Top Illinois SBA Lenders | Illinois SBA Loans

Last update: Jun 22, 2024

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Best SBA lenders in Illinois

RankSBA LenderSBA Lender HQs# of LoansAvg Interest Avg Loan
1Huntington BankCOLUMBUS, OH39610.4% $210,611
2U.S. BankCINCINNATI, OH15810.0% $158,408
3BayFirst National BankSaint Petersburg, FL11012.7% $141,655
4Byline BankCHICAGO, IL8010.9% $1,387,823
5JPMorgan Chase BankCOLUMBUS, OH7511.8% $204,487
6Newtek BankMiami, FL3712.5% $327,689
7Noah BankMiami, FL3712.5% $327,689
8Village Bank and TrustARLINGTON HEIGHTS, IL338.6% $663,712
9United Midwest Savings BankDE GRAFF, OH3211.1% $245,000
10Readycap Lending, LLCBERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ2812.6% $450,768
11PNC BankWILMINGTON, DE2812.2% $221,696
12Bank of AmericaCHARLOTTE, NC257.7% $342,944
13Bank of SpringfieldSPRINGFIELD, IL248.8% $182,550
14BancorpSouth BankTUPELO, MS2411.1% $335,188
15Old National BankEVANSVILLE, IN228.4% $1,119,841
16Northeast BankLEWISTON, ME2111.2% $82,438
17Live OakWILMINGTON, NC219.7% $1,283,619
18Midland States BankEFFINGHAM, IL1910.1% $235,805
19Millennium BankDES PLAINES, IL1810.0% $2,834,094
20Celtic BankSALT LAKE CITY, UT1811.2% $406,672

Interest rates for SBA loans in Illinois

The table below shows the average interest rates for SBA loans in Illinois 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
20241395 $586,74410.6%
20234334 $618,44810.6%
20233392 $737,09110.5%
20232337 $629,4239.8%
20231265 $550,9739.3%
20224264 $569,8998.4%
20223309 $860,7707.1%
20222257 $702,8245.7%
20221247 $791,9425.3%
20214180 $673,0315.3%
20213466 $911,6515.1%
20212275 $686,8315.2%
20211181 $615,7605.3%

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Top industries receiving SBA loans in Illinois

Here are the top 20 industries in Illinois 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
1General Freight Trucking, Long Distance, Truckload11911.1% $165,702
2Full-Service Restaurants7410.4% $700,128
3General Freight Trucking, Local5310.6% $200,655
4Residential Remodelers5010.8% $103,900
5Limited-Service Restaurants4510.2% $298,064
6Hotels (except Casino Hotels) and Motels359.3% $3,318,963
7Plumbing, Heating, and Air-Conditioning Contractors3110.6% $249,323
8Fitness and Recreational Sports Centers3011.1% $504,910
9Snack and Nonalcoholic Beverage Bars2810.4% $466,739
10Beauty Salons2610.6% $251,462
11All Other Specialty Trade Contractors249.9% $296,117
12Child Day Care Services239.7% $560,070
13Landscaping Services2110.6% $382,281
14General Automotive Repair1910.2% $307,421
15Administrative Management and General Management Consulting Services1811.0% $103,567
16Electrical Contractors1610.1% $606,213
17Offices of Chiropractors1610.7% $295,056
18Supermarkets and Other Grocery (except Convenience) Stores1610.4% $1,053,913
19All Other Personal Services1511.1% $232,720
20All Other Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services1510.8% $201,233

Illinois SBA lenders FAQs


Who are the top SBA lenders in Illinois?

The best SBA lenders in Illinois 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 Illinois?

To qualify for an SBA loan in Illinois, 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 Illinois 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 Illinois 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 Illinois 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 Illinois, 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 Illinois 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 Illinois?

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

Through our SBA Lender Match tool, we can introduce you to three (or more) SBA lenders who serve the Illinois 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 Illinois?

Yes, SBA loans can be used to purchase a franchise in Illinois 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 Illinois?

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 Illinois small business manage cash flow, invest in growth opportunities, and reduce financial strain.


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

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 Illinois 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 Illinois 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 Illinois?

Illinois 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.


Other FAQs about the best SBA lenders in Illinois

People frequently ask us if one of the banks above is 1) on the Illinois preferred lender list 2) an approved lender in Illinois, or 3) participating in the Illinois SBA Express lending program. All these questions revolve around whether a given SBA bank makes small business SBA loans in Illinois 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 Illinois and in Chicago.

We analyze thousands of SBA loans each year and rank lenders based on recent activity. We would be remiss 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.

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