Top California SBA Lenders | SBA Loans in CA

Last update: Jun 22, 2024

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Best SBA lenders in California

RankSBA LenderSBA Lender HQs# of LoansAvg Interest Avg Loan
1U.S. BankCINCINNATI, OH10609.6% $208,218
2BayFirst National BankSaint Petersburg, FL46912.5% $162,294
3Wells FargoSIOUX FALLS, SD33712.1% $325,955
4JPMorgan Chase BankCOLUMBUS, OH28011.9% $236,028
5Newtek BankMiami, FL22612.0% $450,121
6Noah BankMiami, FL22612.0% $450,121
7Readycap Lending, LLCBERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ18812.8% $383,911
8Bank of AmericaCHARLOTTE, NC1517.7% $589,520
9Lendistry SBLCLos Angeles, CA13312.7% $173,143
10CDC Small Business FinanceSan Diego, CA12513.0% $183,879
11Celtic BankSALT LAKE CITY, UT12111.0% $733,115
12BancorpSouth BankTUPELO, MS10911.1% $297,191
13Live OakWILMINGTON, NC1089.7% $1,559,404
14Northeast BankLEWISTON, ME10511.2% $72,497
15East West BankPASADENA, CA8910.2% $656,626
16Bank of HopeLOS ANGELES, CA8510.3% $438,579
17Huntington BankCOLUMBUS, OH8110.8% $428,500
18United Midwest Savings BankDE GRAFF, OH7611.1% $189,776
19Harvest Small Business FinanceLaguna Hills, CA7410.7% $1,098,643
20BMO BankChicago, IL699.0% $737,843

Interest rates for SBA loans in California

The table below shows the average interest rates for SBA loans in California during the past few quarters for loans over $50,000. Note that most SBA loans are variable-rate loans, so borrowers may benefit from lower rates in the future if the Federal Reserve lowers interest rates.

YearQtr# of Loans Avg LoanAvg Rate
202411282 $614,49310.9%
202341139 $618,42210.9%
202331221 $681,33410.6%
202321053 $664,05410.1%
20231953 $696,1199.7%
20224934 $841,7868.4%
20223931 $887,1237.1%
20222932 $952,8875.7%
20221756 $975,3075.3%
20214559 $831,2405.3%
202131661 $1,253,4394.9%
202121110 $1,141,9534.9%
20211711 $946,6775.1%

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Top industries receiving SBA loans in California

Here are the top 20 industries in California based on small business loan volume from last year. This information can help you gauge what to expect for your business in terms of interest rates from SBA lenders:

RankIndustry (NAICS Description)# of LoansAvg Interest Avg Loan
1Full-Service Restaurants28610.4% $573,544
2Limited-Service Restaurants17710.9% $480,804
3Residential Remodelers10811.1% $189,738
4Beauty Salons9210.9% $173,576
5Plumbing, Heating, and Air-Conditioning Contractors9210.8% $381,893
6General Automotive Repair8610.4% $473,900
7Snack and Nonalcoholic Beverage Bars8110.5% $444,038
8All Other Specialty Trade Contractors7710.7% $384,339
9Fitness and Recreational Sports Centers7711.3% $348,265
10General Freight Trucking, Long Distance, Truckload7711.1% $349,753
11Offices of Lawyers7610.8% $340,718
12Offices of Dentists7510.0% $948,369
13Administrative Management and General Management Consulting Services6911.9% $146,043
14Electrical Contractors6910.7% $366,099
15Offices of Physicians (except Mental Health Specialists)669.5% $633,715
16General Freight Trucking, Local6211.4% $445,694
17Other Personal Care Services5611.2% $452,875
18All Other Personal Services5312.1% $284,860
19Offices of Real Estate Agents and Brokers5311.6% $127,655
20All Other Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services5111.5% $359,527

California SBA lenders FAQs


Who are the top SBA lenders in California?

The best SBA lenders in California are those closing the highest number of SBA loans in the state. You can find them listed in the table above. This data is updated quarterly and reflects the rolling 12-month period.


How do I qualify for an SBA loan in California?

To qualify for an SBA loan in California, your business (or the one you’re acquiring) must meet size standards, demonstrate the ability to repay, and have a sound business purpose. Contact an SBA-preferred lender in California or use our SBA Lender Match tool to check your eligibility. Common reasons for disqualification include:

1. Insufficient Cash Flow: Ensure you have enough cash flow to cover SBA loan payments. Use our SBA Maximum Loan calculator to determine your maximum loan amount.

