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Arkansas Small Business Loans to Kick-Start Your Business

Arkansas is an ideal location for your business, as it has the lowest cost of living in the United States and because the average loan amount is $388,735. Arkansas can also provide your business with tax incentives and non-financial business assistance.

At a glance Time is one resource that a business owner can never get back. To help you save time and effort, we discuss which Arkansas’ small business loans offer you the most value for your money. We also cover bank loans and commercial finance, and their lending requirements. It’s paramount that you are well-informed and that you explore the different financing options available. This will help you select a loan that suits your purposes and needs.

Top Four Arkansas Small Business Loan Options

Below we highlight several top lenders and their respective funding programs. 

Arkansas Federal Credit Union

Arkansas Federal Credit Union (AFCU) provides favorable interest rates and is the state’s largest credit union. They offer revolving credit facilities, working capital funding, equipment loans, and commercial real estate loans, to name a few. AFCU provides business owners with competitive interest rates, which can start as low as 2.5%, depending on the financing you are applying for.

It’s important to note that credit union financing can be a lengthy process. Furthermore,  your business and your company will need to meet certain criteria when you apply. Nevertheless, this means that the approval process is personalized and based on the merits of the individual business. Repayment terms are flexible, but you need to access their site and follow the prompts for more information. The application process starts via the online portal, but you can also contact the offices and book an in-person consultation.

U.S. Bank 

United States Bank provides a complete service to entrepreneurs looking for a customized solution for their financing needs. As with most business bank loans, you can apply for a multitude of funding options. You’ll find quick business loans of up to $250,000, through to government-backed loans of up to $12.375 million on their website. 

As a traditional bank, the U.S. Bank offers holistic services. This means that you can use this bank for all your funding needs, should you wish. Banks tend to offer lower interest rates, however, they also check the credit scores of the business and entrepreneur and your credit performance determines your interest rate. The U.S. Bank application process is often time-intensive.  

Local Bank Options

Applying for funding at a local Arkansas bank is often easier than applying to more prominent national banking institutes. Local banks provide geographically specific funding, an option that may be overlooked by well-known national institutes. 

There are several local banks available in Arkansas, and all provide similar services as national banks. Their interest rates and repayment terms often match those of well-known national banks. 

Arkansas Business Grant Options

There are only a limited number of business grants available and are therefore often difficult to discover and apply for. Also, grants are usually aimed at specific businesses from certain economic sectors. These sectors include green technology, agriculture, medical research, and the development of rural areas. 

Business grants are publicly or privately funded with minimal repayment or none at all. This makes a grant a good option for small businesses in Arkansas.

Summary Table

Institution Type

Provider

Max/Min Amount

State-based Credit Union

Arkansas Federal Credit Union

$5K - $250K

National Bank

US Bank

$5K - $12M 

State Banks

Bank of Arkansas

$300K - $3M

Bank OZK

Up to $250K

State Grants

Arkansas Economic Development Commission

$5K - $5M

Top Three Online Arkansas Small Business Loan Options

Online loan providers offer fast approval times and payouts. These two points make online lenders an attractive option. There are minimum prerequisites attached to these loans, and credit score requirements are typically lower than those requested by banking institutions.  

1. Lendio

Lendio is an online funding partner. They’ve processed more than $10 billion in loans and funded more than 216,000 loans. Lendio aims to process one billion dollars in small business loans every year. This is a significant vision geared toward enhancing the small business funding landscape.  

They have partnered with over 75 lenders, and their network is still growing. Their application process takes 15 minutes to complete, and there aren’t any fees. Once your selected loan is approved, you can access the funding within 24 hours. 

Lendio offers loans for startup businesses and even business acquisition loans. They have representatives in every state ensuring the business owner has a personalized funding experience.

2. Fundera

Fundera is another excellent online loan partner. Their representatives walk you through the process of applying for funding and continue to help you once you have received loan approval. Like most other online lenders, Fundera offers products that are applicable nationwide and they have consultants in every state, including Arkansas.

There are several loan options available, and you can apply for free. Your application is then forwarded to potential lenders. 

3. OnDeck

OnDeck provides loans to the United States, Canada, and Australia. This network is the largest in terms of global visibility. OnDeck has made the process of loan financing as transparent as possible with their ODX platform. The platform is customer-centric and gives you complete visibility of the application process.

OnDeck provides a robust online lending platform that’s driven by cutting-edge technologies. Integrated machine-learning and artificial intelligence engines provide tailored funding options for potential borrowers.

Additional Arkansas Small Business Financial Resources

Whether you are trying to start a business or you want to expand an existing organization, there is always a place for additional funding. Arkansas offers several grants and intellectual resources to businesses to ensure their continuity. We touch on a few of these options below.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) is a national body that seeks to assist small businesses by providing guidance and direction to entrepreneurs and established businesses alike. It’s important to note that the SBA has also established Veteran Outreach Centers and Women’s Business Centers.

Below are a few other options a business owner has access to when applying for loans in Arkansas:

  • Innovate Arkansas
  • The Venture Center
  • Arkansas Small Business Association
  • Amber Grant

Other Resources for Arkansas Small Businesses

Whether you are establishing or growing a business you will need both financial and intellectual resources. Expertise, or a lack thereof, in a given industry can either make or break your business. We’ve listed a few avenues you can explore for non-financial assistance:

  • Small Business Development Center
  • Veterans Business Outreach Center
  • Women’s Business Center

These centers provide mentorship, enrichment courses, and live webinars to help business owners make informed business decisions.

How to Prepare for an Arkansas Small Business Loan

You’ll need to prepare yourself when you approach lenders for loans. Lenders do have some unique requirements when it comes to their approval process, but there are also many similarities. Below is a list of the documents lenders will need to see when assessing your application.

  • A professional and factual business plan
  • Audited financial statements
  • Proof of income
  • Businesses credit score
  • Proof of collateral
  • Proof of business history

You should gather as much information about your business as possible. Once these statements are ready, all you’d need to do is decide on the loan that’s best suited to you and begin applying. 

Here is an excellent three-step method to help you decide on the best options for you:

  • A detailed business plan
  • Shortlist the best loan options 
  • Make contact with the lenders

You’d be correct in assuming that the more applications you make, the higher your chances are finding the best loan.

The Bottom Line

Arkansas small business loans offer the most value for your dollar. Meaning that your funding can provide more relative value than any other state in the U.S. If you need a traditional bank or credit union loan, you’ll find a slew of well-reputed companies at hand. 

Online funders have expanded their services in recent years and can now offer a faster approval process with more flexible terms.