6 Best Maryland Small Business Loans

Written on October 28, 2021

Maryland is full of fantastic grant options and loan resources for small businesses. In fact, Maryland is a powerhouse state for small business loans, with several state-funded programs specifically helping minority business owners and businesses that have faced trouble seeking traditional financing.

Keep reading to learn more about the top Maryland small business loans, alternative online business loans, and tips on best preparing your business before applying for a loan.

Small Business Loans in Maryland: The Top 6 Options

The following list of Maryland small business loans is a mix of state-funded programs, non-profit community institutions, credit unions, and banks. Several of the options below are specifically for underrepresented business owners, such as women- or minority-owned businesses. There are also a few options for businesses that have challenges receiving traditional bank financing.

Here are the six best Maryland small business loans.

1. Maryland Economic Adjustment Fund

Minority-owned businesses looking to upgrade their business operations, enter into new markets, or develop commercial technology applications should look into the Maryland Economic Adjustment Fund (MEAF). MEAF provides loans up to $150,000 specifically for minority-owned businesses with less than 50 employees, so it’s worth a look. To be eligible for a business loan from MEAF, applicants must show:

  • Creditworthiness
  • Ability to make repayments
  • Inability to get traditional financing

Applying for a MEAF business loan involves several components. You must first submit a complete business plan, which should explain your budget and uses of funds. You will also need to submit personal and business federal tax returns, primary business owner’s resume, and current personal financial statements. You will also need to list all other owners of the business if they exist. You will also need to be willing to submit collateral to secure the loan.

2. Baltimore Business Lending

Baltimore Business Lending provides small business microloans for businesses located in Baltimore City neighborhoods. They specialize in loans for business owners who may not have collateral or have average credit. They give special consideration to minority- and women-owned businesses.

Baltimore Business Lending provides two types of loans: the emerging loan and the growth loan. The emerging loans are specifically for startups or emerging businesses that have been in operation for less than two years. The second type of business loan offered is the growth loan, which is a larger loan intended for more established businesses.

  • Emerging loan: These loans range from $10,000 to $50,000, and have fixed interest rates. The current interest rate is set at 9.25%, but women-owned businesses can receive a reduced 7.25% rate. The term length for emerging loans is usually between three to seven years.
  • Growth loan: Only businesses that have been in operation for at least two years are eligible for the growth loan. Loan amounts start from $50,000 and go up to $150,000. The same 9.25% interest rate applies to the growth loan, as well as the special interest rate for women-owned businesses.

Eligible businesses must have good credit and no bankruptcies within the last two years of application submission. Although these loans do not require any collateral, please note that a UCC lien will be placed on your business if you accept the loan. Additionally, all business owners must sign a personal guarantee. You can apply by submitting your application online and paying a $100 application fee and a $25 credit report fee. You will also need to submit a written business plan, including financial statements, federal income tax returns, and proof of citizenship.

3. Maryland Resource-Based Industry Financing Fund

The Maryland Resource-Based Industry Financing Fund, or MRBIFF for short, is a program operated by the Maryland Agricultural and Resource-Based Industry Development Corporation (MARBIDCO). This program helps new farmers purchase land and equipment to expand their farming business by providing large business loans serviced by MARBIDCO.

Maximum loan amounts range from $250,000 to $750,000, depending on the purpose of the loan. If you need capital to acquire equipment and fixed assets, the maximum loan amount is $250,000. For large real estate purchases, the maximum loan amount is $500,000; and for large-scale food or fiber-processing projects, the cap is at $750,000.

Interest rates on all loans start at 2.25% for the first three years, increase to 4.75% over the following three years, and 6% for the rest of the loan term. There is also a 1% origination fee.

Although MARBIDCO originates the loan, to apply for an MRBIFF loan, you will need to connect with a commercial bank or Farm Credit Association loan officer.

4. Neighborhood BusinessWorks

Neighborhood BusinessWorks, another sponsored program through the state of Maryland, provides loans to small businesses located in Maryland’s older areas. The purpose of Neighborhood BusinessWorks is to stimulate neighborhood revitalization in Maryland. These loans have a maximum amount of up to $5 million, with loan terms up to 30 years. Borrowers must contribute at least 10% in personal funding contribution, based on the total project cost.

Projects eligible for funding include retail, manufacturing, or service-related businesses. Mixed-use projects are also suitable for financing. These projects must be in a certified sustainable community or priority funding area.

