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Average Small Business Loan Amount

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The average small business loan size was $52,158 in Q4 2021 according to data from the federal Small Business Lending Survey. Over the last two years, the average small business loan size has fluctuated dramatically, along with demand and approval rates, as the U.S. fought off economic hardship. While some things have calmed, not everything is settled.

Small business loan demand

Loan demand changed drastically in 2020. From Q4 2019 to Q2 2020, 54% of banks said they no longer had a stable loan demand. Measures like the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which began in June 2020, worked to supply needed funds. After the federal programs offering small businesses COVID-19 relief lapsed, loan demand has begun returning to normal — increasingly, more banks report a lack of change.

Source: LendingTree analysis of the Small Business Lending Survey

During the peak of demand for small business loans in 2020, most companies sought loans between $100,000 and $250,000, but the distribution of demand for varying loan amounts was pretty evenly spread.

Small business loan amounts sought in 2020

AmountPercentage of businesses seeking this amount
$25,000 or less15%
More than $1M9%

Source: LendingTree analysis of the Small Business Consumer Survey

The pandemic didn’t affect all small business owners equally. Here’s a study on the demographics of the hardest-hit business owners and another on where the pandemic hasn’t badly struck businesses.

Requested average small business loan size and rates of approval

The average requested loan amount rocketed up more than 800% from about $74,000 in Q4 2019 to $673,000 in Q1 2020; meanwhile, the approval rate remained about the same, changing from 55% to 53%. The next three quarters saw a roller coaster of approval rates however.

Approval rates reached nearly 76% in Q2 2020 — the first full quarter at the start of the pandemic — and dropped to 40% in Q3, only to ratchet back up to 60% in Q4. They finally returned to the normal, roughly 50% mark in Q1 2021.

The requested small business loan amount returned to normal more quickly. It fell from the reaches of outer space ($673,000 in Q1 2020), back to the upper atmosphere ($462,000 in Q2 2020) and then returned to normal trends in Q3.

PeriodApproval rateAverage loan size requested

Source: LendingTree analysis of the Small Business Lending Survey

Small business loans by online and alternative lenders

Due to the lack of data, LendingTree researchers did not include online and alternative small business lenders. The 2019 Small Business Credit Survey conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank showed that half of the providers’ websites in the study didn’t include basic information, such as loan costs.

Average SBA loan amounts

The Small Business Administration (SBA) provides and guarantees loans nationwide for independent, for-profit businesses that have fewer than 500 employees. Depending on need and approval, small business owners can borrow amounts from $500 to $5.5 million from the Small Business Administration (SBA).

For the last 30 years the average loan amounts for SBA 7(a) and 504 loans have had almost a mirror relationship: When one went up, the other typically went down. However, this trend broke in 2020 — the 7(a) average loan amount shot up 19% in 2020 and then another 32% in 2021 to be nearly within kissing distance of the 504 average.

Source: LendingTree analysis of the Small Business Lending Survey

In 2021, the 7(a) average loan amount reached $704,581. For the 504 loan — which is mostly used for commercial real estate or equipment loans — the average loan amount reached its own record of $849,329 in 2021 as well.

SBA loan amounts by lender

The top three SBA lenders with the highest number of approved loans have an average loan size under $200,000. Out of over 1,400 lenders included in the data, only 29 made SBA loans averaging more than $2 million; each made their huge loan to only one business.

Here are the SBA lenders with the largest numbers of approved SBA loans and their average loan size:

LenderNumber of approved loansAverage loan size
The Huntington National Bank2,854$151,686
Wells Fargo Bank, National Association1,109$176,619
U.S. Bank, National Association1,082$122,480
Newtek Small Business Finance, Inc.873$651,629
TD Bank, National Association866$101,571
Manufacturers and Traders Trust Company777$123,772
Live Oak Banking Company605$1,370,898
Cadence Bank436$322,195
KeyBank National Association401$367,025
United Midwest Savings Bank, National Association395$295,242

Source: LendingTree analysis of the Small Business Lending Survey

SBA loan amount by state

California ranks first in two factors for SBA loans in 2021: The total largest amount of money provided — nearly $1.8 billion — and the largest number of approved loans — over 2,400. While Texas is not exactly hot on California’s heels, it’s still the only other state that can compare. In the same time period it approved roughly $1.4 billion for 1,803 SBA loans.

Largest total dollar amount

StateTotal approved dollar amountNumber of approved loansAverage loan size

Source: LendingTree analysis of the Small Business Lending Survey

The two states also place in the top six when you look at the largest average loan size. In this winner’s circle is Louisiana, the Pelican State — it takes first place with an average approved loan amount approaching $900,000.

Largest average loan size

StateTotal approved dollar amountNumber of approved loansAverage approved loan

Source: LendingTree analysis of the Small Business Lending Survey

Average business loan size by interest type

Average business loan interest rates change over time, depending on the market. Business owners can take advantage of loans with fixed or variable interest rates.

Fixed interest is one, static number that applies to a loan term. The benefit is that it’s set in stone at the time you sign the paperwork and will never increase, meaning your monthly loan payment is set.

Variable interest changes with the market over the loan term. They often start lower than fixed-rate loans and are best when market rates are falling.

Average size of fixed rate loans

The average size of fixed-rated loans decreased by about $10,000 from 2019 to 2020. However, the total dollar loan amount being financed and the number of loans nearly sextupled in 2020. The outstanding amount being financed increased 484%, from about $9 million in 2019 to over $52 million in 2020 largely due to the number of loans.

New fixed-rate term loans

YearAverage loan amountOutstanding loan amountNumber of loans

Source: LendingTree analysis of the Small Business Lending Survey

Both numbers stayed relatively elevated in 2021. The outstanding loan amount decreased to about $36 million and the number of loans decreased from about 640,000 to 492,000.

Average size of variable rate loans

After a small year-over-year decrease in 2020, the average size of variable rate loans exploded in 2021, nearly doubling to roughly $305,000; the number of loans had nearly halved as businesses asked for more funding.

New variable-rate term loans

YearAverage loan amountOutstanding loan amountNumber of loans

Source: LendingTree analysis of the Small Business Survey

Frequently asked questions

How can I find a small business loan?

Check out the types of business loans and see what matches your needs and then shop around for the best small business loans.

What should I look for in a business loan?

The business loan should satisfy your financing needs and be affordable. Look for loans with the total lowest cost, fees and all, as you cross compare options.

What is the average small business loan amount?

The approved average small business loan amount was $52,158 in Q4 2021 according to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.

How much is a typical start-up business loan?

Startup business loans from the SBA microloan program max out at $50,000 but private companies offer up to $5 million.


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