Key takeaways

  • Banks require specific business and personal documentation with loan applications
  • Gather your loan business loan documentation before filling out the application
  • Applying for SBA loans will require additional documentation

Small business loans are available from various sources, ranging from online lenders to traditional banks.

Bank business loans generally offer better interest rates and terms and often demand extensive documentation. If you decide that a bank is the best lender for your financial situation, preparing the necessary business loan documents in advance can help you stay organized throughout the application process.

Failing to provide all necessary documents can lead to significant delays in the application and approval process. Familiarizing yourself with your lender’s business loan requirements and specifically what business loan documents are needed can ensure no delays with your application.

Business loan documents about yourself

Some banks may consider your application differently if you are an existing customer. If you have any accounts with the lender you are applying for a business loan with, be sure to include this information.

Also, be prepared to provide:

  • Personal identification verifying your name, personal address, date of birth and Social Security number
  • Banking statements
  • Personal tax returns (may or may not be required, but helpful to have on hand)
  • Your resume, which can support your creditworthiness as an entrepreneur

Business loan documents about your business

As a rule of thumb, traditional lenders may require more business loan documents than competing online lenders.

Though the application process may be more involved for a conventional bank loan, you may find the terms more favorable — especially if you have a well-established business with good or excellent credit.


Founding and legal documents 

  • Articles of incorporation
  • An operating agreement (if your business is an LLC)
  • Information about your business name and registration
  • Ownership structure
  • Franchise information, if this applies
  • License and/or permit documents, if applicable
  • Business plan

Business financials

Other business loan documents

If you’re applying for a secured loan, you’ll also need to provide collateral information on the assets you’re using to secure the loan. These assets may include equipment, technology, vehicles, real estate and bank accounts.

You may need to include an appraisal to prove the asset’s worth.

Some lenders require a Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) lien filing to formalize their right to your collateral if you default. The lender should generate this as a part of your loan’s closing documents, so you are not responsible for creating it.

Remember to retain a copy and apply for a lien release once you’ve repaid your loan.

Bankrate insight

Some of the best business loans from banks offer high loan amounts, low interest rates and longer repayment terms. Some lenders to consider are:


Documents for an SBA loan from a bank

Certain SBA loans will require additional business loan documents or forms to apply. You can apply for these loans through traditional banks, though they are funded differently from conventional business loans.

SBA 7(a) loans are the most common type of SBA loan. For these applications, in addition to SBA-specific forms like Form 413 and Form 1920 and the documents listed above, applicants will want to include:

  • A summary of the business history and its challenges, as well as information about how an SBA loan will help the business
  • Business lease information, if this applies
  •  Projected financial statements

If you plan to use your 7(a) loan or another type of SBA loan to buy another business, you will need to include additional documentation about that business, its assets and its history.

Bottom line

Different lenders will require different business loan documents as a part of the loan application process, though many overlap. Ask your bank what documents may be helpful or necessary to substantiate your and your business’s creditworthiness.

Having as much information on hand as possible throughout the application process can keep things running smoothly and help you clarify details during the underwriting process.

Frequently asked questions

  • In addition to a complete loan application, you’ll provide the bank with various loan documents. You can confirm with your bank what documents to bring for a business loan, but you may want to bring financial statements, a business plan, tax returns and collateral details to the bank.
  • Securing a small business loan from a bank can span days to weeks, with processing time largely contingent on the underwriting process.
  • Approval for a bank loan depends on the business’s credit score, time in operation, annual revenue and more. To increase your odds of getting a bank to approve a business loan, you’ll want to present a strong credit history, solid business plan and accurate financial records to demonstrate your financial health and ability to repay the loan. Additionally, working with a bank where you already have a business bank account can improve your chances as you have an existing relationship.