KeyBank Business Loans Review

What is KeyBank?

KeyBank, headquartered in Cleveland, operates 1,100 branches in 15 states and calls itself one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial institutions, with assets of $137.7 billion. The bank offers a wide range of term loans and lines of credit for businesses, including SBA-guaranteed loans.

KeyBank appeared to be moving aggressively into the online space for small business fundraising with the acquisition of online lending marketplace Bolstr,  announced in June 2018. As of this writing, it was too soon to determine the full effect of the acquisition. Bank Innovation, a financial services website, reported at the time that the purchase of Bolstr would allow KeyBank to process loans faster and at a lower cost. The bank had, earlier in 2018, indicated it wanted to originate $2.5 billion in loans to small businesses within five years.

Lender highlights

KeyBank includes an impressive lineup of small business lending options in its offerings, but is limited by geography. The company operates branches in Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Vermont and Washington. The bank provides very little information about its lending requirements, terms or fees on its website.

Compare small business loan offers

What KeyBank offers

KeyBank offers term loans and lines of credit for small businesses, and is among the Top 100, most-active Small Business Administration 7 (a) lenders. Those products include:

  • SBA-guaranteed loans: The SBA recognizes KeyBank as a Top 10 lender under the SBA 7 (a) program, which is the most popular of its loan guarantee programs. In addition to SBA 7 (a) loans, KeyBank’ other offers include the SBA 504, Working Capital CAPline, SBA Express, SBA International Trade and SBA Export Express loans.
  • Business Responsive Line of Credit: This is a revolving line of credit that does not require collateral for lines of $50,000 or less.
  • Business Equity Line of Credit: This is a 15-year, secured line of credit that enables businesses to turn equity in commercial real estate into cash. According to the bank, this option offers lower rates and fees than the business responsive line, because it uses commercial property as collateral. The business equity line also offers a longer repayment period with lower monthly payments.
  • Business Home Equity Line of Credit: This is a line of credit you secure with residential real estate. You can borrow from up to 85 percent or 100 percent of your home’s value. There is a $5,000 minimum for both options and a $30,000 line maximum for the 100-percent, home value option.
  • Business Term Loans: KeyBank also offers term loans for businesses, but provides no details about them on its website.

KeyBank does not offer details on its website about interest rates, fees or requirements for its lines of credit or term loans that are not guaranteed by the SBA. Instead, the bank provides a contact form you can use to learn more about its offerings. The SBA, however, does provide detailed information about its loan program requirements, which apply to KeyBank’s extensive SBA offerings. Review the information below about two popular SBA programs. For a detailed look at all the SBA programs, access this fact sheet.

Businesses that are not eligible for KeyBank loans:

KeyBank does not specify which businesses are ineligible for loans. But the following types of companies are not eligible for SBA-backed loans from KeyBank or other financial institutions: Government-owned entities, businesses in which the lender has an equity interest, businesses engaged in lobbying, businesses involved in teaching specific religious beliefs, porn-related businesses, banks and other financial companies, absentee developers and landlords, multi-level marketing companies, gambling businesses, private clubs and speculative businesses.

How to apply for KeyBank financing

Set an appointment with a lending specialist. These are the documents you’ll need to apply for KeyBank SBA-backed loans:

  • History of business/business plan worksheet
  • Management resume
  • Personal financial statements
  • Business debt schedule form
  • Business financial projections


Pros Cons
  A solid, stable institution making moves, such as the acquisition of Bolstr, to beef up small business offerings   Not available in all states
  A wide range of loan products; a leading SBA lender   Website lacks transparency about fees, terms and eligibility requirements
  Additional business services offerings, such as business checking accounts   Doesn’t match competitors when it comes to providing information that business decision makers need to pursue funding

Who is the best fit for a KeyBank loan?

The broad range of loans KeyBank offers and its position as a top SBA lender could make it a good fit for most qualifying small businesses.

Fine print

Be sure to ask your banker detailed questions about the fees and rates for your loan.

The bottom line: How KeyBank stacks up

KeyBank’s flexibility and its connections with the SBA make it a solid lender for businesses in its geographical footprint. The bank’s apparent commitment to increasing its lending to small businesses is also a positive sign, but the lack of transparency on its website is a strike against it.

Compare small business loan offers