Sam’s Club offering SBA loans
Sam’s Club is testing an online program to offer business loans of $5,000 to $25,000 to qualifying club members.
The warehouse retailer is working with Superior Financial Group, a Small Business Administration lender, on the project.
The Sam’s Club pilot program will focus on minority-, women- and veteran-owned small businesses as well as micro-entrepreneurs under the SBA’s Premier Outreach Express products such as Community Express, Patriot Express and Export Express loans.
Walnut Creek, Calif.-based Superior Financial Group is one of only 13 federally approved small-business lending corporations (non-bank lenders), and specializes in providing access to credit for “main street” and underserved borrowers, the company said.
Sam’s Club said that in a November 2009 study it conducted, nearly 15 percent of its business members reported being denied a loan to run their operation, up from 12 percent in April 2009.
“We believe this pilot program is a step in the right direction to help fuel small business growth and create jobs to stimulate our economy,” said Catherine Corley, vice president of membership at Sam’s Club, in a statement. “It’s also simple to apply and costs less…”
Sam’s Club members who apply for a small-business loan online during the pilot will get $100 off the application fee, a 20 percent discount and a 7.5 APR, which is 25 basis point discount, the company said. Loans will remain at 10-year terms, common to help keep monthly payments low, the company said. There is no penalty for early repayment.
A business membership at Sam’s Club costs $35 a year.
Sam’s Club said that while the majority of the small-business loan pilot program will be conducted online, it will test some in-club and other marketing efforts to reach business members and small-business owners.
Sam’s Club is a division of Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT). The retailer has two stores in Louisville, one in Clarksville, Ind., and one in Elizabethtown, Ky.