Meet the Industry’s 3 New SBLCs — McKinley Alaska Growth, Arkansas Capital, Funding Circle

Expanding the number of SBLC licenses to 17, SBA has chosen the three with mission-driven underserved market niches — Native American, Rural and Low-Income communities.

(A Small Business Lending Company License allows a non-depository lender to fund SBA 7(a) loans nationwide.)

McKinley Alaska Growth Capital, is an Alaska-based BIDCO and Native CDFI that has provided small business loans and technical assistance since it was founded in 1997. 

As a certified Native CDFI, more than 60 percent of Alaska Growth Capital’s activities serve Alaska Native, Native American, and Native Hawaiian businesses and communities. It is the largest non-bank Native CDFI SBA lender in the country. The SBLC license designation will allow Alaska Growth Capital to reestablish its ability to lend in underserved markets outside of Alaska, starting with Hawaii, Washington, and Montana.

“McKinley Alaska Growth Capital is thrilled to receive a new SBLC license that will allow our community-focused SBA lending program to grow,” says Logan Birch, President and Chairman of McKinley Alaska Growth Capital. “As a successful, dedicated SBA lender for more than 25 years in Alaska and as a certified Native Community Development Financial Institution, we’re proud of our focus and expertise in supporting businesses in rural and Indigenous communities that often lack the financial resources of urban centers.”

Arkansas Capital Corporation is a CDFI that has deployed more than $2.34 billion in capital to small businesses and economic development projects in Arkansas and the bordering states since its inception in 1957. Since 2019, more than half of their lending has gone to Persistent Poverty Counties — counties with 20 percent poverty for 30+ years. 

Receiving an SBLC license from the SBA will allow Arkansas Capital Corporation to expand its SBA lending to Mississippi, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Missouri, and Texas –  states that contain nearly 40 percent of all persistent poverty counties nationwide.

“For over thirty years, Arkansas Capital Corporation has used the SBA 7(a) program to support small businesses in underserved areas of Arkansas where accessing capital is uniquely cumbersome,” says Sam Walls III, CEO of Arkansas Capital Corporation. “Arkansas Capital has bolstered regional economic development, but now with this SBLC license, we can widen our SBA 7(a) footprint as well, expanding our services to rural and poverty-stricken areas in the South to start. 

Funding Circle is a leading online lending platform for small business financing. Founded in 2010 to address the shortage of traditional credit sources for small businesses, Funding Circle has originated more than 56,000 loans totaling more than $4.5 billion to 45,000 small businesses in the U.S. Funding Circle increases access for borrowers who are less likely to receive credit from traditional banks, with 33 percent of all current loans going to small businesses in low-to-moderate income neighborhoods and 40 percent going to small businesses in rural areas. 

Funding Circle’s average loan size of $153,700 – well below the average SBA 7(a) loan size of $480,000.

“We are excited to help more small businesses across the United States get access to the capital they need to succeed,” says Steve Allocca, Managing Director at Funding Circle U.S. “By leveraging our advanced data and technology platform, and providing a superior customer experience, Funding Circle is excited to expand our lending across the country for 7(a) Small Loans under $500,000.”

“The success of America’s 33 million small businesses is a pillar of Bidenomics and foundational to the prosperity of our economy, global competitiveness, and democracy,” says Administrator Isabel Guzman. “Persistent barriers to capital, especially small dollar loans, still pose a challenge to many of the entrepreneurs who power our economy – and the expansion of the SBA’s SBLC program after more than forty years is a monumental step forward in this crucial effort.”