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If you apply for a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan and have a criminal history, you will most likely be required to fill out SBA Form 912, the Statement of Personal History. It is a relatively short form used to assess a borrower's character and criminal past, and to determine whether the applicant is eligible for financial assistance. Here’s more on how best to complete this form.
- What is SBA Form 912?
- What Documents Are Needed?
- Step-by-Step Instructions
- Following Form Submission
What is SBA Form 912?
SBA Form 912 gathers basic personal information and criminal history to determine whether you are of good character and eligible for financial assistance. If you answered 'yes' to questions 18 or 19 on SBA Form 1919 or questions 2 or 3 on SBA Form 1244, indicating previous criminal history, you must complete this form. Additionally, some lenders may require you to fill out this form regardless of your criminal history, if any. The information on the form helps both the lender and SBA decide whether to approve or deny funding. Your application may be examined and compared to data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for accuracy. The actual form is a single page, but it includes a second page of notices that are required by law.
When SBA Form 912 is required, each of the following individuals must complete this form:
- Partners with 20% or more equity in a partnership.
- Officers, directors, managing LLC members, trustors and individuals hired by applicant to manage day-to-day operations of the business.
- Owners with 20% or more equity in a corporation or limited liability company. (Individuals may not reduce ownership for the purpose of avoiding completion of SBA Form 912.).
- Guarantors of the loan.
This form must be completed for most types of SBA loans offered, including an SBA Express loan or a SBA 7(a) loan. Having a criminal history will slow down the loan process but won’t necessarily disqualify you from receiving assistance. The SBA will review your statement, and may do a background check and collect your fingerprints, depending on the crime.
What Documents Are Needed?
SBA Form 912 doesn't require any documents unless you have previously committed a crime. If you respond 'yes' to questions 7, 8, or 9, you may be required to provide additional documentation and fingerprints.
Past criminal acts that you must report include misdemeanors that occurred in the past six months, any misdemeanors against minors, and any felonies that you have previously committed. Even though the SBA does not require you to report misdemeanors that took place more than 6 months ago, your lender may require documentation for these instances. Be sure to read your lender's rules before submitting any information.
If you answered 'yes' to questions 7, 8, or 9, indicating previous criminal acts, you must provide a written statement on a separate sheet of paper with the details of your convictions including:
- Date of when offense(s) occurred.
- Location where offense(s) occurred.
- Specific charge(s) and level of charge(s).
- Description of the charges including court documentation.
- Fines (specify whether paid or unpaid).
- Jail time served.
- Terms of probation (including evidence and date of completion).
- Any class or workshop attended.
- All court conditions.
- Evidence that all court's conditions have been met with statement from applicant.
- Signature with the date, certifying that explanation is accurate and discloses all applicable criminal offenses.
After completing your statement, you must attach it to your SBA Form 912 and include any official court documents, statements from your parole or probation board, or other pertinent documents that can help verify your account. SBA loan applications are reviewed on a case-by-case basis depending on the crime(s) committed, frequency, and date of offense(s).
SBA Form 912 requires personal information, including your percentage of ownership, Social Security number, and, most importantly, your criminal history. The form is estimated to take about 15 minutes to complete, at least for most people. It can be typed or handwritten, but your initials and signature must be handwritten.
To begin, fill out the identity of your local SBA District/Disaster Office in the upper right-hand corner of the document; you can find its location here. Then include the loan amount for which you’re applying and your file number (if known).
The next six sections are standard and simple to complete. Section 7, 8, and 9 ask about your criminal history, and generally determine whether you are eligible for a loan. If you knowingly make any false statements on the form, it can result in denial of your financial assistance request, along with possible fines and criminal prosecution.
Section 1. Basic Personal Information
Write your full name, home address, and email. Below this section, you must include any former names you used, along with the dates in which each was used. Women who have changed their last name after marriage will need to complete this sub-section.
