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Two Clues and 5 Surprises in a Business Loan Proposal

I just published the latest eCourse at I know that some small business owners sign up for the Lender’s courses to see what the lender wants. This would be a good one!

Here is my short list:

  • Cover page…sizzle optional
  • General info including details on source and use of funds
  • Company info including history and management
  • Marketing info including brochures, website screen shots, info on market share and competitors
  • Financial info including projections and recent financials

The eCourse on Loan Proposals can be purchased a la carte or as part of the subscription to the entire eCourse List of over 30 courses. Check out the entire list of online credit courses for lenders.

Clues the lender doesn’t want to miss

  • The extent of the business owners marketing and financial knowledge about their business can either give the lender confidence or give her the willies!
  • Typos and grammatical errors in the loan proposal may be an inside window into the sloppy way the company does business with their customers


Here are a few surprises a lender might like to see:

  • Updated loan proposal even if the business lender did not ask
  • Information previously provided has been updated for newer information
  • If financial projections are included, what is the thinking behind it?
  • Independent information that backs the proposal up, such as from the local Economic Development Council
  • An honest and forthright description of recent challenges in the business, actions taken, results and adjustments.

Give ’em a break

If the loan proposal seems overly thick, give the business owner a break. Some lenders take the ‘thud factor’ (the sheer weight of the proposal) into account so more pages seems the norm these days. Besides, business borrowers may be nervous with what they’ve heard about the scarcity of business loans. They may think more is better!

About the Author
Linda Keith CPA is an expert in credit risk readiness and credit analysis. She trains banks and credit unions throughout the United States, both in-house and in open-enrollment sessions, on Tax Return and Financial Statement Analysis. She is in the trenches with lenders, analysts and underwriters helping them say "yes" to good loans. Creator of the Tax Return Analysis Virtual Classroom at, she speaks at banking associations on risk management, lending and director finance topics.