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Updated: Jun 24, 2015
The ways in which small business owners prepare to apply for a small business loan are changing.
Applying for a business loan used to require dressing up in your Sunday best and lugging binders — filled with every receipt you’ve ever collected — to the bank, just so you could fill out ten more pounds of paperwork in the hopes that your application would be accepted.
And even though bank credit has historically been the primary source of external financing for small businesses, most big banks just aren’t incentivized to make it easier for business owners like you to qualify for the capital you need to maintain cashflow, hire new employees, purchase new equipment, and grow your business.
Funding Circle was founded by small business owners for small business owners — so we created a streamlined, online application that you can complete from the comfort of your own home or office in under 10 minutes.
Here’s the short list of everything you need to prepare for a seamless application process, along with a few tips to help increase your likelihood of approval.
The first documents we ask for are your two most recent business tax returns. If you apply after the April tax deadline and have not filed the previous years’ tax return, you will be asked to provide a signed tax extension form. For larger loan sizes, we may request interim financial statements including an updated profit and loss statement (P&Ls) and balance sheet.
The fine line between business and personal is part of what makes small businesses so exhilarating and resilient. Every Funding Circle term loan requires a personal guarantee from the primary business owner, which means you will be asked to submit your most recent personal tax return. If you have additional guarantors on your application, you will receive a request to include their personal tax returns, as well.
Tax returns provide a lot of important information that allow our underwriters to accurately assess your business’ credit profile, but to find best rate for your business we also need to look at your business’ recent cash flow. During the normal application process, you’ll be prompted to log in to your bank account through our secure online connection. Most applicants enjoy this feature, because it saves them time by automatically sharing their recent bank statements.
Don’t have online access to your bank statements? You can always elect to scan and upload your last six months of bank statements alongside your tax returns. Please note that after the 3rd of each month, we will require bank statements for the prior month.
Our goal is to help your business succeed and thrive! Before taking out new debt on your business, it’s important to evaluate all of the current debt your business owes.
When you submit your application, your personal Account Manager will verify that you listed all of your current debt obligations — including term loans, cash advances, credit cards and lines of credit, even if you’re not carrying over a balance on the cards or credit lines at the end of the month. If anything was accidentally left off your original application, they may ask you submit this additional form.
We require the majority business owner and anyone who owns 20% or more of the company to personally guarantee their Funding Circle loan, which means you will promise to repay the loan regardless of your business’ performance.
If you are not the sole business owner, please list your co-owners in your online application and provide their contact information. Your partners will then receive an email from Funding Circle asking them to confirm their intent to co-sign the loan.
Your underwriter may request additional documentation while evaluating your loan — particularly if your business has had a recent change in ownership.
Your personal Account Manager will communicate these requests to you early on, so remember to check your inbox and respond to their phone calls so we can move quickly and get your business approved for a loan!
Applying for a Funding Circle loan is simple and free. Check your eligibility in 60 seconds and get a personalized quote in just 10 minutes.
Start your application!
We take a holistic approach to understanding small business creditworthiness, and think you deserve a better loan experience than what you’ll find at a traditional bank. Every applicant is assigned a personal Account Manager to walk them through the process and can answer any questions you have along the way.
>> Learn how we evaluate your application: Guide to the 5 Cs of Credit. <<
Once all of your financial documents have been submitted, your application will go through our underwriting process, and if you qualify you can expect to receive an offer in as little as 24 hours. During that time, most of our funded borrowers have an opportunity to speak directly with the person who’s evaluating their application — their underwriter. What is underwriting and why does it matter? Ask an expert.
Michael Jones is a Senior Editor for Funding Circle, specializing in small business loans. He holds a degree in International Business and Economics from Boston University's Questrom School of Business. Prior to Funding Circle, Michael was the Head of Content for Bond Street, a venture-backed FinTech company specializing in small business loans. He has written extensively about small business loans, entrepreneurship, and marketing.