Arizona is one of the fastest growing states in the nation; its warm, arid climate is a big attraction for people suffering from winter fatigue. That swelling population comes with some distinct advantages for entrepreneurs looking to start a business in the Grand Canyon State.
Of course, opening a business anywhere comes with challenges, many of which require money to circumvent. When that happens, you’ll want to know where you can turn to for a cash infusion.
We’ll take a look at some of the types of lending available to you in Arizona, as well as some specific lenders you may want to consider.
The Best Online Business Lenders For Arizona Businesses
If a local lender doesn’t immediately come to mind, you may want to consider an online lender. Most online lenders are willing and able to lend to Arizona-based businesses.
What are the advantages of working with an online lender? Generally speaking, online lenders are faster, have simpler application processes, and more flexible lending standards than traditional lenders. The tradeoff, of course, is they also tend to have higher rates and more concentrated repayment term lengths. That said, the best online lenders offer transparent terms and excellent customer service.
Arizona does have a maximum legal interest rate for loans, but these are easily circumvented with written contracts, so don’t necessarily count on state regulation to keep your rate under control. Note that regulations governing loans usually only apply specifically to loans and not to loan-like products like merchant cash advances.
Since there are tons of online lenders to sift through, here are some of our recommendations to get you started:
One of the oldest and most mature online lenders, OnDeck offers short-term loans and lines of credit to businesses. They don’t necessarily have the lowest rates in the business, but their product lineup is versatile and transparent, so you should have few surprises.
BlueVine is an interesting option for businesses that need a line of credit or who have unpaid invoices that they’d like to cash in a little early. Invoice factoring is not for everyone, but it is a way to infuse your business with cash without going into debt.
PayPal’s LoanBuilder service is one of the faster and more transparent digital lenders, allowing you to tweak the terms of your loan somewhat to fit your needs. Their rates are also pretty decent, but as short-term loans, you’ll have to pay them back fairly quickly.
Businesses with credit issues can have a hard time finding funding, but lenders like Fundbox make it a little bit easier. Like BlueVine, they offer lines of credit and invoice factoring. They also offer a service similar to invoice factoring called Fundbox Pay, which allows sellers to receive money for their services right away.
While Fundbox doesn’t have any hard credit requirements, they do want to see that your business does at least $50K/year in revenue.
An alternative approach to finding an online lender is to use an aggregating service like Fundera. Fundera doesn’t originate their own loans. Instead, when you apply to them, they’ll attempt to pair you with one of their lending partners. The advantage for you is that you’ll effectively be applying to multiple lenders at once with a single application.
Arizona Banks & Credit Unions
As convenient as online lenders can be for small businesses, that’s usually not where you’ll find the best interest rates or terms. Traditional banks aren’t obsolete, they’re just a bit trickier to qualify for post-2008, especially if you don’t have stellar credit.
Typically, the easiest way to get a bank loan is to have a pre-existing relationship with the bank you plan to apply to. Having the requisite accounts in place, as well as a convenient, in-house record of your transactions, can smooth out some of the bumps you might encounter in the application process.
If you have a good relationship with your local bank or credit union, be sure to inquire about their business products. National banks with branches in Arizona include:
America’s biggest bank has branches scattered through Arizona’s major population centers. Despite their size and market share, they’re still pretty traditional when it comes to business loans, so you’ll have to apply in person.
If you can meet their requirements and don’t mind dealing with an enormous lender, Chase offers some of the best business loan rates out there.
â¢ Must have excellent credit (high 600s)
â¢ Must have access to a Chase Bank branch
|Read our Chase Bank review|
Bank Of America
Another bank with a big presence in the Phoenix-Scottsdale area, Bank of America has very stringent lending standards. They do offer a more modernized application process than many of their competitors, however.
|Line of credit borrower requirements:
â¢ Must have been in business at least 2 years.
â¢ Must have a personal credit score of 670 or above.
â¢ Must have revenue > $200,000 for unsecured products, or greater than $250,00 for secured products.
|Read our Bank of America review|
US Bank is one of the smaller of the big national banks, with a reputation for being a bit more personable and flexible. You’ll find them mainly around Phoenix and Tuscon.
