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Short-Term and Long-Term Loans For Businesses

Business loans are generally divided into two categories. Loans of less than three years are typically considered short-term while loans greater than three years are fall into the long-term category. Long-term loans are normally for a period of 10 years although some may be approved for up to 20 years.

Short-term loans can be for periods as short as 90 days. The strength of a business in terms of their balance sheet, financial statement, credit history and time in business as well as the relationship with the lending institution all enter into the loan approval decision process. Loans of less than one year to proven customers are often approved without collateral and are referred to as unsecured loans. Loans in the one to three year category most often require collateral and the assets of a business such equipment, buildings or real estate can easily provide the necessary collateral, provided that there is sufficient worth in the assets. The lending institution will obviously want to assess the value of the collateral and will monitor the loan to insure that the collateral retains its' worth over the period of the loan. These types of loans are called secured loans because the collateral that guarantees repayment could be forfeited if the loan falls into default. An alternative to an unsecured short-term note would be for a business to negotiate an approved line of credit that could be used as necessary throughout a year. This can be negotiated in advance of any requirement for a short-term loan and is available should the need arise. Short-term loans are commonly used to cover cash flow shortfalls or the enable the purchase of additional inventory.

Long-term loans of greater than three years require a more detailed analysis by the lending institution. As with short-term loans the same criteria of a good credit history coupled with a successful business balance sheet and financial statement will make the approval process quicker and easier. A long-term loan will be a secured loan, and sufficient collateral must exist and will definitely be the basis for approval. Long-term loans are appropriate for large acquisitions or purchases of equipment that has an extended life.

Interest on short and long-term loans vary widely. Typically the interest rate will be 1-3% above the prime lending rate and it is obvious that the shorter the period of the loan the less the interest expense will be. Additionally the value of any collateral that might be involved in securing the loan could affect the interest rate that will be charged. Banks and lending institution develop their policies based on the risk involved in approving a loan. Loans for short terms generally have less risk associated with them than longer term loans.

It is incumbent upon any potential borrower to contact several lending institutions to learn of the particulars involved in their policies and procedures. Practices among banks vary considerably and the astute borrower will recognize that fact and act accordingly.

Click here if you are looking for a business loan for equipment, equipment financing, hotel financing, motel financing, financing for commercial real estate, business purchase, franchise opportunity, or if you need a business loan for working capital.

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