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Stay small or go big, the choice is yours

Guaranteed by the Small Business Administration, SBA loans are designed for small businesses. They feature lower down payments and longer terms than most property loan options, and help your small business succeed in a big way.

You'll also find that we offer flexible underwriting, fully amortized loan structures and are more economical than leasing or factoring. So ask us about our SBA loans today. And find out how we're helping businesses just like yours succeed in a big way.

We are proud to be an SBA Preferred Lender (PLP).

Why should I consider a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan?

Compared to conventional loans, SBA loans offer more flexible underwriting guidelines, including smaller down payments, longer terms and fully amortizing loan structures. Maximum terms are 25 years for real estate, 10 years for equipment and 7–10 years for working capital. SBA loans are designed to enhance the competitive position of America's family-owned businesses.


What kind of businesses qualify for SBA financing?

Most businesses qualify. Surprisingly few businesses are "too big" for SBA loans. We make SBA loans to new business as well as to ones established generations ago with dozens of employees and several million dollars in annual revenues. Successful, expanding businesses are ideal candidates for SBA loans.


What could my business finance with an SBA loan?

Almost anything you can think of can be financed with an SBA loan. SBA loans are used to purchase inventory, equipment and owner-occupied real estate. SBA loans are commonly the best choice for financing the purchase of a business. With some limitations, SBA loans can be used to refinance existing business debt. A unique feature of SBA loans is that they can provide term financing for working capital.


How hard is it to get an SBA loan? Is it a difficult process?

The process for getting an SBA loan is very similar to the process for any other commercial loan. We will help you figure out if an SBA loan is the best option for you and if it is we will work closely with you throughout the process. We want you to stay focused on your business, while we focus on the issues unique to the financing process.


How long does the process take?

It's similar to any other commercial loan. Most of the process occurs at the bank. In most cases the project is at SBA for less than three days. Commercial real estate and business purchase transactions, as well as start-up requests, are complex and tend to take the longest regardless of whether you are financing your project with an SBA or a conventional loan. For these types of transactions, it is ideal to allow at least 60 days in your planning process. For example, commercial real estate transactions, regardless of financing method, generally require appraisals and environment risk assessments that may take four to six weeks to obtain. Other types of SBA loan transactions are faster, with funding typically occurring within thirty days of our bank's receipt of a completed application.

All loans subject to credit approval.

There's more than one SBA loan program? How do I decide which one is best?

There are two basic SBA loan programs:


The largest program is the SBA 7(a) Loan Guaranty Program.

With this program we can help you finance almost anything from a few thousand dollars up to $5,000,000. In this program, the SBA guarantees between 50–85% of the loan amount depending on the loan particulars and processing method.


The main SBA 7(a) processing methods are the Preferred Lender Program (PLP), and SBAExpress.

Under PLP and SBAExpress, Columbia Bank makes the underwriting decision, sends a guaranty number request to SBA, and typically receives the number from SBA within 24 hours.


The other program is the SBA 504 Loan Program.

It is a fixed asset financing program, used primarily to finance the purchase or construction of owner-occupied real estate. Our typical SBA 504 project is about $1,000,000—sometimes a little smaller, and not uncommonly quite a bit larger.


For example, for manufacturers a special provision of the program enables SBA 504 to assist on projects of $12,000,000 or even slightly larger.


In a typical SBA 504 project, you will need to invest a down payment of 10%. Columbia Bank will provide 50% of the proceeds with a first deed of trust loan, and SBA through a non-profit entity called a "certified development company" will provide a second deed of trust loan.


In SBA 504 you enjoy the benefits of a low down payment plus a slightly below-market rate on the second deed of trust loan that is fixed for 20 years.


A little confused? Don't worry, the good news is you do not have to become an SBA expert and figure out which program or processing method is best for you. It's our job to listen to you, learn about your project and your objectives so that we can use our expertise in helping you select the best financing and processing method for your needs.


The Advantages of Obtaining an SBA Loan Through Columbia Bank

We compete for your business with many other good, experienced SBA lenders. But, we think that you'll agree that our unique blend of attributes will provide the best possible results for you.


  • You will have the advantage of Columbia Bank service. You'll talk to a real person who will guide you through the entire process, but only after the right loan option has been created for you.
  • Our expertise. Craig Chance, Senior Vice President and Manager of our Community Financial Resources department, has been actively involved in SBA lending since 1987 and in the year 2000 was recognized by the SBA as the Regional Financial Services Advocate of the Year for the region composed of Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington.
  • We won't come to the job with just one or two tools in our box. We will consider SBA 7(a), SBA 504 and conventional options. Being willing and able to consider a full range of options to structure the best financing for you is a Columbia Bank difference.
  • For most types of SBA loans we will be able to use delegated underwriting authority available through the PLP and SBAExpress programs, giving you maximum confidence that your project will be funded in a timely manner.
  • Throughout the process you will work with local people, right here in your time zone. Your loan will be processed, underwritten, closed and disbursed by local people. A Columbia Bank difference is you'll actually talk to decision makers. We will bring to your project people who are leaders in the SBA lending industry.

All loans subject to credit approval.

How do I start the process of obtaining an SBA loan?

If you have established a relationship with Columbia Bank, the best way to start is to contact your local branch. They will work with you and our Community Financial Resources department to facilitate your needs. We will assist you through every step of the process, answering questions, providing guidance and being an advocate for you.


If you are new to Columbia Bank, we invite you to start the process with the branch of your convenience. Our branches are staffed with people skilled at assisting you with a wide spectrum of your banking needs. Regardless of your present relationship with Columbia Bank, you are always welcome to contact the Community Financial Resources department directly at 360-906-9629 to discuss SBA loan opportunities.


How can I learn more?

We are always happy to discuss SBA loans with existing and potential customers.


To reach the Community Financial Resources department, please call 360-906-9629.


We encourage you to visit the SBA website, even if you are not in the market for an SBA loan. The site is an excellent resource, with detailed information on starting a business, financing and managing a business as well as finding local classes and online assistance. You will also find information regarding entrepreneurial development, community initiatives, women-owned businesses, minority businesses, training, government contracts, financial assistance, veterans business development, ombudsman services and much more.


Washington Small Business Development Centers—An excellent resource for any small business.


For specific information for the Puget Sound region, the Seattle District Office link is


For specific information for Oregon and Southwest Washington, including Cowlitz County, the Portland District Office link is


Contact us:

Please call our Community Financial Resources department at 360-906-9629. We are happy to answer any questions you may have, provide guidance or begin your SBA loan application process.

All loans subject to credit approval.

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