SBA 7a Loan Activity Trends

The Small Business Administration’s (SBA) 7(a) loan program has long been an essential lifeline for countless entrepreneurs and small business owners in the United States. Designed to provide financial support, encouragement, and growth opportunities, the program has consistently played a crucial role in fueling the success of small enterprises. In this article, we will delve into the data of approved SBA 7(a) loans based on dollars by quarter from 2018 to 2023 to gain insights into the program’s evolution and impact.


SBA Loan Activity by Quarter

The data from 2018 to 2023 reveals a consistent upward trend in the total dollars of approved SBA 7(a) loans. This steady growth showcases the program’s resilience and effectiveness in supporting the growth of small businesses, even in the face of economic uncertainties. Let’s examine the data by quarter to gain a more comprehensive understanding.



In 2018, approved SBA 7(a) loans in the first quarter amounted to $5.40 billion. The subsequent year, 2019, saw a slight dip to $5.10 billion in Q1, but this was followed by a notable increase in 2020, with approved loans amounting to $4.58 billion. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, 2021 witnessed a substantial surge, with the first quarter recording $5.69 billion in approved loans. The growth did not stop there, as 2022 and 2023 further solidified the upward trajectory with $6.28 billion and $6.07 billion in approved loans, respectively. This consistent rise reflects the resilience of small businesses and their ability to adapt to changing market conditions with the support of the SBA 7(a) program.



Quarter two consistently showed higher approved loan amounts compared to quarter one throughout the years under review. Starting at $6.17 billion in 2018, the second quarter’s approved loans increased to $8.81 billion in 2021. This notable jump in 2021 can be attributed to the pent-up demand from the pandemic’s impact, as businesses sought financial assistance to recover and expand. Even in the subsequent years, Q2 numbers remained robust, recording $7.35 billion in 2022 and $6.44 billion in 2023. The second quarter figures demonstrate the program’s efficacy in providing timely funding to fuel growth during periods of economic resurgence.



Quarter three’s data tells a compelling story of growth and resilience. In 2018, approved SBA 7(a) loans stood at $6.63 billion, which climbed to $16.99 billion in 2021. This remarkable surge in 2021 reflects the significant demand for financial support as businesses aimed to restore and expand their operations after the pandemic-induced slump. Though data for Q3 in 2022 and 2023 are not yet available, it is reasonable to anticipate continued growth and stability based on the program’s track record.



The final quarter of each year showcases an intriguing pattern. Starting from $6.29 billion in 2018, approved SBA 7(a) loans declined to $4.47 billion in 2021, only to rebound to $6.78 billion in 2022. This fluctuation might be attributed to varying economic conditions and seasonal trends affecting businesses’ loan application behavior. The data for Q4 in 2023 is yet to be seen, but if the trend continues, it could indicate a positive end to the year.


The data on approved SBA 7(a) loans from 2018 to 2023 demonstrates the program’s consistent growth and impact on small businesses. Through economic ups and downs, the SBA 7(a) program has provided vital financial support, encouraging entrepreneurship, and fostering growth in the small business sector. As we move forward, it is clear that the SBA’s commitment to supporting small businesses will continue to play a crucial role in driving economic progress and job creation across the nation.


SBA Loan Activity by Year


SBA 7(a) Loan Volume from 2018 to 2022

The data from 2018 to 2022 illustrates the consistent demand for SBA 7(a) loans among small business owners seeking to secure financing for various purposes. The loan volume started at $24.49 billion in 2018 and showed a slight dip in 2019, recording $22.36 billion. Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the loan volume remained relatively stable at $22.11 billion. However, as the economy rebounded in 2021, the loan volume saw a significant increase, reaching $35.97 billion. To provide a more accurate and current representation of SBA 7(a) loan volume, the TTM data from Q3 2022 through Q2 2023 is particularly insightful.  The TTM volume for Q3 2022 through Q2 2023 stands at $26.88 billion. This figure reinforces the program’s continued relevance in supporting small businesses during a time of economic revival.

