Credit Karma Review: Free VantageScores From TransUnion And Equifax

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How Much Money Do You Need To Start A Business?

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The Best Business Loan And Financing Resources For Oregon Small Businesses

Sandwiched between booming tech sectors in California and Washington, Oregon is one of the quirkier states in the nation in which to start a business. Oregon is widely considered a great state in which to start a small business, but a difficult state in which to grow one, so you’ll want to be aware of the financial resources available to you if you’re operating within the Beaver State.

Below, we’ll look at some of the types of financing you can access in Oregon, as well as some specific resources you can tap.

Online Business Lenders For Oregon Businesses

Geography can be cruel, and Oregon has some of the most formidable and varied environments in the nation (valleys, mountains, dessert, ocean). Finding a local lender can be easy if you’re in Portland, but may be challenging in some of the more remote areas of the state. Luckily, geography matters much less than it used to when it comes to financing.

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.

Oregon has some of the stricter usury laws in the nation, which helps to weed out more predatory online lenders. Note that regulations governing loans usually only apply specifically to loans and not to loan-like products like merchant cash advances.

Here are a few of the better ones that lend within Oregon:

SmartBiz

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SBA loans offer some of the best terms small businesses can find, but the application process can be a bit of an ordeal. For those who want some help navigating it, SmarBiz will streamline and walk you through the process.

BlueVine

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BlueVine is an alternative option for businesses that need a line of credit or that 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.

LoanBuilder

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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.

Fundbox

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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.

Lendio

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Lendio is a great resource for businesses that are tapping the online lending market for the first time and don’t have a lot of time to fill out multiple applications. Lendio lets you access their network of lenders with a single application and with no direct fee.

Oregon Banks & Credit Unions

Just because online lenders offer speed and convenience, don’t think brick and mortar banks are obsolete. Bank and credit unions tend to offer better rates and terms, provided you have the credit to qualify for them.

If you’re happy with the bank or credit union currently servicing your accounts (and they’re happy with you), it’s often a good idea to start there. The advantage is they already have a sense of you as a customer and records of your financial transactions, which can save you a few steps when you’re applying.

National banks with branches in Oregon include:

Chase Bank

You can find Chase branches in most of the country, particularly in urban areas like Portland. Chase has some of the best business loans rates you can find, but they’re very selective about who they lend to. You’ll also need to be able to get to a branch in person; no digital applications here.

Borrower requirements:
• Must have excellent credit (high 600s)
• Must have access to a Chase Bank branch
Read our Chase Bank review

Bank Of America

If you live along the I-5 corridor, you should have little trouble finding a Bank of America branch. Even if you don’t, BoA does allow you to apply for a couple of products online, making them a more convenient option for remote customers.

Line of credit borrower requirements:
• Must have been in business at least 2 years.
• Must have a personal credit score of 670 or above.
• Must have revenue > $200,000 for unsecured products, or greater than $250,00 for secured products.
Read our Bank of America review

US Bank

US Bank has Oregon well-covered with branches, even in secondary and tertiary markets. If you want to deal with a big bank that’s a bit more approachable, US Bank is a solid option.

Borrower requirements:
• Must be located in a state served by U.S. Bank
• Must have been in business for two years
Read our U.S. Bank review

Credit Unions

As non-profit entities, credit unions can, at least in theory, provide lower rates than similar for-profit entities. Whether or not they offer business lending will vary from union to union, though in many cases you may be able to leverage personal loans for business purposes.

Some of the more accessible credit unions in Oregon include:

  • OnPoint Community Credit Union 
  • Oregon Community Credit Union
  • Selco Community Credit Union
  • Rogue Credit Union
  • Columbia Credit Union

Small Business Grants In Oregon

startup grants

Why go into debt when you can get money for free? Grants can provide your business with just that: free money.

Of course, nothing’s truly “free.” Grants are highly competitive. If you’re trying to get one, expect to spend a lot of time in pursuit. They also tend to be very specific with regards to what they can be used for, so finding a grant that fits your business goals can be time-consuming.

For some general advice on where to find them, check out our grant feature.

Resources For Startups In Oregon

Remember how we mentioned Oregon is a good place for starting a small business? The state has some well-developed infrastructure that new businesses can tap.

One of the best resources for finding these programs is the state’s economic development agency, Business Oregon. They can help you access state programs like:

  • Oregon Business Development Fund: Offers up to $1 million in direct loans to business that create or retain jobs in manufacturing, processing, or distribution. Preference is given to businesses local in rural or distressed areas.
  • Small Business Expansion Loan Fund: Offers up to $250,000 direct loans to expanding businesses.
  • Entrepreneurial Development Loan Fund: Offers up to $75,000 to businesses with less than $500,000 in revenue looking to get established in Oregon.
  • Oregon Credit Enhancement Fund: A loan guarantee program available to most businesses in the state.

What To Consider When Choosing A Lender

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Remember that your lender ultimately has to serve your needs, not the other way around. Don’t settle for a deal that’s bad for your company.

Need some help narrowing down lenders? Here are some factors to consider:

  • Your Industry: Some lenders specialize in lending to specific industries. 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: 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: 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: Do you need the money right away or next quarter? Choose a lender that can work with your timetable.
  • Term Lengths: 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: 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: 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.

Final Thoughts

If you’re ready to start a business in the Pacific Northwest, or planning to expand the one you already have, there’s no shortage of resources to help you reach your goals. Now that you know the basics, what’s next?

Want to see more options for business loans in Oregon? 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.

What’s Next
    • Learn what you can write off as small business tax deductions
    • Business loan options that don’t require a credit check
    • A guide to consolidating business debt

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