Interested in a PNC Small Business Loan? Here’s What You Should Know First

Georgia McIntyre

Georgia McIntyre

Finance Writer at Fundera
Georgia McIntyre is the resident Finance Writer at Fundera. She specializes in all things small business finance, from lending to accounting. Questions for Georgia? Comment below!
Georgia McIntyre

So, small business owner, you need to finance your business… Who’s going to be the small business lender to step up and meet your financing needs?

These days, that could easily be an alternative lender. With faster application processes, more specific financing options, and higher approval rates, working with an online lender is a smart move for any small business owner.

But with signs that commercial banks are opening their credit to small business owners, now’s a great time to consider bank loans for your business.

Which banks want to lend to your small business? There are a few to consider, but today we’re looking at PNC small business loans.

Is there a PNC small business loan that is exactly what your business needs? Use this ultimate guide to find out.

Which PNC Small Business Loan is Right for You?

PNC has the small business loans that you’re probably familiar with—term loans and lines of credit.

And while the majority of PNC’s small business loans are term loans and lines of credit, they have a lot of variations within the two types of financing. Plus, you can find SBA loans and business credit cards at your local PNC bank, too.

We’ll walk through the ins and outs of each PNC small business loan available, but let’s walk through how to qualify for one in the first place.

How to Qualify for a PNC Small Business Loan

If you already have a business bank account with PNC, then they already know a little bit about the kind of business you run.

But if you apply for a PNC small business loan, then the bank will want to get to know you even better. So in order to qualify for a PNC small business loan, you’ll have to provide a lot of information in your business loan application.

Here’s what PNC wants to see.

Personal Credit History

Like most banks, your credit history is a top concern for PNC. When they’re evaluating your eligibility for a PNC business loan, the first thing they’ll consider is your (and any other owners’) personal credit history.

PNC wants to see that all the owners of your business have a clean personal credit history—for at least five years. If PNC sees any recent 30-day late payments, that’ll be a red flag on your application. Also, if you have a significant amount outstanding on another loan or high balances on another credit account, you’ll be less likely to qualify for a PNC small business loan.  

PNC will still consider your application if your credit report shows any of those blemishes. But they’ll absolutely put your application aside if they see evidence of collected accounts, charged-off accounts, foreclosures, unresolved tax liens, judgments, or lawsuits.

Also, PNC won’t just consider your relationship with other creditors: they’ll also look at your payment history with PNC. If you’ve borrowed from PNC in the past, they’ll look at how you handled your repayments to the bank. And if you currently have a checking account open with PNC, they’ll look to see that you have little to no overdraft history.

Business Credit History

While your personal credit history is probably more of a concern, PNC will also evaluate your business credit history.

And the same goes with your business credit as it does with your personal credit: PNC wants to see that your business has paid all its financial obligations of any type on time and in full. PNC does not want to see any evidence of bankruptcy, unresolved tax liens, judgments or lawsuits.

Finally, if your business has an outstanding loan or credit account with a significant balance on it, PNC will be less likely to approve you for one of their small business loans.

Time in Business

PNC requires borrowers to be in business for a particularly long amount of time, as far as small business lenders go.

In order to qualify for a PNC small business loan, you’ll need to have been in business—under the same ownership—for at least 3 years.

PNC looks at your time in business in relation to the industry that you operate in. If you work in what PNC considers a “volatile or cyclical” industry, you’ll probably need to have been in business for longer than 3 years to prove your ability to keep your financials stable.

Financial Strength

Like any small business lender, PNC will need to review your business financials. They’ll specifically look your average annual revenue, your gross profit margins, and net profit margins.

When it comes down to it, PNC will want to see that these financial indicators are either stable or trending upward. PNC also wants to see that your business has been profitable in the past and has promise of bringing in profit in the future.

PNC will also look at your EBITDA coverage ratio when they look at your business’s financials. Your EBITDA coverage ratio, or your Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization ratio, must be more than your business’s annual forecasted principal and interest payments in order to qualify for a PNC small business loan. Put simply, your EBITDA is a key indicator of whether your business is financially healthy enough to pay back your loan.

