by the Division of Banks


The Small Business Loan Review Boards provide an independent review process for small business loan applicants who believe that they have been unreasonably denied for a small business loan. These FAQs will help familiarize you with the Small Business Loan Review Boards and the appeal process.


What types of loans are eligible for review by the Small Business Loan Review Board?

The Boards can review denied small business loan applications submitted by Massachusetts businesses with gross revenues of $1 million or less in their preceding fiscal year. The types of loans eligible for review include lines of credit, term loans, overdraft protection on corporate accounts, and corporate credit card requests.

The Boards do not review requests for the acquisition or refinancing of commercial real estate or investment properties.

What happens once I file an appeal?

The Commissioner of Banks appoints an employee of the Division of Banks to serve as the Administrative Secretary for the Small Business Loan Review Boards. When an appeal is received, the Administrative Secretary will contact the lender requesting that copies of the entire loan package be forwarded to the Division of Banks. Once the loan package is received, it is presented to the Board at its next scheduled meeting for review. You will be notified by mail of the Board's decision.

Who serves on the Small Business Loan Review Boards?

Chapter 167, Section 14C of the Massachusetts General Laws provides that each Board shall consist of five members appointed by the Commissioner of Banks, three of whom shall be small business representatives and two of whom shall be representatives of banks or bank holding companies. At least three of the members of each Board shall either live or work within the respective region.

How many Review Boards are there?

The law provides that there shall be four regional Small Business Loan Review Boards operating in the Commonwealth. There is the Boston Metropolitan Area Board which includes the counties of Suffolk, Essex, Middlesex, and Norfolk; the Southeastern Massachusetts Board which includes the counties of Bristol, Plymouth, Barnstable, Dukes, and Nantucket; the Central Massachusetts Board which includes Worcester County; and the Western Massachusetts Board which includes the counties of Franklin, Hampden, Hampshire, and Berkshire.

What happens during the Review Board Meetings?

The members of the Board will review each small business loan denial to determine if an application was denied on an unreasonable basis. Based on the information contained in the loan file, the Board will vote to either agree with the lender's decision to deny the loan, or will vote to recommend that the lender reconsider the loan denial.

Will I have an opportunity to go before the Board when my loan is reviewed?

Neither the applicant nor the lender are present during the Board meeting.  However, you can submit written materials describing any circumstances or facts related to your application. These written materials will be included with the loan package presented to Board members. The Small Business Loan Review Board makes its decision based on the information contained in the lender's loan application file and any other relevant information presented to the Board by you or the lender.

How long does the appeals process take?

The Review Boards meet on an as needed basis depending on the number of appeals awaiting review and the availability of Board members.

If the Board votes that a loan should be reconsidered, does that mean the lender is obligated to grant my loan request?

No. While the Board can make a recommendation that a lender reconsider a small business loan denial, it does not have the authority to grant, approve, or guarantee any loan for any lender. However, lenders are encouraged to abide by the Board's decision.

What happens if the Board votes to agree with the lender's decision to deny my small business loan application?

This ends the matter at the Review Board level and the appeal is considered closed. However, the Review Board will provide you with information on alternative sources of financing, including information regarding relevant small business financing programs offered by the Commonwealth.

What other resources are available for financial or technical assistance for small businesses?

The Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development and its offices and divisions offer a variety of resources to assist both existing and emerging businesses. The Massachusetts Office of Business Development, through its agent the BDC Capital Corporation, administers the Capital Access Program (CAP) and can provide you with information on available financing and technical assistance programs to assist small businesses. Agencies such as SCORE, Jewish Vocational Services, and the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center Network can provide technical assistance in preparing a financing request.

Various loan guaranty programs are also available through the US Small Business Administration (SBA).

City and town governments occasionally offer technical and financial assistance to small businesses. Check with the economic development department of your local city or town hall to learn about available programs. Your local Chamber of Commerce may also be a good source of information on available programs.

If you have additional questions regarding the Small Business Loan Review Boards or the appeal process, please contact the Division of Banks at (617)956-1500. Outside the Metropolitan Boston area call 1-800-495-BANK. You may also write to the Board at the following address:

Administrative Secretary
Small Business Loan Review Boards
1000 Washington Street, 10th Floor
Boston, MA 02118-6400