Whether you’re looking to run, grow, or secure your own small business, there are a multitude of options for business loans in Arkansas. All you need to know is where to look. And, we’ve done that part for you. In this guide, you’ll find a list of the best small business loans Arkansas has to offer, including small business loan programs, grants, and alternative options for your financial needs.
Here are a few financial institutions, non-profits and government programs for you to look into.
Arvest Bank – Large Bank
Arvest Bank is the largest bank in Arkansas in terms of deposit market share. It has a network of 125 community banks to provide a complete range of financial services to Arkansas small business owners. Arvest offers fixed-rate, term loans to help small businesses cover equipment and technology purchases, vehicle purchases, facility remodels and debt consolidation.
This bank also offers commercial lines of credit to help meet the demands of small businesses, such as short-term cash needs or to purchase inventory. Additionally, Arvest offers real estate loans to refinance or develop a wide range of commercial properties.
Arvest is a Preferred SBA Lender. Small businesses have access to the 7(a) Loan Program, which can be used for general business purposes, and the 504 Loan Program to help cover major fixed asset purchases, such as land and buildings. The SBA Express loan is also available for most business purchases, including working capital lines of credit.
United Bank – Small, Local Bank
For over 40 years, United Bank has been operating in Northwest Arkansas. It has four locations in Fayetteville, Rogers and Springdale. United Bank offers business loans with flexible terms and repayment schedules as well as business lines of credit.
This bank also provides customizable commercial real estate loans to fit the needs of small businesses. Small business loans can help you cover various purchases, including property, inventory and equipment. Additionally, United Bank offers business credit cards.
Arkansas Federal Credit Union – Credit Union
Arkansas Federal Credit Union (AFCU) is the largest of its kind in the state. Their headquarters are in Jacksonsville, Arkansas. It is regulated under the authority of the National Credit Union Administration.
AFCU offers commercial real estate loans to purchase or refinance property. Examples of property include: office buildings, retail buildings and warehouses. Also, they offer commercial real estate construction loans.
For working capital or purchase of working capital equipment, AFCU provides small businesses with commercial and industrial loans. This is also known as C&I. This is a short-term loan and collateral is typically required.
Additionally, AFCU offers revolving lines of credit. This allows small business owners to borrow money at their discretion. This is similar to a credit card, or based on their current cash flow needs.
Arkansas Development Finance Authority – Government Program
Created in 1985, the Arkansas Development Finance Authority (ADFA) is a public body, both politic and corporate. It provides funding for financing affordable housing, business and economic projects and capital improvements for state agencies. They have credit enhancement programs and venture capital programs. These are meant to help small businesses acquire working capital or to support businesses that are emerging, expanding, relocating or restructuring.
ADFA’s Capital Access Program makes funds available to borrowers who might have difficulty acquiring money from conventional bank loans. This program is a lending incentive for working capital loans for various types of industries within the state of Arkansas.
This includes agriculture, manufacturing, wholesale and retail, construction and service. The average processing time for a loan is 3 to 5 days.
ADFA also offers the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program. In conjunction with Levi Strauss Foundation and Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, ADFA provides working loan guaranty capital to minority businesses who need help financing their working capital needs.
In 2014, ADFA formed a partnership with the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC) that offered the AEDC Minority Business Loan Program with access to ADFA DBE guaranty reserve funds. The purpose of the partnership is to provide additional support to minority-owned, Arkansas businesses.
Arkansas Capital Corporation – Non-Profit Program
Arkansas Capital is a private, non-profit lending corporation and a community development finance company (CDFI) that has several small business loan options to either start or grow an existing business Arkansas. Since 1957, Arkansas Capital and its affiliates have provided flexible financing products of over $1.5 billion in capital through more than 1,300 loans to help meet the needs of small businesses to large scale operations.
This non-profit program offers SBA 504 loan and SBA 7(a) loan products. The SBA 594 loan has a 20-year term for commercial real estate and 10-year term for machinery or equipment. The SBA 7(a) loan has terms up to 25 years for real estate and 5 to 10 year terms for working capital.
Additonally, Arkansas Capital offers conventional loans up to $500,000, and the USDA Business and Industry Loan Guarantee (USDA B&I) product, with loan amounts up to $10 million per borrower to support certain businesses in rural areas.
Top Traditional Lenders for Arkansas Small Business Loans
Here, you’ll find a mix of the traditional banks, local and community banks and credit unions that offer business loans in Arkansas.
Bank of Little Rock
Bank of Little Rock was founded in 1927. It’s committed to meeting the financial needs of small businesses in and around the community. It’s a full-service bank offering business term loans, operating lines of credit, equipment loans and commercial real estate loans.
Bank OZK is a regional bank headquartered in Little Rock, Arkansas. It has 84 branches throughout the state. They’re a Preferred Lender of the SBA. Bank OZK offers small business financing, which includes SBA 7(a) Loans and SBA 504 Loans. Loan amounts range from $30,000 to $10,000,000. Eligible uses include, equipment, land or building acquisition, debt refinance, working capital, building expansion or renovation and new construction.
Bank OZK also has other industry specializations including aircraft loans, agricultural lending and large real estate construction projects and lending.
US Bank is the fifth-largest bank in the country and has 37 branch locations in Arkansas. They’re also a Preferred SBA Lender. And, they offer the government-backed SBA 7(a) Loan Program, with loan amounts up to $5 million. Terms are up to 10 years for business, acquisition, equipment or tenant improvement and up to 7 years for working capital and inventory.
They also offers the SBA 504 Loan Program for owner-occupied commercial real estate purchases, refinancing and construction. This is with loan amounts up to $11.25 million with terms up to 25 years. Equipment loan terms are up to 10 years. Additionally, US Bank offers the SBA Express loan with loan amounts up to $250,000.