Section 2. Percentage of Company Ownership
Next, you must fill in your percentage of ownership in the enterprise for which the loan is being requested, along (optionally) with your social security number. Note, importantly, that if you elect not to provide your social security number, that cannot be used to affect any benefits to which you are entitled. However, the SBA strongly recommends that you provide this information, because it helps the agency to make a determination of your character, which can help to expedite your approval. You can read a more detailed explanation of this information on the second page of the form.
Section 3, 4, and 5. Date of Birth and Citizenship
Section 3 and 4 are self-explanatory; you must list your date of birth and place of birth. For section 5, you must fill in your citizenship. Indicate whether you are a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident; if the latter, include your alien registration number. If you are neither of these, you must fill in your country of citizenship. Provide your handwritten initials in this section to validate the information.
Section 6. Present and Previous Residence Address
Fill in your present residence address, along with the dates of occupation, address, home telephone number, and business telephone number. If you have previously occupied other residences within the past ten years, fill out your most recent prior address.
Section 7. Current Criminal Charges
Check yes or no to whether you are currently indicted, incarcerated, on probation, or subject to any formal criminal charges. Unfortunately, if you or any other person in your company required to complete this form answers 'yes,' you are not eligible for an SBA loan. You may proceed to provide an explanation and documentation if you believe that you may still be granted the loan, but it is probably best to wait until you have either been cleared of any wrongdoing or you have completed the court's required disciplinary actions.
Section 8. Criminal History
Check yes or no to whether you have been arrested in the past six months for any criminal act. Answering 'yes' does not disqualify you from an SBA loan because the crime and completion of the court's requirements are in the past. However, your offenses will need to be evaluated to determine whether you are of good character and eligible for a loan.
Section 9. Previous Probation, Conviction, or Plea
Next, you must indicate whether you have been previously convicted, pleaded guilty or no contest, placed on pretrial diversion, or on parole or probation. This excludes any minor traffic or vehicle violations including speeding tickets, parking tickets, etc. Similar to section 8, a 'yes' to this question does not make you ineligible for an SBA loan but you must provide an explanation with documentation, and that explanation will need to be reviewed.
Section 10. Criminal History Authorization
There is nothing to fill out in this section; it is merely a statement authorizing the SBA to request any criminal information about you from criminal justice agencies to determine your eligibility for financial assistance.
Lastly, after reviewing your information and checking that is complete and accurate, sign and date the document. If you have any questions about the form, call the SBA's Answer Desk or check the SBA's website. Be sure to send the form to the address given to you by your lender or SBA representative.
The Process That Follows Form Submission
After you have sent over SBA Form 912, your lender must review the information and determine whether the application needs to be submitted to the SBA, so the agency may complete a background check and obtain fingerprints. If your lender determines that your misdemeanor conditions were met more than six months prior to the application, then the lender keeps the form and documentation and proceeds with the loan process.
If the borrower discloses misdemeanor charges that occurred less than six months prior to the receipt of the application, or any crimes against a minor, the lender must submit a copy of the completed SBA Form 912, the written explanation of the borrower detailing charges, court documentation, and a Fingerprint card to the SBA. Lenders are not permitted to give funding to the borrower until a formal written clearance is received from the SBA.
For previous felony convictions, the lender must submit a Form 912 package signed by the borrower within 90 calendar days prior to submitting the package to the SBA. It must include a cover letter with the name and address of the originating lender, clearance from the local SBA Field Office or the Loan Guaranty Processing Center, the borrower's Fingerprint card, and the completed SBA Form 912 with any attached documents. Lenders must wait until they receive written clearance to disburse the loan.
The SBA will reconsider an SBA Form 912 rejection if the individual sends a written request to do so, either directly to the agency or through the lender; the relevant SBA department is the Office of Financial Assistance at the agency’s headquarters. Requests for reconsideration are usually processed within ten business days. Previous denials of assistance may be reversed if the applicant is able to demonstrate they have good character, and have not committed additional offenses after submitting the loan application.