Sam's Club, a subsidiary of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., has launched a national pilot program that will offer small business loans from $5,000 to $25,000 to its members.
Launched today, Sam's Club has partnered with Superior Financial Group, a federally licensed nonbank lender that provides SBA loans. Sam's Club members will receive $100 off the $500 application, packaging and processing fee, a 20% discount and a 7.5% annual percentage rate. The term of the loan is 10 years and there is no early repayment penalty. Business memberships cost $35 annually at Sam's Club. Members can apply online for the loans.
According to Sam's Club spokesperson Kristy Reed, the grocery and retail outlet first rolled out a smaller version of the loan program in May at several locations.
"As we surveyed small businesses, we found that many of them were not able to finance their operations," Reed said. "When we're faced with a challenge like this, we like to meet it."
In a November 2009 survey conducted by Sam's Club, nearly 15% of its business members reported being denied a loan to run their operation, up from 12% in April 2009.
Sam's Club looked at several vendors and decided to partner with Superior Financial Group because its online application process was quick and innovative, Reed said. At this point, the Wal-Mart division is not planning to work with credit unions or any other lenders, she added.