You must download the Neighborhood BusinessWorks Loan application to apply for a loan. The application package will require a cover letter, business plan, financial statements, bank statements, general information about your business, and many more documents. A signed personal guarantee and collateral are also required.

5. SECU

Aside from banks, credit unions are another great source for business loans because their rates tend to be lower and their customer service is usually top-notch. If you think a credit union would be of interest to you, SECU is a top credit union in Maryland. SECU also provides business loans such as business lines of credit and term loans in addition to traditional financial services.

Of course, to apply for any of these business loans, you will first need to become an SECU member. To do so, you will need to meet one of the following requirements:

  • Relationship with a family member who is already a member
  • Employed by a Maryland State agency or organization
  • Attended or employed by a Maryland college/university
  • Employed by one of SECU’s affiliated employers
  • Currently donating to the SECU MD Foundation

Your business must also provide business documentation such as legal structure documents, personal and business tax returns, balance sheets, etc. All individuals who have at least 20% ownership of the business will need to provide a personal guarantee.

6. Harbor Bank of Maryland

The Harbor Bank of Maryland is a CDFI or community development financial institution. CDFIs are committed to providing affordable loans to low-income or disadvantaged individuals or businesses. The Harbor Bank of Maryland is one of the largest CDFIs in Maryland. It offers three types of business loans: business lines of credit, term loans, and commercial mortgage loans.

  • Business lines of credit: A business line of credit from the Harbor Bank of Maryland starts at $25,000. Borrowers can use their credit line to cover general business expenses such as payroll, purchasing inventory, etc. The loan has a 1-year maturity.
  • Term loan: Term loans can be used for asset purchases with repayment periods ranging from 3 to 10 years.
  • Commercial mortgage: To purchase a building, make renovations, or start construction, a commercial mortgage is a larger loan to finance those projects. You can expect a five-year term and monthly payments from Harbor Bank.

To apply for a business loan from Harbor Bank, you must reach out to one of their representatives to learn more about their application process.

Best Online Small Business Loans for Maryland Businesses

With all of these incredible small business loan options available to Maryland small businesses, it might not be necessary to look at online business loans. However, online small business loans can be a pretty strong option for business owners who want faster application processes. They’re also ideal for businesses that generally have had more difficulties qualifying for a bank loan. Here are some of the best online lenders for Maryland businesses:

Fundbox

Fundbox is an online lender that’s been around for quite some time. They offer unsecured business lines of credit, which means that you do not need to have assets to get funding. Additionally, Fundbox is known for its easy minimum requirements: in order to qualify for a business line of credit, you simply need to have been around for at least three months, generate $25,000 in monthly revenue, and have a personal credit score of at least 500.

Fundbox’s business lines of credit can go up to $100,000, and interest rates start at 10.1%. Fundbox’s line of credit term lengths last three to six months. You will need to apply online and sync your business bank account with Fundbox in order to receive funding if approved for a credit line.

BlueVine

BlueVine is another online lender that’s been around since 2014. The company offers term loans, credit lines, and invoice factoring. BlueVine’s financing products are primarily targeted at businesses that may not necessarily qualify for traditional loan financing. In terms of business loans, we recommend looking into invoice factoring if you are a B2B business and have outstanding receivables.

Like Fundbox, BlueVine’s application process is done entirely through an online platform. Within a few minutes, you can submit your application to BlueVine for funding and receive a decision on your application over the next few business days.

Preparing for Your Maryland Small Business Loan

Before you start applying for a business loan, there are a few things you need to take care of in advance so that you’re ahead of the curve.

  • Write a full business plan: If you plan to apply for a small business loan, it’s highly likely that you will have to write a complete business plan. A business plan is typically a large document that contains detailed information on your business, financial statements, assets, and details on why you need the business loan. If you need additional help with your business plan, seek an outside consultant who can help you put together an effective business plan.
  • Boost your credit score: If possible, we recommend applying for a business loan once you’ve done everything in your power to boost your credit score. A strong credit score can help you secure more financing options, make your payments on time or early if possible.
  • Open a business bank account: A business bank account is a must for some lenders, especially online business lenders. If you don’t have a business bank account, here are a few strong business bank account options.

The Bottom Line

Overall, Maryland is a great state in which to find business loans for all types of business owners. Whether you have a disadvantaged background or don’t meet the high standards of banks and other traditional lenders, you can find a business loan that fits your needs in Maryland. Maryland businesses should also consider online business loans which can be a suitable option for a more streamlined and fast application process.