Access to credit continues to bedevil too many U.S. entrepreneurs. Eighty percent of small business loan applications are rejected, according to some industry estimates, and more applications than we can count are never filed because of the difficulty of getting an appointment with a loan officer.
Technology can help us address this problem. Online matchmaking services pairing lenders with prospective borrowers comprise a multibillion dollar industry. The SBA not only supports this concept, they’re implementing it with a new SBA initiative called LINC: ACCESS LINC HERE.
What is LINC?
LINC (Leveraging Information and Networks to access Capital) is an online referral tool to connect small business borrowers with participating SBA Lenders. Prospective borrowers complete a short online questionnaire. The responses to that questionnaire are forwarded to participating SBA Lenders that operate within the small business’ county. If lenders are interested in the referral, the lender and prospective borrower’s contact information will be exchanged.
Does LINC constitute a loan application?
No. LINC is a tool that small businesses can use to identify potential lenders in their communities.
Am I guaranteed to get a loan by using this tool?
No. Registering and providing responses on this questionnaire is no guarantee that prospective SBA lenders will find you eligible for their programs.
What questions are included in the LINC questionnaire?
The questionnaire asks for contact information as well as:
- How many years has the business been in existence?
- How many employees does the business have?
- What is the business’ estimated annual revenue?
- Is the business a for-profit business?
- What is the business type?
- What is the total amount of financing that you are seeking?
- How will you use the money?
- Is collateral available to support the loan?
- Are you interested in receiving business advisory services (technical assistance)?
- Do you have a written business plan?
- Have you applied for a loan with another financial institution?
- Please provide a description of the current status of the business highlighting the reasons why you need financing (1000 characters or less, optional field).
Why does LINC ask for personal information?
The Personally Identifiable Information you share will be used to connect you with prospective SBA Lenders. The LINC questionnaire asks for a Security Code, which is sent to the e-mail address associated with your SBA.gov account. Once you submit the questionnaire, you are unable to revise your responses to the questionnaire. However, feel free to resubmit the questionnaire after waiting at least 24 hours.
What happens after I submit the questionnaire?
Your business information is sent to a pool of prospective SBA Lenders in your area. Lenders will review the information provided and if there appears to be a possible match with one or more of the loan products they offer, you will receive an email with the lender’s contact information. Similarly, the lender will receive an email with the prospective borrower’s contact information. The lender will then likely send you an email asking for additional information. Once I submit the form, how long before a lender contacts me? Lenders have been asked to respond within 2 business days.
What happens if I don’t hear back from a lender within 2 business days?
Don’t be discouraged, you may not receive a response from a lender for a variety of reasons. Remember that an inquiry through LINC does not constitute a loan application.
Visit SBA’s Local Assistance webpage: https://www.sba.gov/tools/local-assistance for the local SBA District Office and SBA Resource Partners in your area that can provide free business consulting and low-cost training options to help guide you on your small business journey.
How many lenders participate in the LINC tool?
More than 300 lenders participate in LINC throughout all 50 states and U.S. territories. SBA Lenders participate in SBA’s Microloan, Community Advantage, 504, and 7(a) Loan Programs.
Where can I learn more about the loan programs?
- Please visit https://www.sba.gov/loanprograms.
- For issues with the website:firstname.lastname@example.org
- For questions this tool and process LINC@sba.gov