By Karen Axelton

SBA loans in minutes? This might sound too good to be true, but it’s the promise behind two new loan programs the SBA recently unveiled—Small Loan Advantage and Community Advantage.

Both programs seek to help business owners get loans of $250,000 or less quickly. The two-page loan applications can be approved in minutes, and the longest approval time will be 10 days. Here’s a closer look:

Small Loan Advantage: Larger banks that are preferred SBA lenders can make loans of up to $250,000 through the SBA’s 7(a) lending program. Loans can be approved by submitting a one-page credit memo, and those submitted electronically “will be approved in minutes,” the SBA told Other applications will be approved within one business day. Currently there are some 630 preferred SBA lenders nationwide. These loans are guaranteed at 85 percent up to $150,000 and 75 percent for loans of more than $150,000.

Community Advantage: This initiative seeks to get SBA loans to underserved communities including minority-, women-, and veteran-owned businesses, businesses in economically disadvantaged areas, or companies in rural areas. Borrowers are urged to develop a business plan and work with advisors to develop loan applications, which can be approved within 5 to 10 days. This three-year pilot program will operate through community lenders such as Community Development Fund Institutions, nonprofit Certified Development companies and microlenders approved by the SBA, which previously couldn’t make government backed 7(a) loans.

The SBA says the two programs will launch by March 15. For more details, visit the SBA website.