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Small Business Administration Loans From Century Bank 
By Fran Lesher | SVP Commercial Banker


We asked Fran Lesher, SVP and Commercial Loan Officer to explain why Small Business Administration (SBA) loans can be an exciting option to access financing for startup or growth. Here’s what she has to say.


By and large, SBA loans have more favorable terms than traditional bank loans because they are guaranteed by the federal government. They can be the perfect way for a customer to finance purchasing a building, expand an existing structure, purchase equipment or even buy an established business.

What exactly is the SBA?

The SBA is a federal agency that helps entrepreneurs pursue their dreams of owning or growing a business. Financial institutions like Century Bank partner with the SBA to provide guaranteed loans to small business customers focused on start up or expansion.

Who qualifies for an SBA loan? 

First, no one should assume they don’t qualify for an SBA loan. Here in New Mexico, small businesses are the backbone of our economy. So talk to your banker, no matter how small or unusual the request. There are some industries that don’t qualify – cannabis, for example. But many customers think they won’t qualify when they actually do.

Generally, customers with fewer than 1,500 employees, and an average annual revenue of less than $40 million are considered small businesses. The definition of “small” varies by industry and depends on the company’s NAICS industry code. To see if your business might qualify for an SBA loan, visit the SBA Table of Size Standards.

What are SBA loans used for? 

SBA loans can be as small as $10,000 and go as high as $5 million. Financing can be used to:


  • Buy equipment for an existing business
  • Purchase a building
  • Build new construction or fund improvements
  • Acquire or expand a business
  • Provide working capital or inventory

Why consider an SBA loan instead of a traditional loan?

SBA loans usually have more favorable terms and better interest rates than traditional business loans.

For instance, a business may have enough cash to use as a down payment for traditional financing, but using it would wipe out their liquidity. Now they wouldn’t have the ability to weather any potential changes in their industry or market. From the bank’s standpoint, an SBA loan can help to preserve the company’s liquidity by requiring a smaller down payment. This makes an SBA loan a potentially better option.

Other customers may not have the needed equity for a traditional loan, but the project is still a good investment opportunity. And some kinds of loans probably won’t be financed through traditional lending. The SBA will finance real estate purchases or business acquisitions often not eligible for traditional lending programs. In these cases, the SBA offers favorable terms for small business.

Is there a downside to an SBA loan?

Like any loan process, the SBA does ensure that the customer’s background, education, and experience is appropriate for the proposed project. And, of course, there are fees and paperwork. The approval process for an SBA loan often takes longer than traditional bank financing, too. Once Century Bank has approved the loan application, the SBA goes through its own review – sometimes asking for more information or clarification.

Bottom line? Once Century Bank completes our review process, the SBA’s review and approval process could take another 4 to 6 weeks, and sometimes longer.


Why choose Century Bank for an SBA loan?

Century Bank is your partner in the SBA loan process – we ensure your application is complete, thorough and keeps moving through the system. We want you to succeed! Our track record of working with hundreds of New Mexico businesses through the SBA program shows that your success is our business.

What happens now?

To discuss whether an SBA loan is right for your business, contact a Century Bank loan specialist today.

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