Why Was My Business Loan Denied?

How to make sure a business loan application is successful

Why was your business loan application denied?

If you have recently applied for a business loan and your application was declined, it may feel insulting or demeaning, but the first thing you need to understand is that it is nothing personal. There are several potential reasons for having a business loan denied. 

It is important to note that there are many lenders out there with different lending conditions which means that if you get rejected for a certain reason by one lender, you may get accepted elsewhere because a different lender has different loaning options. There are various options that are available to you in order to improve your chances of getting approved from the next time you apply. 

There are many reasons as to why you may have had a business loan denied, the good part is that it is not at a lender’s discretion to explain why. Usually you will receive what’s called an adverse action letter from the lender explaining the reasons as to why you were rejected for a business loan. 

There are usually two main factors that lead to lenders denying business loan applications, these are predominantly problems with credit and problems with income. 

Here are some of the reasons you might have had a business loan denied.

Poor credit history

Lenders primarily look at your borrowing history which is reflected through your credit scores. This is because lenders want to know if you are able to pay back the loan, seeing a solid history of borrowing and repaying will put the lenders at ease to know that their loan will be repaid back to them.

However, if you have not borrowed much in the past, your lack of credit history may lead to your loan being declined or if you have experienced complications with repaying loans in the past.

Brief credit history

The length of your credit history is important to show your credit worthiness to lenders. They need to be able to see that you have an established history with credit products. No history does not reflect a good history. No history means nothing to base the fact that you will be a responsible borrower.

If you keep up responsible habits such as consistent paying off your bills with a credit card or any other forms of credit, in time your score will reach its full potential. This can help reduce the chances of having a business loan denied.


Bankruptcy will affect your credit rating therefore making it quite difficult for you to get a loan from many lenders. It is also against the law to borrow more than £500 from any lender without telling them that you are bankrupt until you are discharged from your bankruptcy.

Insufficient / unverified income

Lenders look at your work, investments and other sources of income in order to assure them that you will be able to repay the loan. With some loans, lenders are required by law to calculate your ability to repay the loan through your income.

Even if you have a good credit history, if the numbers do not add up in the end, lenders may decline your loan for that reason. Either because you don’t earn enough to repay the loan or your income cannot be verified with the information you have provided.

Debt-to-income ratio

This ratio is the comparison of how much you owe each month to how much you earn. Most lenders use your own debt-to-income ratio in order to determine whether you will be able to handle the repayments after approval of your loan.  You may see your business loan denied if the numbers add up and it looks like your business will not be able to handle any new debts.


With some loans, you are able to personally guarantee the loan with your lender by essentially pledging a personal asset as collateral that is valued at the same amount of the loan. If you have a poor or brief credit history as well as no collateral, the chances of getting approved for a loan are much lower.

Too many credit inquiries

You may think that applying for several loans at once with different companies may increase your chances of getting approved, but think again. When you apply for more than one loan or credit within a short period of time, it negatively impacts your credit rating. There is no limit or rule to determine how much credit you can apply for or the number of applications you wish to make however, there are consequences to your credit rating if you are making multiple applications for credit.

Making multiple loan applications also makes it seem like you are desperate for money which does not sit right with a lot of lenders, the argument is that, if you look like you need the loan so badly, you may struggle to repay it. As this will also reflect badly on your credit rating, it will make it difficult for you to receive credit or loans in the future as with any loan that you apply for, the lender will complete a credit check.

Change in income

The figure on your pay check every month does not affect your credit score. But lenders look at your income to determine whether that income will be sufficient enough to repay the loan. Therefore, affecting your eligibility for certain new credit accounts.

Recent late payments

You may be very responsible when it comes to paying your monthly credit card bills and you may have done it for years, slowly building up your credit score, but you had an off month and out of nowhere you accidentally miss a few payments. Unfortunately this can affect you pretty badly. The higher the score, the harder it falls when something occurs to hurt your credit rating. This, in some cases, can hurt your loan application more than consumers who had poor credit to begin with.


Usually, for conventional borrowers, there is a waiting period of typically seven years after a foreclosure for the borrower to be eligible for another loan. For mortgage loans, the waiting period is a minimum of three years until you will be able to apply for a mortgage, this is three years from the time that the foreclosure case has completely ended.

Other issues

In some instances, you can have a business loan denied for less obvious reasons. This could include mistakes such as submitting an incomplete application, or perhaps a problem with your business model.

I’ve had a business loan denied – What do I do next? 

Having a business loan denied can be disappointing and frustrating but the good news is there are some steps that you can take to get your application reconsidered.

Find out why you were rejected

You need to find out why you were rejected in the first place and also have a lawful right to know. Most lenders will be more than happy to explain why you were rejected and what is required from you to be reconsidered. You have the right to ask the reason behind the rejection within 30-60 days and the lender will be required to inform you the reasons. It is important to note that failure to meet “minimum standards” is not an accepted reason, it has to be a more specific, concrete reason.

It may be a bit soul crushing reading through a list of why you did not meet a lender’s requirements, but more often than not, it is all about the numbers. The rejection is not personal. You can view the specifics and amend them or change aspects of your lifestyle or business to ensure that next time you will get approved.

Look for errors in your application

You need to thoroughly check through your application, double check that you have not forgotten to report any source of income or accidentally embellished an additional zero to any numbers.

Review your own credit score

It does not harm your credit score for you to check your own credit. It is a good idea to check in periodically on your credit score to see what is affecting it in a positive or negative way. You are entitled by law to get a free credit report, that way you can see what the banks can see.

Request reconsideration

If you have noticed an error in your application that can correct or suspect that you just barely missed the mark to qualify for the loan, it is worth calling the lender to discuss your case. This conversation should be a formal discussion, not you begging to be approved for the loan. How you act affects your image with lenders, go through all the points clearly that you have to get your loan reconsidered and accept whatever their response may be.

In conclusion, these steps might help you convince a lender to reverse their decision as well as improve your application. Unfortunately there is no guarantee however, there are other options out there for you. 

If you have had your business loan denied or you have concerns over your application, contact us today, Our team can help make sure your loan application has the greatest chance of success. We can also advise you on the best alternative funding options for your business if you cannot secure a bank loan.

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