Live Oak Bank: Everything You Need To Know for Small Business

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As far as banks go, Live Oak Bank is incredibly young. In relatable human equivalency, it’s not even a teenager yet. The FDIC-insured bank was only just founded in 2008, so it’s been around a little longer than a decade. It has less than 475 full-time employees and is currently ranked as the nation’s 289th largest bank. It’s not a big bank, but it has a big goal. One of its taglines is “Empowering the American Dream of Small Business Owners.” Live Oak Bank might be small, but it is mighty.

Larger corporate banks have the ability to offer many different banking programs and services, from simple checking accounts to multimillion-dollar loans. But the way I see it, smaller banks can try to offer a lot of services and do a mediocre job, or they can offer a few services and do them exceptionally well. And from what I can tell, it looks like Live Oak Bank has done the latter. It does not offer traditional personal or business checking accounts, but it offers savings accounts, CDs and business loans.  

Business Savings Account

Live Oak Bank offers 11 times more interest than the national average business savings account. Their Business Savings Account offers customers 1.10% annual percentage yield (APY), which can make a big difference for small businesses that are trying to safely maximize their savings. 

Some of the other benefits include no monthly maintenance fees, quick and simple electronic transfer of funds, interest is compounded daily, and you can easily open an account online in just a few minutes. 

Fee TypeFee Amount
Monthly Account Fee$0
Online Banking Fee$0
First Six Transaction Fees per Month$0
Individual Transaction Fee (after 6 per month)$10
Insufficient Funds Fee$25
Stop Paying Fee$25
Returned Item Fee$10
Incoming Wire Fee$15
Outgoing Wire Fee$19

Small Business Loans

What Live Oak Bank specializes in, more than anything else, is small business loans. They offer loans that are guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA), which is actually quite rare for a bank of its size. Live Oak Bank is one of the largest banks that offer SBA guaranteed loans.

The bank doesn’t offer any small business loans, though. They actually specialize in 21 different types of loans for specific types of industry business, including:

  • Insurance
  • Hotels
  • Healthcare
  • Pharmacy
  • Senior Care
  • Service Contractors
  • Government Contracting
  • Insurance
  • Automotive Care
  • Veterinary
  • Educational Services
  • Accounting & Tax Firms
  • Franchise Restaurants
  • Funeral Home and Cemetery
  • Investment Advisory
  • Energy and Infrastructure
  • Entertainment Centers
  • Fitness Centers
  • Self-Storage
  • Broadband
  • Agriculture
  • Wine & Craft Beverages

Live Oak Bank promises to provide its small business owners an unparalleled commitment to service and technology, and from what I’ve seen I can believe it. While it claims to provide small business loans to Service Contractors, what it really means is that it has an entire lending team that has industry experience and success in helping plumbing, electrical, HVAC, and restoration contractors. Similarly, they don’t just offer loans to entertainment centers, they have experienced bankers to advise customers specifically about bowling alleys, movie theaters, and indoor trampoline parks.

Live Oak Bank Mobile Banking

The Live Oak Bank Mobile App is available in the iTunes App Store as well as Google Play. It is currently only available for iPhones, iPads, and Android devices. 

Like I said, this is a very young bank, so it’s difficult to assess customer satisfaction with such low numbers of ratings. However, the most common complaint among Android users is that the app crashes regularly and customers are unable to log on. 

One of the best features about Live Oak Bank’s app is that you can set up all of your bank accounts on it, not just your Live Oak accounts. You can also deposit more than one check at a time and process electronic transfers quickly. The User Design, or User Experience (UX), would make Marie Kondo proud. It is clean and simple, and seems to spark joy for at least some of its users.  

Live Oak Bank may be small, but it has seen some mighty success in the last ten years. If you’re looking to open a business in one of their 21 areas of specialty, you might just want to give them a call. And you will have to call, because they don’t actually have any physical branches, just their headquarters in Wilmington, North Carolina. You can also do most of your business online. Setting up a new account online should only take a few minutes. Do your research first, though. Read up on small business loans from industry experts, and then you might just want to give Live Oak a try. 

 

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