Live Oak Bank, located in Wilmington, has been named the most active lender of SBA 7(a) loans for the sixth year in a row by the U.S. Small Business Administration. During this fiscal year, which ended on September 30th, Live Oak loaned $1.8 billion to small businesses through this program, making it the largest lender by dollar amount. This was an increase of nearly $50 million compared to second-place Huntington National Bank in Ohio, which loaned $1.37 billion.
Despite having the most loans and the largest average loan size in the group according to the SBA, Live Oak did not have the most loans or the largest average loan size in terms of number of loans approved. The standard 7(a) loans typically have long repayment periods and low interest rates, making them increasingly popular as interest rates hit historic highs this year. The SBA reimburses lenders for a portion of these loans if borrowers default or are unable to repay them, making it a less risky investment for banks. In return, the SBA charges lenders a guarantee fee, which is usually passed on to borrowers and based on loan size.