Second Source of Payment

PNC won’t lend to you unless they have a good reason to believe that they’ll be able to get their money back at least somehow. In the case that your business takes a hit and you don’t have the means to pay back your loan with your business’s revenue, PNC will require that you pay back with a secondary source of repayment.

To prove that you have enough to pay PNC back even in the worst-case scenario, PNC will first look at the net worth of all the owners. If all the owners of the business have a strong net worth, PNC will be confident that they’ll get repayment even if the business fails.

They’ll also ask for collateral on the loan. Strong, valuable collateral—like real estate or business assets—will demonstrate that you have a sufficient source of secondary repayment. As a rule of thumb, PNC wants to see that the value of your collateral is at least 1.25 times the loan amount. Just know that in the event you default on your loan, PNC has the right to seize the collateral to recoup their losses.

The PNC Small Business Loans You Need to Know

If you think you have a shot at qualifying for a PNC small business loan, then your next step is to sort through them all.

Here’s what you need to know about each PNC small business loan available.

PNC Small Business Loans: Business Term Loans

A business term loan from PNC is no different than any term loan you’ve come across. You’re given a lump sum of funds that you’ll pay back, plus interest, over a fixed repayment schedule.

But PNC doesn’t just offer one type of business term loans—they offer 4 different varieties.


Each will fit a different type of business with a different financing need, so let’s run through your options.

Secured Term Loan

PNC’s Secured Term Loan is the medium- to long-term loan that you’d expect to find at a bank. This PNC small business loan is a great option for a one-off business expense that requires longer term financing. You could use the financing to buy equipment and machinery, or use it to cover the costs of a long-term project for your business.

A Secured Term Loan is, of course, secured. This means that you’re required to offer some type of high-value asset as collateral for the loan. In general, PNC won’t ask for real estate as collateral, but a valuable business asset instead.

While you’re putting your assets on the line for this PNC small business loan, you will get more capital, longer terms, and lower interest rates with a Secured Term Loan. With the security that they’ll get their money back by liquidating your collateral, PNC minimizes their risk—meaning they’re willing to give you more and charge you less.

Secured Term Loans are $10,000 to $3 million in amount, have terms up to 7 years, and have a variable rate based on the Wall Street Journal prime rate—currently 3.5%. The actual rate you get on a Secured Term Loan will depend on the value of the collateral you offer, the financial strength of your business, and the creditworthiness of the business owners.

Business Equity Installment Loan

A Business Equity Installment Loan from PNC is really no different than the Secured Term Loan—at least in loan amount and interest rate.

You can still borrow anywhere from $10,000 to $3 million at a variable interest rate based on the Wall Street Journal prime rate.

But here’s how it’s different: A Business Equity Installment Loan is specifically secured by real estate. If you offer residential real estate as collateral for this PNC small business loan, you can get a loan term of up to 20 years. And if you secure this loan with commercial real estate, the term can be up to 10 years.

Choice Credit for Business Term Loan

If you need a smaller amount in financing—at least compared to the whopping $3 million you can get from PNC’s other term loans—then a Choice Credit term loan might be a good fit for your business.

This PNC small business loan is just like a short-term loan that you’d get from an alternative lender. You can borrow anywhere from $10,000 to $100,000 for a maximum of 48 months, and pay PNC back over fixed monthly payments.

If you choose to apply for this PNC small business loan, you’ll get some of the perks of applying to online, short-term loans—the application process is much easier, and PNC can give you a decision in less than a day. And unlike PNC’s Secured Term Loan, the Choice Credit is an unsecured business loan.

But because you’ll have less information and paperwork to fork over and no collateral to offer, you’ll probably get a higher interest rate on a Choice Credit loan than you would with any other PNC small business loan.

Business Vehicle Loan

PNC also offers term loans specifically for financing your business’s vehicles, structured similarly to an equipment financing product.

So if you need to buy cars, vans, or trucking equipment, this PNC small business loan might help you cover that steep price tag. With a Business Vehicle Loan, you can finance up to 100% of your business’s new vehicles, and up 80% for any used vehicles you purchase.

