider Downs. All rights-reserved. All content on this site is property of Schneider Downs unless otherwise noted and should not be used without written permission.

our thoughts on
Frauds of the Rich and the Famous: The Star-studded Saga of Jennifer Shah
Frauds of the Rich and Famous: The FTX Collapse and the Chrisleys
Frauds of the Rich and Famous: Billy McFarland and The Fyre Festival
Fraud Week 2023: Frauds of the Rich and the Famous
Understanding Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds Audit and Reporting Requirements
Tips to Minimize the Risk of Check Washing
Register to receive our weekly newsletter with our most recent columns and insights.
Have a question? Ask us!

We’d love to hear from you. Drop us a note, and we’ll respond to you as quickly as possible.

Ask us
contact us

This site uses cookies to ensure that we give you the best user experience. Cookies assist in navigation, analyzing traffic and in our marketing efforts as described in our Privacy Policy.