When it comes to financing their business ventures, entrepreneurs often explore various avenues, including seeking bank loans. However, for individuals operating as a DBA (Doing Business As) or sole proprietor, the question arises: Can a DBA get a bank loan? In this article, we will delve into the world of small business financing and shed light on the possibilities available for DBAs to secure bank loans.

Understanding the DBA and Sole Proprietorship

To begin, let’s clarify the terminology. A DBA is a fictitious name used by an individual or a partnership to conduct business under a name different from their legal name. It is also commonly known as a “trade name” or “assumed name.” On the other hand, a sole proprietorship refers to a business owned and operated by an individual, often the sole proprietor.

Challenges for DBAs

DBAs and sole proprietors often face unique challenges when seeking financing due to the inherent nature of their business structures. Unlike corporations or limited liability companies (LLCs), DBAs do not have a separate legal entity from their owners. As a result, lenders perceive a higher level of risk when extending credit to these businesses, primarily because the individual’s personal assets may be tied directly to the business.

Factors Considered by Lenders

  1. Creditworthiness: When evaluating loan applications, lenders typically consider the creditworthiness of the business owner. This involves assessing their personal credit history, which can impact the loan approval process for DBAs.
  2. Business Plan: A well-developed business plan is crucial for any entrepreneur seeking a bank loan. It provides insights into the DBA’s operations, market analysis, financial projections, and repayment strategies. A solid business plan can help mitigate some of the perceived risks associated with DBAs.
  3. Financial Statements: DBAs should maintain accurate and up-to-date financial records, including income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements. These documents help demonstrate the business’s stability and its ability to repay the loan.

Financing Options for DBAs

  1. Traditional Bank Loans: While securing a bank loan as a DBA may be challenging, it is not entirely impossible. Some banks are willing to work with DBAs, particularly those with a strong credit history and a well-documented business plan. It is essential to research and approach banks that have experience dealing with small businesses and DBAs.
  2. Small Business Administration (SBA) Loans: The U.S. Small Business Administration offers loan programs designed specifically for small businesses, including DBAs. SBA loans often have favorable terms and lower interest rates compared to traditional bank loans. However, the application process can be rigorous and time-consuming.
  3. Online Lending Platforms: In recent years, online lending platforms have emerged as an alternative source of financing for small businesses, including DBAs. These platforms provide quicker loan approvals and may be more flexible in their eligibility criteria. However, it is crucial to carefully review the terms, interest rates, and fees associated with these loans.
  4. Microloans and Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs): Microloan programs offered by CDFIs can be another viable financing option for DBAs. These organizations focus on supporting small businesses in underserved communities and offer loans with smaller amounts compared to traditional banks.


Securing a bank loan as a DBA or sole proprietor can be challenging, but it is not impossible. While lenders may perceive higher risks associated with DBAs, maintaining a strong credit history, developing a comprehensive business plan, and keeping accurate financial records can enhance the chances of obtaining a loan. Additionally, exploring alternative financing options such as SBA loans, online lending platforms, and microloan programs can provide additional avenues for DBAs to access the funds they need to grow and succeed in their ventures.

Video Transcript

Can a DBA Get a Bank Loan?

An LLC can get a bank loan, and a corporation can get a bank loan, and either one of those can have a DBA, which is essentially just a nickname. So yes, a DBA can get a bank loan because a DBA is just a nickname for a business entity like an LLC or a corporation, but can the DBA go get a loan as a separate entity? No. A DBA is just a nickname for your LLC or corporation. So it is really the LLC or corporation getting the loan, and the DBA is just a nickname or alternative name for the LLC or corporation. And by the way, whenever you disclose to the IRS or to a lender or, like a bank, a DBA, you are typically telling them also the entity registered in association with the DBA.

In other words, if you have an LLC, you are getting an EIN for the LLC, even though you disclosed to the IRS that it has a DBA.


All right. That does it for today. I would love to know if you find this helpful. And by the way, if you have other questions, feel free to add them in the comment section below. We will grab those and use those for future live sessions. You can also submit questions by email or using the form in the description below.

I am Aaron Hall, an attorney for business owners and entrepreneurial companies. This has been an educational broadcast. As always, all these issues I encourage you to use as topics to discuss with your attorney, not as a replacement for an attorney. This is educational information to empower you to avoid problems, establish a great company and hopefully have a better life You can find more about me at aaronhall.com.