â¢ Must be located in a state served by U.S. Bank
â¢ Must have been in business for two years
|Read our U.S. Bank review|
If you’re looking for the absolute best rates on loans, it’s hard to beat credit unions. As non-profit entities, credit unions can, at least in theory, provide lower rates than similar for-profit entities. On the other hand, be aware that even the biggest credit unions are nowhere near the size of even most mid-sized banks, so they can’t wield the advantages that come with scale.
Credit unions offering business loans are uncommon, but many offer personal loans that can be used for smaller business expenses.
Some of the more accessible credit unions in Arizona include:
- Desert Financial Credit UnionÂ
- OneAZ Credit Union
- Arizona Federal Credit Union
- Vantage West Credit Union
- TruWest Credit Union
Small Business Grants In Arizona
Grants represent the holy grail of business financing: free money! Of course, as you can imagine, you won’t be the only one seeking it. Competition for grants is fierce and time-consuming; expect to make grant-seeking a part-time job if you choose to seek funding this way.
Grants tend to be targeted — to a specific industry, to a specific problem that needs to be solved, or to a specific demographic. They can be public or private in origin. Find a grant to apply for that fits the profile of your business and/or you as a business owner.
For some general advice on where to seek them, check out our grant feature.
Some Arizona-specific options you may want to consider include:
Arizona Step Grants
The AZSTEP program combines funds from the federal Small Business Administration with those of the Arizona Commerce Authority. These grants are designed to help small businesses enter the export market and increase their international sales.
Arizona Innovation Challenge
Held twice annually, the Arizona Innovation Challenge is a competition awarding applicants up to $150,000, with 10 awardees named each cycle. The grant is designed to help tech companies commercialize their products. An interesting note: you don’t actually have to live in Arizona to apply, you just have to be willing to relocate to Arizona within a 12-month timeframe.
Arizona Job Training Grants
Arizona’s Job Training Program can provide employers creating new jobs a grant that reimburses up to 75 percent of their eligible training expenses. Worth looking into if you’re expanding.
Resources For Startups In Arizona
Starting a business can be an anxiety-producing experience if you don’t have a network ready to support and advise you. Some organizations and programs that might be able to help you include:
- Arizona Commerce Authority: A public-private economic development organization oriented around expanding Arizona businesses and recruiting new ones from out-of-state.
- Arizona Small Business Association:Â A private organization that offering information and resources to the Arizona business community.
- Small Business Administration:Â Though technically a federal agency, the SBA publishes state-specific information such as the Arizona edition of their Small Business Resource Guide.
What To Consider When Choosing A Lender
Even if your lender search feels desperate, remember that you still are their client, not the other way around. And that means they need to meet your requirements as well.
Need some help narrowing down lenders? Here are some factors to consider:
- Your Industry:Â Some lenders specialize in lending to specific industry. Others can’t or won’t lend to certain industries. If they can’t write you a loan, cross them off your list.
- Borrowing Amount:Â If you need $5,000, you’ll be looking at different lenders than if you need $5 million. Choose the right tool for the job.
- Rates & Fees:Â How much is it going to cost you? Are the lender’s rates in line with the industry standard? Do they tell you what additional fees they charge, or do they hide them?
- Time To Funding:Â Do you need the money right away or next quarter? Choose a lender that can work with your timetable.
- Term Lengths:Â You’ll want to know how quickly you have to pay the money you’re borrowing back. Make sure you can afford the loan over the long-term.
- The Type Of Expense Being Financed:Â Some financial products are limited in what they can be used for. Do you need a lump sum of cash? Or do you need a line of credit that you can draw upon periodically?
- Collateral:Â Secured loans and lines of credit require some form of collateral, usually in the form of an asset, real estate, or cash deposit. If you don’t have collateral to put it, you’ll want to look at unsecured loans.
Companies seeking financing in Arizona have a wealth of options so long as they know where to look. And remember that just as important is finding a funding source that fits your needs and strategy.
Didn’t find what you were looking for? Want to see more options? We can help you compare lenders and credit cards.
Just starting out? Check out our resources for startups.
Need more specialized information? Check out our small business loan recommendations for veterans, women, minorities, or individuals with bad credit.
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