A Business Vehicle Loan comes at a maximum amount of $250,000 and a maximum term of 60 months. You’ll have a fixed interest rate on a Business Vehicle Loan, but the exact rate you get will depend on the type of equipment you’re purchasing and the creditworthiness of the business’s owners.

PNC Small Business Loans: Business Lines of Credit

The next type of PNC small business loan to consider is their business line of credit. And just like their term loans, PNC offers a lot of different line of credit products.

Each PNC line of credit can help you finance your business’s growth or stabilize your cash flow, but each product works a little differently.

Secured Line of Credit

Business owners who think that Secured Term Loans could be a fit should also consider PNC’s Secured Line of Credit. The two products are structured differently, but they’re both a good fit for a similar type of business with similar financing needs.

A Secured Line of Credit comes with a pool of funds ranging from $100,000 to $3 million, monthly payments, and a variable interest rate based on the Prime Rate. You’ll also secure this line of credit with any valuable business asset—just not residential or commercial real estate.

Sound familiar? This PNC small business loan is just like the Secured Term Loan, but the differences lie in the fact that this is a line of credit. Just like any business line of credit, you’ll draw on the funds only when you need to for your business, and once you pay PNC back, your credit line is refilled to its original amount. You won’t have a set “term” on your Secured Line of Credit, but once you draw on the line, you’ll pay back in monthly payments. And if you’d like to renew your line of credit with PNC, you can apply to do so once you’ve used your Secured Line of Credit for at least a year.

Business Equity Line of Credit

Much like the Secured Line of Credit, a Business Equity Line of Credit is a secured line of credit. But this PNC small business loan needs to be secured by residential or commercial real estate.

And there are a few other differences to note: A Secured Line of Credit comes at amounts ranging from $10,000 to $999,999. You’ll also have a set 7 year revolving credit period, and 10 year repayment period thereafter. The interest rate you get on a Business Equity Line of Credit should be on the lower end of the spectrum because you’ve offered real estate as collateral for the financing.

Also, you should know that a Business Equity Line of Credit comes with an annual fee of $175. So no matter how often you draw on the line or how reliable you are with your repayment, you’ll still have to fork over $175 each year if you have a Business Equity Line of Credit.

Choice Credit for Business Line of Credit

The Choice Credit line of credit is a great fit for small business owners who need just a small amount of capital, and who don’t want to jump through hoops to get it.

This unsecured line of credit comes at amounts ranging from $20,000 to $100,000 with a variable interest rate based on the prime rate. And once you fill out the relatively little amount of paperwork you need to apply, you can be approved and have access to the funds in less than a day.

Just like the Choice Credit term loan, you’re paying for ease and speed with the Choice Credit line of credit. PNC doesn’t set exact interest rates on this product, but they’re likely to be higher than what you’d get on the Secured Line of Credit. Also, you’ll have the same annual fee of $175 that you need to pay with the Choice Credit line of credit.

PNC Small Business Loans: SBA Loans

Did you know that your PNC small business loan can be guaranteed by the SBA?

That’s right—PNC is one of the SBA’s trusted small business lenders, offering a variety of SBA loans that are guaranteed by the government agency.

In many ways, getting an SBA loan from PNC might be the best option for small business owners who want a PNC small business loan. Why?

Well, in general, SBA loans are easier to qualify for than the rest of the PNC small business loans on this list. That’s because PNC has the security of a SBA guarantee—promising them that they’ll get at least a majority of their money back in the case that you default on the loan. So, less risks means more willingness to lend to riskier portfolios.

PNC offers SBA loans from most the SBA loan programs: the 7(a) Loan Program, the CDC/504 Loan Program, the SBA Express Loan Program, the SBA Export Express Loan Program, and the SBA Veterans Advantage Program.

Let’s run through the quick and dirty of what you can get from these SBA loans.

7(a) Loans from PNC

If you’re familiar with SBA loans, then you might know what the 7(a) Loan Program is all about.

7(a) loans are the SBA’s most general and popular financing product. They provide financing up to $5 million for most business needs—financing real estate renovations, business acquisitions, franchise purchases, equipment purchases, and so on.

