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San Diego Branch
Our San Diego branch is currently closed and is expected to reopen on Monday, September 25th. Members can access their accounts with online or mobile banking.
Self-Help Credit Union

Small Business Loans

Boost your business or nonprofit with a loan—from $15,000 and up, depending on your next project. Use the loan to expand, purchase equipment or a building, or undertake renovations. Our goal is to support your vision with financing that makes good business sense.

Please note that projects outside of Illinois and North Carolina must be larger than $500,000. Self-Help only offers small business lending products for loans under $500,000 in Illinois and North Carolina. Projects outside of Illinois and North Carolina must be larger than $500,000 to qualify.

If you need a loan for less than ~$15,000, please contact a Self-Help branch near you.

See below for:

What We Look For When Evaluating a Loan:

We work closely with our borrowers to make the applications process as easy and transparent as possible. When we evaluate your application, we look at the following criteria:

1. Experience. What experience do you have in the industry related to your business. What management experience do you have?

2. Creditworthiness. Do you and your business have a history of paying debts and suppliers on time? You can get a free copy of your credit report at

3. Capital. How much money have you invested so far in your business? How much money can you invest in this project?

4. Cash flow. Can your business cover expenses plus the loan payment?

5. Collateral. What assets can be used to secure the loan? Possible collateral includes real estate, cash, and in some cases equipment. Note: Some of our smaller loans do not require collateral. 

6. Personal debt-to-income ratio. Is your business able to pay you a sufficient salary to cover your debts? For start-ups, we will require the borrower or co-signer to have a secondary source of income.

Small Business Loans

Loans for Existing Businesses and Nonprofits

What Is an Existing Business or Nonprofit? 

  • A business or nonprofit that has filed two or more years of tax returns, or
  • A business or nonprofit that you currently manage and would like to purchase from the owner.
  • If you do not meet the above-stated requirements, Self-Help will consider your business a start-up.

Loans Terms for Existing Businesses or Nonprofits

Loan terms vary, based on the collateral available and the proposed use of loan funds.

  • Loan amount: No maximum loan amount.
  • Term: Varies based on use of funds. No prepayment fee for loans under $500k.
  • Note: We offer a variety of loan products, including SBA 7A.

Existing Business/Nonprofit Loan Considerations

  • We often require a personal guaranty for small business and nonprofit loans.
  • We typically require 10-30% down for non working capital loan requests.
  • We will require collateral (e.g. real estate, vehicle, etc.).
    • Note: We can sometimes be flexible with collateral requirements, so please reach out with questions.

See here for information on loans to start-up businesses and nonprofits.

Are You Ready to Apply?

If you can answer "yes" to the statements below, please feel free to submit an online pre-application form.

Note: We are a collateralized lender, and prefer real estate as collateral. We are sometimes able to mitigate a collateral gap, so please email with any concerns or questions.


Are you ready to apply for a small business or nonprofit loan? Answer these statements to find out.

____    My business or nonprofit is located in either North Carolina or Illinois.


____    I have not had a bankruptcy in the last three years.


____    I am current on my bills and don't have any outstanding judgments or collections. (We can sometimes waive medical collections.) Call 1-877-322-8228 or visit for a free copy of your credit report.


____    I have collateral I can put up for the loan, such as real estate, a vehicle and/or equipment. Note: we can sometimes mitigate collateral gaps.


____    I have sufficient income to comfortably cover my personal debts, and/or I have a co-signer who can co-sign on the loan.


____    I have my personal tax returns for the past two years.


____    For existing businesses or nonprofits: I have two years of business tax returns and year-to-date financials (profit & loss statement and balance sheet) for my business.


____    For start-up businesses or nonprofits: I have funds I can invest in the business and I have a secondary source of income sufficient to cover my personal debts as well as this new business debt. (Note for start-ups: While we do consider projected income from the business, we underwrite based on your existing sources of income to assess your ability to repay the loan.)


____    My business or nonprofit is located in either North Carolina or Illinois (if you are located in another geography and have a loan request for $500,000+, you may still qualify for a loan. Please complete a non-binding online pre-application here.)

If you answered yes to all these statements, you might qualify for a loan. Submit an online pre-application here, and a team member will reach out with next steps.