How to Find the Best Commercial Finance Provider

Updated: May 20, 2010

The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers dozens of excellent resources to help chart your course when searching for financing. There are also SBA-backed loan programs available for certain situations.

If you don't have an existing bank relationship, check out the SBA's annual "Small and Micro Business Lending in the United States" report, which provides insights into the state of commercial financing in the U.S and Puerto Rico. The most recent edition covers both micro business lending (loans of less than $100,000) and small business lending (loans between $100,000 and $1 million), and includes data from lending institutions such as federal and state banks and savings and loan associations.

The SBA's report is broken down by state, loan size, institution size, and other factors. It offers businesses looking for credit a starting place to figure out which providers match their loan needs. For instance, you could search for the smaller lending institutions in Ohio that made the most micro business loans.

The lists below include the top 10 micro and small business lenders, as well as data about their loans. (The SBA's rankings are based on four criteria that measure the emphasis on small business lending in a lender's overall loan portfolio: the ratio of loans to a lender's total assets, the ratio of micro and small business loans to total business loans, the total dollar amount of lending, and the total number of loans made.)

Micro Business Lending: Loans Less Than $100,000 (Figures Rounded)

1. American Express Bank, FSB
Amount of micro business lending (approx.): $11.0 billion
Number of micro business loans (approx.): 2.6 million
Average loan amount: $4,231

2. Capital One Financial

Amount of micro business lending (approx.): $6.2 billion
Number of micro business loans (approx.): 1.3 million
Average loan amount: $4,769

3. JPMorgan Chase

Amount of micro business lending (approx.): $15.5 billion
Number of micro business loans (approx.): 3.3 million
Average loan amount: $4,697

4. GMAC

Amount of micro business lending (approx.): $2.5 billion
Number of micro business loans (approx.): 44,000
Average loan amount: $56,818

5. Citigroup

Amount of micro business lending (approx.): $8.7 billion
Number of micro business loans (approx.): 3.4 million
Average loan amount: $2,559

6. Wells Fargo
Amount of micro business lending (approx.): $10.1 billion
Number of micro business loans (approx.): 650,000
Average loan amount: $15,538

7. U.S. Bancorp
Amount of micro business lending (approx.): $4.0 billion
Number of micro business loans (approx.): 619,000
Average loan amount: $6,462

8. Bank of America

Amount of micro business lending (approx.): $15.8 billion
Number of micro business loans (approx.): 3.5 million
Average loan amount: $4,514

9. Regions Financial
Amount of micro business lending (approx.): $2.4 billion
Number of micro business loans (approx.): 84,000
Average loan amount: $28,571

10. Manufacturers & Traders Trust Company
Amount of micro business lending (approx.): $1.6 billion
Number of micro business loans (approx.): 48,000
Average loan amount: $33,333

Small Business Lending: Loans Between $100,000 and $1,000,000 (Figures Rounded)


1. Capital One Financial

Amount of small business lending (approx.): $6.4 billion
Number of small business loans (approx.): 23,000
Average loan amount: $278,261

2. Regions Financial

Amount of small business lending (approx.): $8.8 billion
Number of small business loans (approx.): 34,000
Average loan amount: $258,824

3. Synovus Financial

Amount of small business lending (approx.): $4.2 billion
Number of small business loans (approx.): 16,000
Average loan amount: $262,500

4. First Citizens Bancshares

Amount of small business lending (approx.): $2.2 billion
Number of small business loans (approx.): 8,500
Average loan amount: $258,824

5. BB&T Corporation

Amount of small business lending (approx.): $7.7 billion
Number of small business loans (approx.): 38,000
Average loan amount: $202,632

6. Zions Bancorporation

Amount of small business lending (approx.): $6.3 billion
Number of small business loans (approx.): 22,000
Average loan amount: $286,364

7. Fulton Financial
Amount of small business lending (approx.): $2.3 billion
Number of small business loans (approx.): 9,400
Average loan amount: $244,681

8. Compass Bank (now part of BBVA Puerto Rico)
Amount of small business lending (approx.): $4.0 billion
Number of small business loans (approx.): 15,000
Average loan amount: $266,667

9. South Financial Group
Amount of small business lending (approx.): $1.9 billion
Number of small business loans (approx.): 5,800
Average loan amount: $327,586

10. Bancorpsouth

Amount of small business lending (approx.): $1.5 billion
Number of small business loans (approx.): 6,900
Average loan amount: $217,391

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