How to Apply for a Small Business Loan

By Damon Poeter

If you’re starting a small business, your first goal is to get it up and running without falling into debt. But once your venture is humming along, you might want to start investigating financial programs for small businesses to help you expand.

A significant portion of USAA members own a business and have been clamoring for more services tailored to their needs. USAA recently launched a small business (SMB) loan pilot program in response to those requests, says Chad Galvez, strategic innovation director at USAA Labs.

Thinking about starting a business? Learn more about financial, banking and insurance strategies from your peers in USAA Community.

Small businesses are a driving force in the U.S. economy, adding 1.9 million net new jobs in 2017, according to the Small Business Administration (SBA). There are currently more than 30 million small businesses in the United States, representing a whopping 99 percent of all businesses, according to the SBA. They employ 58.9 million people, or 47.5 percent of the country’s workforce.

While many are small operations, the most successful among them often seek to scale up and grow by:

  • Hiring more employees
  • Purchasing new infrastructure and equipment
  • Expanding real estate holdings
  • Upgrading facilities
  • Launching advertising and marketing campaigns

Getting Financial Help for Your Business

Growing a company takes money. That’s where financing can help, Galvez says.

Around 15% of USAA members are business owners or partners, he says. A third of those members report issues with cash flow and liquidity, possibly hampering their ability to grow as much as they would like.

USAA members are eligible to apply for loans up to $250,000 with StreetShares. The minimum requirements to be considered for a loan are that you must:

  • Be a U.S. resident
  • Own a business that has been in operation for at least one year
  • Have at least $25,000 in revenue per year
  • Have a business guarantor with reasonable credit

USAA’s New Program: More Than Just a Business Loan

Getting a financial shot in the arm for your company can be a huge help. But learning how to use a loan effectively is even more important.

“This pilot loan program is just Phase 1,” Galvez says. “We hope to use feedback received during the pilot period to enhance the loan offering over time and to inform consideration of future products and services intended to serve our members’ small business needs.”

Many Different Types of Business

Member businesses come in all shapes and sizes, Galvez says. About 55 percent employ two or more people, while 45 percent are single-employee shops. There’s also a rough 50-50 split between ventures that have been in operation for less than five years and those that have been operating for five or more years.

Small businesses operated by USAA members include health care clinics, construction companies, real estate firms, legal offices, restaurants, retail shops and much more. The majority are sole proprietorships or limited liability companies (LLCs), while others are structured as corporations and partnerships.

Finding the Right Solution for Your Business

Each of the businesses owned by USAA members has unique needs. Whether you run a one-person sole proprietorship or an S corporation with a dozen employees, you’ll need financing solutions tailored to factors like your revenue levels, expenditures and growth opportunities.

USAA and StreetShares are committed to finding the answers SMB owners are seeking, whether it comes in the form of a loan or just some sage advice, Galvez says.

“Our members have been asking us for products for SMBs for years. We’ve been researching doing this for quite awhile but it hadn’t been a priority until recently,” he says.

“Now we’re ready to go.”

Protecting your business from disasters, liability issues and other damaging events is crucial. Find out more about USAA small business insurance to cover all your bases.

Chad Galvez is a strategic innovation director in USAA Labs on the Business Platforms team. He researches, ideates and implements new financial products for USAA members. In his previous role, Chad was a supply chain manager in support of various IT organizations. He started his career with USAA in March 2014. Prior to USAA, Chad was a contracting officer in the Air Force, where he managed high-level construction and IT services contracts. He was also a contract negotiator at the University of Texas at San Antonio in the Department of Research. He holds a B.S. in business management from the University of Maryland and an MBA from Florida International University.


This material is for informational purposes. Consider your own financial circumstances carefully before making a decision and consult with your tax, legal or estate planning professional.

The information contained is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to substitute for obtaining professional financial advice. Please thoroughly research and seek professional advice before acting on any information you may have found in this article. This article in no way attempts to provide financial advice that relates to all personal circumstances.

All products and services related to small business loans are provided by StreetShares Inc, not USAA. For servicing, information, or support please contact StreetShares Inc.

Patriot Express Line of Credit is not affiliated with or guaranteed by the U.S. Small Business Association (SBA) or any government entity and is not a service on behalf of any government agency, department or bureau. StreetShares and this website are not affiliated with the SBA or any government agency.

This is not an offer of credit and does not represent a commitment to provide financing. All business financing is subject to credit approval by StreetShares Inc.

USAA is not referring any StreetShares investment products. USAA Bank receives marketing fees in connection with this small business loan program.

The trademarks, logos, and names of other companies, products, and services are the property of their respective owners.

Use of the term “member” or “membership” refers to membership in USAA Membership Services and does not convey any legal or ownership rights in USAA. Restrictions apply and are subject to change.

StreetShares products are not available in the following locations: South Dakota, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Nevada, and US Territories.

The purchase of Business Insurance is not required to join the pilot and is not related to this offer.

USAA reserves the right to stop the pilot at any time without any impact to those who have already joined the pilot.

USAA means United Services Automobile Association and its affiliates.

Business Insurance is not underwritten by USAA or its affiliates. USAA Insurance Agency represents third-party insurers that are not affiliated with USAA and provides services to you on their behalf. The third-party insurers underwriting this coverage have sole financial responsibility for their own products. The Agency receives a commission on the sale or renewal of third-party insurance products and may receive other performance-based compensation from them. Product availability may vary in some locations. USAA Insurance Agency means USAA Insurance Agency, Inc., or USAA of Texas Insurance Agency. CA Lic # 0D78305, TX Lic # 7096. 9800 Fredericksburg Road, San Antonio, TX 78288.

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