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LAST UPDATED: December 7th, 2022

Founded in 2008 with the purpose of innovating traditional banking processes, Live Oak Bank provides small business loan options to business owners in niche industries. It is one of the largest business loan processors in the United States, with a strong portfolio of small business lending products. Live Oak Bank is a preferred Small Business Association (SBA) Lender, so you can get an SBA loan, a USDA loan, or a commercial loan. 

Live Oak is also a financial institution offering personal and business banking services. So alongside a business loan, you can utilize this online bank for your personal savings account, business savings account or high-yield CD account. 

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The Good

  • Loan Options
  • Industry Expertise
  • Technology
  • Customer Service

Loan Options

Live Oak Bank has loan solutions for the following financial goals: 

  1. Buy an existing business or franchise
  2. Build a storefront
  3. Scale operations with an expansion loan

With Live Oak Bank, you’ve got lots of options in regards to loan type and amount. The loan amounts available vary by product, but with an SBA 7(a) loan you can get up to $5 million and with an SBA 504 you can get up to $15 million. 

Loan terms can go up to 25 years. Equity requirements and interest rates vary depending on borrower qualifications like credit score, revenue, and time in business. 

Industry Expertise

SBA Loans

Notably, the company has competitive expertise and recognition surrounding SBA loans: In 2020, Live Oak Bank was the nation’s top SBA 7(a) and USDA commercial lender by dollar amount.

Live Oak Bank focuses almost exclusively on providing customers with access to SBA-approved loan products, which means they are more difficult to qualify for but significantly cheaper in the long run when you take interest rate into account. These loans include the standard SBA 7(a), 504, and micro-financing loan programs. 

Industry-Specific Loans

With each area of niche business, Live Oak Bank provides customers with account managers who specialize in their industry. The business advisory group at Live Oak Bank has a servicing director for each of the niche markets served. Live Oak Bank has specialized in veterinary practices,agriculture, pharmacy, healthcare, and other industries.

Construction financing is another one of its specialties. The company facilitates all documentation throughout the closing and construction disbursement process. Then after a construction loan closes and construction begins, the Live Oak Bank team walks borrowers through the process, working directly with the approved contractor and architect on construction-related items. 


The company’s portal technology simplifies its loan process from application through funding. From the portal, you can upload documents securely, fill out outline forms, and electronically sign documents.  

The portal has real-time transparency so customers know where they’re at in the approval process and what is happening with each step. 

Customer Service

The customer service relationship doesn’t end when the loan is funded. With Live Oak Bank, you’re given a devoted business analyst who will share detailed financial analysis and guidance throughout the life of your loan. 


The Bad

  • Minimum Loan Amount
  • Vague Application Information
  • Unresolved Negative Reviews 

Minimum Loan Amount

Live Oak Bank allows for huge loan amounts, up to $15 million, but cannot cater to businesses needing small loan amounts. Loans start at $150,000. 

Vague Application Information

There is very little support on the website for initiating the loan process. The only form that is online is a referral form, that lets the bank reach out to potential customers. There is also not a lot of information for the turnaround of the loan approval and access to funds. 

Typically, the SBA loans can be approved within 36 hours, but in some instances, it can take businesses as long as 30 days to access the funds, depending upon the type of SBA loan purchased. On average, clients will have funding within a week, but it may take longer.

Unresolved Negative Reviews

While there are not a lot of Live Oak Bank reviews in our repository, the company has not yet responded to the negative reviews referencing issues with the application process and construction loan protocols. 


The Bottom Line

Live Oak Bank offers a competitive portfolio of loan products including SBA loans, USDA loans, and commercial loans. The website specifically lists conventional loans and lines of credit as options to combine with SBA loans to create a personalized loan package. Since you can generally get a more competitive rate with SBA loans than with alternative business loans, they are definitely worth looking into. 

However, we would like to see more information on the Live Oak Bank website, such as details regarding conventional loan and line of credit options as well as case studies for a sample interest rate or loan amount. This ensures that clients have enough information to choose the best services for their situation. 

It's nice that Live Oak Bank is one of the few in the industry that has niche business lending specialists. But due to unresolved negative user reviews, we are inclined to recommend higher-ranked lenders. 

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