Impact on Small Businesses

The steady rise in SBA 7(a) loan volume from 2018 to TTM 2023 reflects the significant impact of the program on small businesses nationwide. These loans have been instrumental in assisting entrepreneurs in various industries, including retail, hospitality, manufacturing, and services, among others.

– Start-up Support: Many aspiring entrepreneurs lack the necessary capital to turn their business ideas into reality. The SBA 7(a) program’s accessible loan options have facilitated the launch of numerous small businesses, contributing to job creation and economic growth.

– Business Expansion: Established small businesses often require additional funds to expand their operations, open new branches, or upgrade their facilities. SBA 7(a) loans have served as a valuable resource, allowing these enterprises to seize growth opportunities and contribute to the local economy.

– Working Capital: For businesses experiencing seasonal fluctuations or unforeseen cash flow challenges, SBA 7(a) loans have provided essential working capital to help them weather difficult times and maintain operational stability.

The annual SBA 7(a) loan volume data from 2018 to TTM 2023 showcases the program’s unwavering commitment to fueling small business success. As the backbone of the economy, small businesses play a crucial role in driving innovation, job creation, and economic prosperity. The SBA 7(a) loan program’s accessibility, flexibility, and consistent loan volume have been instrumental in empowering entrepreneurs and supporting small business growth across diverse industries. As we move forward, it is evident that the SBA’s commitment to fostering a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem remains steadfast, benefiting the nation as a whole.

SBA 7a Loan Activity Data since 2005

Let’s take a closer look at the SBA 7a loan activity over the past two decades to understand the trends:

2005 – 2009: Weathering the Storms

The period between 2005 and 2009 was a challenging time for the US economy. The data reveals that SBA 7(a) loan activity hit its peak in 2005, reaching an impressive $15.22 billion. However, this figure declined gradually in subsequent years, largely due to the 2008 financial crisis. As the economy struggled, businesses faced tighter credit conditions, making it harder for them to access loans.

2010 – 2014: Recovery and Growth

Following the economic downturn, the US economy gradually started to recover, and businesses regained confidence. The SBA 7(a) loan program played a crucial role in facilitating this recovery. In 2010, the loan activity reached $12.41 billion, indicating a positive upswing. Over the next few years, the program experienced steady growth, with loan activity reaching $19.19 billion in 2014.


2015 – 2019: Reaching New Heights

The years between 2015 and 2019 marked a period of significant growth for the SBA 7(a) loan program. The data shows an impressive surge in loan activity, reaching a record $23.58 billion in 2015 and peaking at $25.35 billion in 2018. This upward trajectory is a testament to the strength of the program and its role in supporting small businesses during a time of economic expansion.


2020 – 2022: Navigating the Pandemic

The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 had a profound impact on businesses across the country. Many small businesses faced unprecedented challenges, with some even on the brink of closure. Despite these challenges, the SBA 7(a) loan program remained a crucial source of funding for struggling businesses. The data shows that loan activity remained relatively robust, with $22.55 billion in 2020 and $25.69 billion in 2022.


2023: A Promising Run Rate

As of the first half of 2023, the SBA 7(a) loan program appears to be on track for another exceptional year. The data suggests a remarkable run rate, with loan activity projected to reach an impressive $38.57 billion. If this trend continues, it would set a new record for the program, demonstrating its continued importance and relevance in supporting small businesses even after more than two decades of operation.


The SBA 7(a) loan program has shown remarkable resilience and growth over the years. It has played a crucial role in supporting small businesses through economic ups and downs, including the 2008 financial crisis and the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program’s ability to adapt and continue providing essential financial support has been critical in fostering entrepreneurship, creating jobs, and contributing to the overall economic well-being of the nation.

As the US economy evolves, the SBA 7(a) loan program will likely remain a vital pillar of support for small businesses, helping them overcome financial obstacles and achieve their growth ambitions. It will continue to be a testament to the spirit of entrepreneurship and the commitment to sustaining the backbone of the American economy – small businesses.