2. Low Credit Score: A credit score of 650 or above is generally required.

3. High Working Capital Needs: Loans over $150,000 primarily for working capital face stricter scrutiny.

4. Business Acquisitions: Lack of industry or relevant experience and insufficient down payment (typically 10% or more) can be disqualifying factors.

Complete our SBA Lender Match tool, and we’ll provide a preliminary assessment of your SBA loan eligibility. We can then connect you with lenders who specialize in California SBA loans.


What is the SBA 7(a) loan program?

The SBA 7(a) loan program is the most popular SBA loan, offering up to $5 million for various business purposes, including working capital, equipment, and real estate. This program is available to businesses throughout California and offers flexible terms. Unlike SBA 504 loans, which require a Certified Development Company (CDC) and full collateralization by real estate, 7(a) loans are quicker and more versatile. At, we specialize in assisting with SBA 7(a) loans and can also help with 504 loans if needed.


What is the SBA 504 loan program?

The SBA 504 loan program offers long-term, fixed-rate financing for major assets like real estate and equipment, providing up to $5.5 million. Designed to promote business growth and job creation in California, this program requires both a Certified Development Company (CDC) and an SBA lender to finance portions of the loan. While SBA 504 loans offer significant benefits, they typically take longer to close and require full collateralization, resulting in lower activity compared to SBA 7(a) loans. At, we can assist you with securing an SBA 504 loan to support your California business.


Which SBA loan is easiest to get approved for?

SBA loans of $150,000 or less from an SBA preferred lender are the easiest to get approved for. The application process is streamlined, with most lenders focusing primarily on the individual borrower’s credit score rather than the business itself.


What types of businesses are eligible for SBA loans in California?

Most small businesses in California are eligible for SBA loans, including those in manufacturing, retail, service, and agriculture. Certain restrictions apply, so it’s best to consult with your California SBA lender or to confirm your eligibility.

Common Ineligible SBA Loan Inquiries we see at include:

  1. Passive Income Businesses: Businesses generating passive income, like rental real estate or apartment purchases, are ineligible for SBA loans, which are designed for active businesses. Hotels are eligible but AirBNBs are not.
  2. Leasing or Finance Companies: Businesses mainly involved in leasing or financing are not eligible for SBA loans due to their operational nature.
  3. Venture Capital or Private Investor Consortiums: Entities formed solely to invest in other businesses do not qualify for SBA loans. This includes general partners of special purpose vehicles seeking to leverage equity for investments.


How do I find an SBA-approved lender in California?

Through our SBA Lender Match tool, we can introduce you to three (or more) SBA lenders who serve the California market. All of the SBA lenders in our network are SBA preferred lenders, and the individual bankers work exclusively on SBA loans.


Can I use an SBA loan to buy a franchise in California?

Yes, SBA loans can be used to purchase a franchise in California or create a startup. In fact, SBA lenders prefer franchises over startups as generally the franchise has already demonstrated success in the marketplace. Your SBA lender can help you navigate the process and secure financing for your franchise purchase.


How can an SBA loan help my small business in California?

SBA loans offer several advantages over conventional loans, making them especially attractive for acquisitions. They have no collateral requirements, no debt covenants, and offer longer repayment terms—10 or 25 years—which result in lower monthly payments. Although SBA loans generally have slightly higher interest rates, these benefits can help your California small business manage cash flow, invest in growth opportunities, and reduce financial strain.


Can I refinance existing debt with an SBA loan in California?

Yes, SBA loans can be used to refinance existing business debt under certain conditions, but in general one SBA loan can’t be used to pay off an existing SBA loan. This can help reduce your interest rate and improve cash flow as SBA loans have ten-year terms or 25 years if real estate. Talk to your SBA lender in California to explore refinancing options.


How do SBA loan guarantees work?

SBA loan guarantees reduce the risk for lenders by backing a portion of the loan amount. This makes it easier for lenders to finance small businesses in California that might not qualify for conventional loans. However, this guarantee doesn’t prevent the lender from pursuing the borrower in the event of a loan default. The lender is required to do so and will require all 20%+ owners of the business to personally guarantee the SBA loan.


What support services are available for small businesses in California?

California offers numerous support services for small businesses, including Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), SCORE chapters, and local chambers of commerce. These organizations provide free or low-cost business counseling, training, and resources to help your business succeed.