The interest rate you’ll get on a 7(a) loan from PNC is up to discussion between you and PNC, but the rate you actually get won’t be higher than the SBA’s maximum.

CDC/504 Loans from PNC

The CDC/504 Loan Program is specifically meant for large fixed-asset purchases—like equipment or real estate purchases.

Use this loan program when you could really use a lot of capital to finance your business’s next big move. You’ll have large dollar limits from PNC, and terms up to 20 years for repayment.

Express Loans from PNC

In most cases, SBA loans fund at large amounts and over a long time—just about the same amount of time as a bank would take.

So if you only need a little bit in financing and don’t have the time to wait for it, then the SBA Express Loan Program might be the right fit for your business. SBA Express loans go up to $350,000 and can be in your bank account within 36 hours.

Export Express Loans from PNC

Most banks that offer SBA loans will usually have 7(a) loans, CDC/504 loans, and Express loans on their list of small business loans.

But unlike many banks, PNC also offers the SBA Export Express Loan Program. Export Express loans are meant for businesses that export their products internationally. So if you want to ramp up your exporting or grow your business globally, then the Export Express loan program might be the way to go.

SBA Veterans Advantage Program

If you’re a veteran small business owner who qualifies for a 7(a) loan or an Express loan, then you can get any guarantee fees associated with your SBA loans waived or reduced under the Veterans Advantage Program.

Most SBA loans come with a guarantee fee that the borrower must pay—usually ranging from 0% to 3.5% of the dollar amount guaranteed. This might only seem like a small percentage, but the guarantee fee really adds up for the larger SBA loans.

With the Veterans Advantage Program, veteran small business owners don’t have to pay the guarantee fee for Express loans, and only have to pay half the guarantee fee for 7(a) loans between $150,000 and $500,000 in size.

When it comes to SBA loans from traditional banks, PNC really sets itself apart from the rest by working with the Veterans Advantage Program. And beyond SBA loans, PNC offers a lot of resources for veteran owned small businesses.

PNC Small Business Loans: Business Credit Cards

Now, you might not put business credit cards on the top of the list of PNC small business loans. And if you’re wondering if you should use a business credit card in place of a loan for your business, many people would say “no!”

But there are a lot of good reasons to finance your business with a business credit card.

For one, if you need a fast business loan, a PNC business credit card is a better bet than any of the other PNC small business loans—you can get a credit decision within minutes instead of weeks or months.

Or, if you only need a small amount in financing from PNC—say $10,000—you’ll have a better shot qualifying for a business credit card with a $10,000 credit limit over a PNC small business loan of only $10,000. The cost of providing a loan is the same for the bank no matter the loan amount, so issuing small business loans of less than $100,000 just isn’t worth it for PNC bank.

And finally, a few of the PNC business credit cards come with a 0% introductory APR for 9 months. If you’re just starting your business, a business credit card with a 0% introductory APR can be the perfect fit. You won’t have to pay any interest on your purchases—making a 0% introductory APR business credit card a lot like a free loan for almost a year.

If using one of PNC’s business credit cards seems like the right kind of PNC small business loan for you, then you have a lot of different options—5 business credit cards, in fact. Each card offers something different for small business owners, like bonus points, cash back, or travel rewards. Check out the list of all PNC business credit cards to learn more.

Is a PNC Small Business Loan Right For You?

So, you’ve got the complete list of PNC’s small business loans.

Is there a PNC small business loan that’s perfect for your business? There just might be.

But before you get deep into the process of applying for a PNC small business loan, ask yourself this: “Do I qualify for a loan from PNC?”

For a lot of small business owners, the answer to that question might be “no.” Remember—commercial bank loans are hard to qualify for. And with a required 3 years in business to even be considered, PNC has some tough loan requirements for the smallest businesses.

But if you’ve been in business for a little while and both your personal and business financials meet PNC’s standards, you might just find the perfect fit for your business!

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
Georgia McIntyre

Georgia McIntyre

Finance Writer at Fundera
Georgia McIntyre is the resident Finance Writer at Fundera. She specializes in all things small business finance, from lending to accounting. Questions for Georgia? Comment below!
Georgia McIntyre

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