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Sam’s Club to Provide SBA Loans

Ian P. Murphy |

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Small-business owners and entrepreneurs finding it difficult to get credit will soon be looking in an unlikely place — Sam’s Club. The sister company to Wal-Mart announced this week that it is testing an online program to make loans of $5,000 to $25,000 to qualifying members.
The program will be run in partnership with Superior Financial Group (SFG), the nation’s leading Small Business Administration (SBA) lender. Sam’s Club will focus on furnishing Main Street businesses, minority-, woman- and veteran-owned businesses, and “microentrepreneurs” with SBA Premier Outreach Express financial products.
In a survey conducted by Sam’s Club last November, the company found that nearly 15% of its business members reported being denied a loan, up from 12% April 2009. And only half of small businesses trying to borrow in 2009 got all or most of what they needed, according to a survey from the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).
“Access to capital is a major pain point for our members and the small-business, Main Street community,” says Catherine Corley, vice president of membership at Sam’s Club. “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.”
The loan pilot program is the first of its kind, the company says, and will complement Sam’s Club’s other business-friendly offerings, such as credit-card processing and early shopping hours. “It’s also simple to apply and costs less, which is consistent with our goal to help our members make smart choices and provide superior value,” Corley says.
SFG is one of only 13 approved Small Business Lending Corporations (SBLCs) regulated by the SBA, and specializes in providing credit to Main Street and underserved borrowers. SFG also offers free online training to help borrowers address any potential borrowing weaknesses and write business plans.
“All lenders are trying to make an impact on Main Street, which includes minorities, women and veterans to help create jobs,” says Tim Jochner, CEO of Superior Financial. “Main Street, however, remains the most difficult underserved market to reach. Sam’s Club [and] SBA’s Premier Outreach Express loan programs, provide a unique and powerful opportunity to provide capital, along with technical assistance and training, to increase successful penetration into this underserved space.”
While the Sam’s Club small-business loan pilot program will be delivered online, the company will market the offer  in stores. For more information about Sam’s Club for Small Business, click here.

About the author

Ian P. Murphy

American Drycleaner

Ian P. Murphy is a freelance writer based in Chicago, and was the editor of American Drycleaner from 1999 to 2011.

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