SBA Veterans Advantage
Small Business Loan Program Replaces Patriot Express
March 10, 2014 by Jake Butler
On December 31, 2013, the federal government's Patriot Express loan program quietly came to an end after six and a half years and billions of dollars' worth of financial assistance spread all around the country to veterans, service members and military spouses in need.
Luckily, though, the Small Business Administration (SBA) remains dedicated to helping veterans and military personnel interested in starting or expanding their businesses. A new program called SBA Veterans Advantage is already in place and ready to handle the increasing demand as more and more service members return home.
SBA Background Info
The SBA is a part of the federal government that provides financial support for small business owners and entrepreneurs in the form of low-interest loans with limited fees and streamlined application processes. There are currently 68 district offices and 15 Veterans Business Outreach Centers all around the country, with thousands more business development and counseling centers available to help fill in the gaps.
All 50 states are represented, so check out the SBA's website to find a local office near you. If you're interested in a small business loan, meeting with a local representative is the perfect place to start.
Benefits of SBA Veterans Advantage Loans
Much like the Patriot Express program, the application process is about as easy as it gets. And it's quick too - usually you will have an answer within 36 hours of applying. Loans can range anywhere from a few thousand dollars to $500,000. Here's a quick rundown of the advantages offered with this program:
- Guaranty fee eliminated
- Loans over $150,000 will have no guaranty fee (normally 3% or higher)
- No collateral required for loans less than $25,000
- Interest rates are usually 2.75% over prime
- Funds wired directly to your business' bank account
These loans are flexible enough that you can use them for just about any business purpose, including start-up costs, expansion, equipment, inventory, real estate, working capital and more.
In order to take advantage of this program, the applying business must be owned at 51% or more by an individual or individuals who meet at least one of the following requirements:
- Veteran not dishonorably discharged
- Service-disabled veteran
- Transitioning active-duty military member
- Reservist or National Guard member
- Current spouse or widow of a service member that falls into one of the four categories above
Just like the Patriot Express program, the benefits of this kind of loan won't last forever. The program will only run through September 30, 2014.
If you aren't able to get the funding you need before the September 30 cutoff your best option from SBA will be a standard 7(a) loan, which will still give you a fair interest rate but will not be as forgiving with the fees, and may have more strict eligibility criteria.