Sam's Club launches new business lending center with SmartBiz

Sam's Club (NYSE:WMT) has named SmartBiz, which bills itself as the leading provider of online Small Business Association loans, its exclusive platform for SBA-guaranteed loans for the Sam's Club Business Lending Center.

The lending club offers small businesses access to capital and special perks.

SmartBiz, which offers SBA loans $350,000 and under, will provide Sam's Club business members with SBA loans with low monthly payments, single-digit interest rates and an easy application process, the company said. It also runs the platform that operates Sam's Club Business Lending Center, now up and running at SamsClub.com/services.

The creation of the center was prompted by feedback from Sam's Club business members suggesting that access to capital was a crucial, unmet need.

The lending service is one of five new services the company is offering to heighten its appeal with its business members, which account for as much as one-third of its membership, according to a Fortune story citing Kantar Retail estimates.

The move also comes at a time when Sam's Club's sales from consumer goods have been sluggish.

The Business Lending Center bills itself as a convenient platform that cuts out the time and hassle of finding the right financing solution by offering three market-leading providers of SBA loans and business credit cards: Lending Club, Sam's Club Business MasterCard, and SmartBiz, according to a SmartBiz statement.   

"Our small business members often cite time and access to capital as two major concerns as they manage and grow their businesses," said Seong Ohm, senior VP for merchandise business services at Sam's Club, in the statement.

SmartBiz said it has rewritten the rules of SBA lending: Businesses can prequalify for a SmartBiz SBA loan in about five minutes, complete the application online in 30 minutes, and receive funds in as little as seven days after completing the application. The standard SBA process can take months to complete, the company said.

Via the lending center, Sam's Club business members will gain access to exclusive offers, including a 20 percent savings on loan fees, the chance to earn up to $5,000 in cash-back rewards with the Sam's Club Business MasterCard, and loans from $5,000 to $350,000, as well as an easy application process and fast funding.

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