Live Oak Business Loans

Our Approach:

To help match your business with the right loan, we compared Live Oak’s loan offerings and matched those to the businesses that would benefit most.

In this review, we’ll cover the types of loans Live Oak offers to help you decide if Live Oak is the right lending partner for your small business.

Selecting the best small business loan for your company comes down to three things:

  • Type of business you have
  • Needs of your business
  • What you want for the future of your business

Live Oak Business Loans Summary:

Live Oak offers three types of small business loans. Your business’s needs will help determine which loan is best.

  • SBA loans are the best for businesses needing capital for startup or growth opportunities. To qualify for these loans, you must not only meet the bank’s requirements but also the SBA’s loan requirements.
  • USDA loans are the best business loan for rural businesses that deal in agriculture and farming.
  • Commercial loans are the best business loans for small businesses needing to fund larger projects. These loans can be utilized in conjunction with SBA loans for businesses that qualify.

PROS

  • Work one-on-one with the lender to get approved
  • Free up your cash
  • Financing that grows with your business

CONS

  • Rates are determined on a case-by-case basis
  • Must deal directly with the lender before applying for financing
  • Longer process than online lenders
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Recommended: Read our guide on how to build business credit.

Live Oak Alternatives

You can find alternatives to Live Oak by reading our list of the five best small business loans. You can also learn about more funding options by visiting our guides on small business loans.

Types of Live Oak Business Loans

Live Oak offers three types of small business loans: SBA loans, USDA loans, and commercial loans.

An SBA loan is great for small businesses that meet the lending criteria of the Small Business Administration (SBA). These loans are easier to qualify for because Live Oak does not take on as much risk lending to a new or relatively newly established business, as these loans are guaranteed by the SBA. For this reason, you’re more likely to qualify for an SBA loan rather than for some other bank loans.

A USDA Loan is a loan guaranteed by the USDA mainly for real estate and rural development projects. If you operate an agro-business, this type of loan may be right for your small business. These loans are guaranteed by the USDA making them less risky for lenders like Live Oak.

A commercial loan is one with higher limits to fund larger business projects. Where loans through the SBA and USDA have set limits on how much a business can borrow, commercial loans are more flexible and have higher limit amounts.

Live Oak SBA Loan

SBA loans are useful when a business needs a set amount of capital upfront to cover business expenses for a set period of time (term). The best part is that the SBA guarantees 85% of the loan, so Live Oak takes on less risk lending to businesses that qualify for these loans. This means lower interest rates and a greater likelihood of being approved.

Lowest rate: Not specified

Loan sizes up to: $250,000

Benefits:

  • Get funded with unestablished business credit
  • Low rates fixed by SBA
  • Easier to qualify

Qualifications:

  • Must have a Live Oak business bank account
  • Must discuss your business needs with a customer support representative
  • 640+ credit score

How to Apply:

  • Contact Live Oak: 1 (866) 518-0286

Live Oak USDA Loans

USDA loans can take the form of a mortgage or a term loan to fund a rural development initiative.

Lowest rate: 2.5%

Loan sizes up to: No cap, but usually 41% of debt to income ratio

Benefits:

  • Guaranteed by USDA
  • Low interest rates
  • Fixed rates
  • Fixed terms 
  • Fixed monthly payments

Qualifications:

  • Must have a Live Oak business bank account
  • Must visit a branch to determine if you qualify

How to Apply:

  • Contact Live Oak: 1-866-518-0286

Live Oak Commercial Loans

Commercial loans can be used for most business initiatives that go beyond the limitations of lending through the SBA. These loans are typically larger and meant to fund larger business needs, such as purchasing an office building.

Lowest rate: None (decided on a case-by-case basis)

Loan sizes up to: No cap

Benefits:

  • Fund larger projects
  • Leverage greater quantities of capital
  • No hard determination factors
  • Can be tied to SBA loans

Qualifications:

  • Must have a Live Oak business bank account
  • Must visit a branch to determine if you qualify

How to Apply:

  • Contact Live Oak: 1-866-518-0286

Live Oak Customer Reviews

Live Oak doesn’t have many customer reviews that we could find. Here are some reviews (from the Best Company website) by people who sought loans through them to help their businesses:

“We just completed a multi-million dollar commercial building for a new veterinary hospital with Live Oak Bank as the financier. They were incredible. They kept their word on everything they promised. They responded within an hour to every question I had. They were professional, knowledgeable and friendly. They gave us a great fixed interest rate that actually went down by the time construction had ended. They were actually one of the few banks to offer us a loan. We cannot recommend them enough. They were easy to work with and always sent out payment to the contractor the same day I approved it. Wow! Highly, highly recommend.”

“I would not recommend Live Oak Bank for any loan, after speaking with Mr. Kelly he pretty much deemed us ineligible for the program just by talking to me and before even running our credit report. After speaking with him briefly I knew that he was not a representative that I wanted to be dealing with for such a big project.”

“This bank micro manages the construction project. It sends pre chosen construction inspectors to come to the job, check the hired construction companies work , then and only then do they pay the draw on the loan, which is unusual but ok.”

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Learn more by checking out our comprehensive guides on small business loans.

Live Oak Review Ratings

Value - 4/5

Overall, Live Oak’s is valuable to many businesses given they offer SBA, USDA, and Commercial loans. The customer service is professional, we talked to a loan representative for half an hour, and they helped us find the right solution. Live Oak is a popular SBA Lender, making them a good banking partner for companies seeking SBA loans.

Customer Service - 4/5

We called Live Oak during business hours and were greeted by a pleasant rep who helped us determine the right solution for our business!

Ease of Use - 4/5

Applying for an SBA loan was exceptionally easy through Live Oak. The only frustrating part was having to go through the qualification process. Luckily, our Live Oak rep was extremely helpful and knowledgeable.

Included Features - 4/5

Live Oak offers many features we found useful:

  • Three loans to serve many business needs
  • Rates determined on a case-by-case basis
  • Great customer service

Final Thoughts on Live Oak

Live Oak may be the right lender for your business if you need an SBA loan or USDA loan. These two types of loans offered by Live Oak are both guaranteed, making them easier to qualify for and simple with the help of Live Oak’s fantastic customer service.

Live Oak may not be the best loan option if you need fast financing, as their loans take time to qualify for and process. If you need fast financing, try an online lender.

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Visit our comprehensive guide on small business loans.

Live Oak FAQs

Why is it called Live Oak?

Live Oak derives its name from the fact that it is durable and evergreen, a bank that is strong and of the highest caliber.

Does Live Oak do SBA loans?

Yes, Live Oak is actually a “preferred” SBA lender. This means they have a lot of experience qualifying businesses for SBA loans.

Can an SBA loan be forgiven?

Yes, USDA loans are as low or lower than conventional loan rates.

How much USDA loan can I get?

The USDA has no limit; however, it is highly unlikely any business would qualify for more than $300,000-$400,000 worth of financing.

What is the average interest rate on a small business loan?

Live Oak does not set limits on their interest rates. Most traditional banks charge 7% to 100%, though SBA 7(a) loans range between 5.5% and 11.25%.