What Is an SBA Express Bridge Loan (EBL)?

To supplement its existing disaster loan options, the Small Business Administration has launched the Express Bridge Loan (EBL) Pilot Program to provide expedited direct loans for businesses that have been affected by COVID-19.

Loan maximums

Businesses can borrow up to $25,000.

What can EBL funds be used for?

Express Bridge Loans are disbursed as working capital and must be used “exclusively to support the survival and/or reopening of your small business.”

Who is eligible?

Businesses can qualify for COVID-19 EBLs if they meet the following requirements:

  • Have 500 or fewer employees (though this varies for certain industries)
  • Have been in operation as of March 13, 2020
  • Have been adversely impacted by COVID-19
  • Have a pre-existing relationship with a lender that offers EBL loans as of March 13, 2020

Your lender may have other requirements, so ask them directly when you’re ready to apply.

Terms and conditions

The exact loan terms will be unique to your lender, business, and situation, but here are the general parameters you can expect:

  • The maximum interest rate you can be charged on an EBL is 6.5% plus the prime rate, which is the interest rate that commercial banks charge their most creditworthy customers. 
  • Your lender may charge fees, but they are limited to the following:
    • an application fee up to $250 or 2% of your loan amount, whichever is greater
    • late payment fees up to 5% of the scheduled loan payment amount
    • the reasonable direct costs of liquidation of the loan 
  • No collateral will be required. 

How do I find an EBL lender?

EBL loans can only be made by SBA Express Lenders that had a valid SBA Form 2424 in effect as of the relevant disaster declaration date, which in this case is March 13, 2020.

And remember, you can only get an EBL from a lender that you had a pre-existing relationship with as of March 13, 2020. So start by talking to your current banks or lenders and asking if they are offering EBL loans.

How do I apply for an Express Bridge Loan?

Your lender will provide your loan application form, but the process will involve the following:

  • A review of your FICO Small Business Scoring Service Score. The minimum acceptable SBSS score is 130. Your lender may also request to review the personal credit score of each guarantor.
  • Applicants must complete or provide the following forms:
    • SBA Form 1919, the “Borrower Information Form”
    • IRS Form 4506-T and your IRS Transcript or the equivalent
    • SBA Form 159, a fee disclosure and compensation agreement, if your lender charges an application fee
    • SBA Form 601, if you plan to use your loan for construction costing more than $10,000

Certain applicants may also need to complete SBA Form 912, or a “Statement of Personal History.” Consult your lender for their exact requirements.

You should get your first disbursement within 45 days of submitting your EBL application and no later than 90 days from that date.

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