Industry Solutions

Introduction to FICO SBSS: Unlocking the Potential for SBA and Small Business Lending

The dilemma for lenders lies in choosing between FICO and VantageScore, as both present compelling attributes. This article aims to elucidate the dynamics, pros, and cons of each score


January 10, 2024



In the ever-evolving landscape of lending, making informed credit decisions is paramount for lenders seeking to support the growth of small businesses. The quest for reliable tools that enable swift and precise credit assessments has led to the emergence of Small Business Scoring Service (SBSS) lending—a game-changing solution developed by Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO).

This innovative scoring model not only benefits lenders but also plays a pivotal role in securing Small Business Administration (SBA) loans and a wide range of other small business financing options. In this blog post, we delve into the world of SBSS lending, shedding light on how it empowers lenders to make smarter credit decisions, whether in the context of SBA loans or other small business financing endeavors.

What is SBA?

Before delving deeper into the benefits of SBSS lending, let’s take a moment to understand the significance of the Small Business Administration (SBA).

The SBA is a federal agency in the United States dedicated to supporting and empowering small businesses. It plays a pivotal role in facilitating small business financing through partnerships with approved lenders, offering favorable terms for loans that make them highly sought after by entrepreneurs.

Understanding the importance of SBA loans is crucial, as they provide critical funding for small business growth and development. When applying for an SBA loan, one essential requirement is to pull an SBSS score, a proprietary model tailored to assess the creditworthiness of small businesses seeking SBA loans.

FICO’s SBSS score is a comprehensive tool that considers both business and individual credit data. The typical minimum SBSS score to qualify for these loans is around 140. Use of this score streamlines the approval process and enhances accessibility to these valuable lending products for both lenders and borrowers.

What is SBSS?

SBSS, or Small Business Scoring Service, is a credit scoring model developed by FICO to assess the creditworthiness of small businesses.

It is a valuable tool for lenders seeking to make informed lending decisions, whether they are evaluating SBA loan applications or other small business financing options.


Here’s how SBSS works:

Comprehensive Data: SBSS takes into account various data points, including both business and personal credit data (such as credit scores and payment histories), financial statements (including profit and loss statements and balance sheets), tax records (including tax returns and filings), and more.

These data points provide lenders with a holistic view of a small business’s financial health and creditworthiness, enabling more informed lending decisions.

Credit Scoring: It uses this data to generate a credit score that reflects the creditworthiness of the small business. This score is a crucial factor in determining whether a loan application is approved.

Risk Assessment: SBSS not only provides a credit score but also offers a risk assessment, helping lenders understand the level of risk associated with lending to a particular small business.

Streamlined Decisions: By automating the credit evaluation process, SBSS enables lenders to make quicker, more informed lending decisions.

This is particularly valuable in the context of SBA loans, where lenders review potential borrowers’ creditworthiness, taking into account both the business and individual credit data.

This dual evaluation directly ties into the viability of the business. Therefore, leveraging the comprehensive nature of SBSS, which considers both business and individual credit data, to streamline efficient decision-making is essential for lenders seeking to support small businesses effectively.

Wider Access to Credit: SBSS lending enhances access to credit for small businesses, including startups and those with limited credit histories. It allows lenders to confidently extend financing to a broader range of small businesses.

Why CRS and SBSS Lending: Leading the Way with API Integration

CRS is among the select few entities in the industry with direct API integration for SBSS scores. Thanks to our relationship with FICO and their faith in our steadfast commitment to providing lenders of all shapes and sizes with proper guidance, we are able to bring this access to our customers. Along with direct API integration, we take pride in supporting customers in discovering how to effectively utilize SBSS scores in their practices.

For lenders, this means access to real-time SBSS scores, ensuring that the most up-to-date credit information is at their fingertips when evaluating small business loan applications. This level of integration streamlines the decision-making process further, making it not only faster but also more precise.

As we continue to expand our API capabilities for SBSS lending, CRS remains at the forefront of innovation, supporting lenders in their mission to make smarter, data-driven credit decisions.

We are proud to be one of the select few companies offering this level of API integration, reaffirming our commitment to helping lenders and borrowers alike succeed in the world of SBSS lending and small business financing.

With CRS, you have a trusted partner dedicated to leading the way in SBSS lending, ensuring that your lending operations are as efficient and effective as possible.

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