Certified Lender Programs

The Certified Lenders Program (CLP) is designed to provide expeditious service on loan applications received from lenders who have a successful SBA lending track record and a thorough understanding of SBA policies and procedures. CLP lenders are expected to perform a complete analysis of the application and, in return, SBA promises a fast loan decision. SBA reviews the lender's credit analysis rather than conducts a second analysis. SBA still makes the final credit and eligibility decision but, by completing a credit review instead of an independently conducting analysis, SBA strives for 3-day (working days) turn around in arriving at its decision.

The key aspect of CLP is the greater utilization of the credit knowledge of the lender's loan officers to shorten SBA's loan processing time. SBA still makes an independent determination as to whether the applicant can repay the loan from the profits of the business, but under CLP, the lenders work is reviewed rather than completely double checked.

How to become a CLP Lender

To become a Certified Lender, an SBA field office may nominate a Lender. A Lender may also request a field office to consider it for CLP status. SBA district directors may approve and renew a Lender's CLP status. The district director will consider whether the Lender:

* Has the ability to process, close, service and liquidate loans;

* Has a satisfactory performance history with SBA, including the submission of complete and accurate loan guarantee application packages;

* Has an acceptable SBA purchase rate; and

* Has shown the ability to work well with the local SBA office.

If the district director does not approve a request for CLP status, the Lender may appeal to the Associate Administrator of Financial Assistance, whose decision will be final. If SBA grants CLP status, it applies only in the field office that processed the CLP designation. A CLP Lender must execute a Supplemental Guarantee Agreement that will specify a term not to exceed two years.


Starting a business requires you to complete a number of steps and make some key decisions. Though part of your overall plan, you’ll need to select a location, decide on a business structure, and obtain the necessary licenses and permits. In addition, determining which financing options will meet your short-term needs and long-term goals is crucial. Within this section, we’ll provide information on these topics along with guidance on buying an existing business, copyright and trademark issues, ...

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