With the Small Business Administration's commitment to economic growth and job creation, geared toward underserved communities, in February 2011, they rolled out two new loan initiatives that fall under the Advantage platform. These initiatives were put in place in order to increase the number of loans to small businesses and entrepreneurs in underserved communities. The Small Loan Advantage initiative and Community Advantage initiative have streamlined the application process for SBA 7 (a) loans up to $250,000. Here's what you should know about these Cash Advantage loan initiatives: Small Loan Advantage Small Loan Advantage is not set up to get new lenders; rather it is structured so as to encourage larger, existing, SBA lenders to make lower-dollar loans. The purpose being that these lower dollar loans often help the smaller businesses and entrepreneurs in underserved markets. Small Loan Advantage is available to financial institutions that are already participating in SBA's PLP, and the maximum loan size is $250,000. With these SBA loans, SBA guarantee 85% for loans up to $150,000, and 75% for those over $150,000. Part of streamlining this process is the improved approval time. Most loans that fall under the Small Loan Advantage category will be approved in just a few minutes using e-Tran, an electronic submission process. The non-delegated Small Loan Advantage loans will take a bit longer, but will be approved within 5-10 days. In addition to simplified structure, and faster approval time, the paperwork has been cut down and streamlines as well, with only a two-page application for borrowers, and allowing lenders to use their own note and guaranty agreements. Community Advantage Community Advantage is an initiative that is set up to increase the number of SBA 7 (a) lenders who serve the underserved communities. This is a pilot program put in place to increase the number of SBA lenders, specifically those who are mission-focused, or community-based, and where previously unable to offer SBA loans. Community Advantage lenders are expected to maintain a portfolio with at least 60% of their SBA loans to be to the underserved markets. Underserved markets include small businesses with at least half the workforce residing in LMI (low to moderate income) communities. This is a three-year pilot initiative where the SBA started taking applications from mission-focused lenders on February 15, 2011. The Community Advantage loan size is a maximum of $250,000, and the SBA guarantee is 85% for loans up to $150,000 and 75% for loans over $150,000. Approval times are faster, with loans being approved in 5 to 10 days, and like the Small Loan Advantage, applications are only two pages for borrowers. These two Advantage loan initiatives should help open some lending doors for small businesses and underserved communities looking for business loans.