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Sponsored by Regions Bank

Starting and growing a small business isn’t easy. Owners invest untold hours, working day and night to keep their businesses going and, hopefully, growing. To do so, they often need access to short-term or long-term funding. Banks continue to be the primary sources of funding for small businesses, but non-bank, online lenders are becoming an increasingly strong force in the market.

Now comes an option that combines both the capabilities of a traditional bank with the speed and convenience of online lending. Over the last year, more banks and online lenders have established relationships that draw upon their strengths. For example, Regions Bank recently began working with online small-business lender Fundation to offer an online loan application process. To learn more about it, we turned to Joe DiNicolantonio, Executive Vice President, Commercial Banking at Regions Bank.

  1. Online lenders vs. traditional banks – what’s the difference? “An online or alternative lender is any “non-bank,” web-based lender. The main difference is how they use technology to make the application and funding process fast and user-friendly,” explains DiNicolantonio. “Once you enter basic personal and business information, online lenders obtain your permission to access various reports – from credit, public record and government database sources – that help determine if your loan request should be approved.”
  1. What makes online lending a good option? “Online lending can offer more convenience and greater speed than the traditional loan process. Through small business lender Fundation, you can access a loan application online at com/fundation and complete it in less than 10 minutes, wherever and whenever it works for you,” says DiNicolantonio. “The entire process, from application to funding, can take just one to three business days.” Even if borrowing needs exceed online limits, it’s often possible to start an application online and finish with a banker over the phone or in person.
  1. What types of loans are available through online lenders? “You can access loans designed for your business’s specific needs, whether it’s emergency cash, equipment purchases, ongoing expenses or even expansion,” DiNicolantonio notes. “Fundation offers simple interest, fixed rate term loans ranging from $15,000 up to $1 million with one to five year terms and no prepayment penalties, as well as lines of credit up to $100,000. Higher-dollar requests and real estate loan applications not fulfilled by Fundation are directed to Regions for consideration.”
  1. What should small business owners look for in an online lender? “If you’re considering online lenders, look for one with competitive rates and manageable terms, as well as transparency when it comes to fees and prepayment policies,” advises DiNicolantonio. “Plus, features such as electronic loan documentation and signature, online account access and dedicated customer service representatives help keep the process moving.”
  1. How does the online loan application process work? “Each lender’s online application process varies. At Regions Bank, the online process is simple and straightforward,” replies DiNicolantonio. “You start by providing basic information about you and your business, then you choose if you want to complete the application online with the online lender, Fundation or if you’d prefer you can work with a Regions banker to complete the application over the phone. If you choose to complete the application online with Fundation, you could be funded in as little as a one to three business days.”
  1. What should small-business owners expect when applying online? “As with a traditional loan, you can expect to provide some financial details when you apply, such as business tax returns and bank statements.” DiNicolantonio continues, “If you apply through Fundation a credit specialist may contact you to conduct a short phone conversation to discuss your application. .”

Regions offers a convenient Regions-Fundation application at “We’re always striving to make banking faster, easier and better,” states DiNicolantonio, “and our relationship with Fundation does just that.”  For more information on small business loans and online lending options, visit Follow at @askRegions.