Through the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), which applies to rural areas such as the Alleghany Highlands, the federal government will guarantee your small business loan. But first your bank has to be willing to lend you the money. Sometimes the applicant is on the verge of being granted the loan. The bank wants to grant the loan, but feels the applicant is not quite strong enough financially standing by themselves. In this case, the bank may ask the SBA or the USDA to guarantee the loan. In this case, the bank, not you, is the customer of the SBA or the USDA. Basically your loan application must meet the lending criteria for both the bank and the agencies of the federal government. Both of these agencies generally do not guarantee the entire loan. In most cases they will guarantee up to a certain percent of the loan.