Team looking over application with advisor.

Documents Needed to Apply for a Small Business Loan

What documentation do I need when applying for a loan?


Applying for a small-business loan might be a daunting and overwhelming experience if you’ve never been through the process. We understand that aspect of being a business owner and want to help make the process easier by providing a list of the key documents needed for your application. While every lender’s standards are different, most will require these five key documents:

1. A completed loan application. Typical questions include:

  • Why are you applying for the loan?
  • How will the funds be used?
  • What other business debt do you have, and who are your creditors?
  • Who is on your management team? In addition, anyone with a 20% or larger stake in the business usually needs to be listed on a loan application.

2. Business financial statements.

Expect to submit a profit and loss statement (P&L) summarizing your business revenues, expenses, cash flow and a balance sheet for the two most recent years. If your business is new, you may need to provide a business plan with P&L projections. Your lender will be checking your business’s credit report as well.

3. A personal financial statement.

To help assess your ability to repay a loan, most lenders also want to know your personal income and expenses for the two most recent years. They will obtain your personal credit report as part of the loan process. Be sure to review it and clear up any discrepancies before you apply.

4. The past two years’ tax returns.

That includes both your personal returns and your business returns.

5. Other documents.

If you don’t have a current relationship with a lender, you may be asked for bank statements, third-party contracts and other business documents that provide evidence of a solid financial record and strong assets. To find out what might be required, ask before you meet.

The bottom line: Applying for a business loan can be quite the process, but if you are prepared, it can be quick, seamless and less intimidating. For additional resources when preparing to secure business financing, please visit our Guide to Seeking Financing.


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