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

Featured Research
  • 10 Reasons to Invest in Video Conferencing

    Have you been on the fence about implementing a video conferencing solution for your business? Not quite sure if your employees will utilize it or are concerned about the costs being too high? The modern workforce is adapting and evolving with more and more employees working remotely, it is essential that they have the tools to be able to communicate effectively. more

  • Checklist for Setting Up an In-House Contact Center

    As customer service continues to become the most important competitor differentiator, can you honestly state that your business ranks among the best in your industry? 93% of organizations expect that contact volume will either remain constant or increase over the next two years. It is absolutely essential that you have a contact center that has been set up for success. more

  • 2017 Business Intelligence Trends

    It's long been thought that business intelligence (BI) could only be utilized by highly trained analysts and was therefore unattainable for most businesses. However, advancements in BI have made it so that everyone can utilize BI solutions to help shape business decisions and drive companies bottom lines. more

  • Your Phone System and Your Bottom Line

    Businesses have been using phones to drive increases to their bottom lines for almost a century now. Telephony, much like the rest of the business world, has seen drastic changes with the increase in technological advancement. Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP), has enabled companies to connect with consumers at levels that have been seen as unheard of before. And trust us when we say this, it is doing wonders for the bottom line. more

  • How to Scale a Contact Center in 2017

    Are you on the fence about scaling your contact center and not sure how or whether or not now is the time? Studies have shown that 93% of executives expect that contact volume will remain constant or increase within the next two years. This means that now more than ever is the time to begin scaling and we are here to help. more