California Small Business Resources

In addition to California SBA banks, there are several organizations in California that can provide small businesses with valuable guidance and consultation regarding financing and growing their businesses. These organizations offer a range of services, including business counseling, workshops and training, and assistance with obtaining funding.

One such organization is the Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) network in California. The SBDCs are funded in part by the SBA and provide free business counseling and assistance to small businesses throughout the state. The services they offer include business planning, financial analysis, and assistance with obtaining financing. They also offer workshops and training sessions on a variety of topics, including marketing, accounting, and legal issues. To learn more about the SBDC network and to find a center near you, visit their website at

Another organization that can provide small businesses with valuable guidance is SCORE, a nonprofit association dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground, grow, and achieve their goals. SCORE offers free business mentoring, workshops, and educational resources to entrepreneurs and small business owners. They also provide assistance with business planning, marketing, and financial analysis. To learn more about SCORE and to find a chapter near you, visit their website at

Finally, the California Association for Micro Enterprise Opportunity (CAMEO) is a statewide association that works to promote micro-enterprise development and access to capital for small businesses in California. They offer a range of services, including business training, technical assistance, and access to financing. To learn more about CAMEO and to find a member organization near you, visit their website at

By utilizing the resources and expertise of these organizations, small businesses in California can obtain valuable guidance and assistance with financing and growing their businesses. Whether it’s through SBA loans or other forms of financing, these organizations can help entrepreneurs and small business owners achieve their dreams and reach their full potential.

California Small Business Incentives

Small businesses in California can take advantage of a variety of incentive programs designed to encourage growth and development. These programs provide financial assistance, tax credits, and other benefits to small businesses that meet certain criteria.

One organization that offers business incentive programs in California is the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz). GO-Biz offers a range of incentive programs, including tax credits, grants, and loan guarantees, to businesses that create jobs and make capital investments in the state. Some of the specific programs offered by GO-Biz include the California Competes Tax Credit, the California Small Business Loan Guarantee Program, and the California Capital Access Program. To learn more about GO-Biz and their incentive programs, visit their website at

Another organization that provides business incentives in California is the California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank (IBank). IBank offers a variety of financing programs to small businesses, including low-interest loans, disaster relief financing, and microloans. IBank also partners with other organizations, such as the California Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), to provide additional resources and support to small businesses. To learn more about IBank and their financing programs, visit their website at

Additionally, the Employment Training Panel (ETP) is a state agency that provides funding to California businesses for employee training and retraining. ETP funding can be used to cover the cost of training programs, such as job-specific skills training, leadership development, and safety training. Small businesses in California with fewer than 100 employees may be eligible for ETP funding. To learn more about ETP and their training programs, visit their website at

The California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority (CAEATFA) is another organization that offers business incentive programs in California. CAEATFA provides financing for businesses that invest in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and advanced transportation technologies. Some of the programs offered by CAEATFA include the Sales and Use Tax Exclusion Program, the California Hub for Energy Efficiency Financing (CHEEF), and the California Capital Access Program for Small Business (CalCAP). To learn more about CAEATFA and their financing programs, visit their website at

By taking advantage of these incentive programs and working with these organizations, small businesses in California can receive the support they need to grow and thrive. From financing and training to tax credits and grants, these programs can provide small businesses with the resources they need to achieve their goals and make a positive impact on the state’s economy.

Other FAQs about the best SBA lenders in California

A note about these California SBA lenders – People frequently ask us if one of the banks above is 1) on the California preferred lender list 2) an approved lender in California, or 3) participating in the California SBA Express lending program. All these questions revolve around whether a given SBA bank makes small business SBA loans in California and can they process SBA loans quickly. The answer is yes, of course. These are not the small banks that only make a few SBA loans a year and do not understand the SBA 7(a) loan program. These are the banks that have made the most SBA loans in California. We analyze thousands of SBA loans each year and rank lenders based on recent activity. We provide business loan activity for borrowers by state, as well as the major California markets of Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, and San Jose.

We would be remissed if we did not mention that although many banks will only lend in certain geographies, there are a handful of extremely aggressive nationwide SBA lenders who will lend anywhere. These lenders understand the SBA program as well as anyone and move very quickly, so we recommend not limiting your search to your home state. If you utilize our lender match tool, we can find you suitable SBA banks based on your geography, industry, and company and size at no cost or obligation to you to save you valuable time. Just click on the find SBA lenders near me button below to get started.


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