With US Bank, small business owners also have access to quick loans with loan amounts up to $250,000. Term loans amounts are up to $1 million and equipment financing loans amounts are up to $500,000.
Priority Bank has served The Ozarks and Northwest Arkansas since 1993. They’re incorporated in the state of Arkansas and is a federally chartered Savings Bank located in Fayetteville. It’s regulated by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and is a member of the FDIC. Small businesses have access to commercial real estate loans, small business loans, business lines of credit and agricultural loans.
Signature Bank of Arkansas
The Signature Bank of Arkansas is a small, local bank that has served small businesses since 2005. It has branches in Springdale, Rogers, Fayetteville, Bentonville and Brinkley. They offer real estate loans, construction loans, lines of credit, secured loans and business credit cards to help small businesses.
First Financial Bank
With deep roots in El Dorado, Arkansas, First Financial Bank (FFB) has served the community since 1934. They also has full-service banking operations in both Little Rock and Mena, Arkansas. FFB has a unique set of industry products and services. This includes pharmacy, veterinary, poultry and farm and ranch loans. FFB also offers business lines of credit and business term loans.
Timberline Federal Credit Union
Timberline Federal Credit Union has locations in Crossett, Fordyce and Hamburg, Arkansas. TFCU provides financing for a wide range of businesses expenses including, working capital, equipment, machinery, inventory, facility improvements and more.
Top Government Programs for Arkansas Small Business Loans
For small business owners looking to the state and Federal government, there are many options available. Here are some of the programs for Arkansas small business loans:
Arkansas Economic Development Commission
The Business Finance Division of Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC) offers financing options to help businesses with the purchase of land, buildings, equipment and technology. Purchases help to expand operations and provide significant employment opportunities in Arkansas.
This program allows new and expanding businesses access to a variety of state and federal funding sources such as Amendment 82, Bond Programs, Community Development Block Grant and Equity Investment Tax Credit. Additionally, AEDC connects investors with a variety of funding partners for further financing opportunities.
The SBIR Program
The awards-based, Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program encourages small businesses to engage in Federal Research/Research and Development (R/R&D). The program is meant to enable small businesses to explore their technological potential and provide the incentive to profit from its commercialization. The SBA serves as the coordinating agency for the SBIR program.
The STTR Program
Another program that expands funding opportunities in the R & D space is the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program. The purpose of STTR is to expand public/private sector partnerships to include joint venture opportunities for small businesses and nonprofit research institutions. The STTR program allows small business to formally collaborate with a research institution in Phase I and Phase II. STTR’s role is to bridge the gap between performance of basic science and commercialization of resulting innovations.
Top Funds and Non-profit programs for Arkansas Small Business Loans
Local and statewide funds and nonprofit programs are also around to help Arkansas small business owners. Here’s a few to look into.
LiftFund is a nonprofit focusing on aiding Arkansas small business owners with limited access to loans and capital. With LiftFund, small business owners can apply for individual business loans up to $1 million and startup loans up to $50,000. Business and financial training programs are also available.
Innovate Arkansas is a state-funded initiative that helps scale promising Arkansas technology ventures. Innovative Arkansas is funded by the Arkansas Economic Development Commission and administered by Winrock International. Innovate Arkansas helps technology entrepreneurs in turning startups into successful commercial enterprises.
FORGE Community Loan Fund
FORGE is a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation, a SBA Intermediary Microlender and a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). FORGE’s promotes community development and economic stability. They provide small businesses and nonprofit organizations with affordable capital and business development services. Forge offers the General Credit Fund, SBA Microloans (for all 75 counties in Arkansas). They also offer USDA rural development loan programs and the FORGE Social Impact Fund.
Online Small Business Options
Easy access to the internet means there are plenty of online small business loan options to explore too. In many smaller local areas, traditional banks can’t offer options to small businesses at older rates. Online lenders like Kapitus have jumped into that space. Many online options can offer more personalized loan options with the aid of technology and algorithms. They can often process loan applications more quickly. This gives small business owners answers within a few hours versus a few days.
Online small business lenders typically offer a combination of term loans, equipment financing and lines of credit. Your qualifications might depend on your business’s revenue, time in operation and credit scores.
Grants for Arkansas Small Business Owners
Grants help stimulate the local economy and boost small businesses. Here are some of the grant programs available for Arkansas small business owners:
The Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas
The Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB) is a cooperatively-owned wholesale bank. They encourage housing and economic development in the communities served by their member institutions in Arkansas. Arkansas small businesses can obtain grants through FHLB’s Economic Development Program.
Amber Grant for Women
If you are a female from Arkansas looking for a grant for your women-owned business, you can apply for the Amber Grant. This organization distributes monthly awards and year-end awards to help support small businesses.
Arkansas Economic Development Commission Division of Science and Technology
This organization offers state grants to Arkansas enterprises that stimulate economic growth and industrial competitiveness in Arkansas. Areas of interest include applied research, technology transfer, and development of innovative technology-based businesses.
Here are some other resources to find grants in Arkansas:
Central Arkansas Library System in Little Rock offers grant indexes and other resources related to grants and grant writing. They have an online database called the Foundation Center. You can find similar resources in Pine Bluff at the Jefferson County Library System. Additionally, they’re available in Fort Smith, at the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith.
To search for Federal grants, visit Grants.gov.
The Bottom Line
Good baseline qualifications for Arkansas small business owners include: being open for at least one year; having a minimum annual revenue over $100,000 and credit scores above 550. If you’re looking for small business loans, Arkansas has a lot of options available. These loans and grants are one place to start. Kapitus is another. The Kapitus Small Business Program can give small business owners-like you-the funding necessary to succeed.