(via: WashingtonPost.com) The Small Business Administration today implemented several new rules easing and eliminating some of the restrictions on its most popular loan programs. In large part, the revisions are meant to simplify the application process for small-business borrowers and give banks more flexibility in the way they structure their loan products.

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Most of the changes will affect the agency’s 7(a) and 504 loan programs. The former is the SBA’s most basic loan offering, in which a bank generally provides all of the financing, while the agency pledges to pay back a certain portion in the event the borrower defaults. Meanwhile, 504 loans, which are intended for real estate or machinery purchases, consist of financing split between a bank and a Certified Development Company.

Here’s what’s different, according to the Washington Post:

No more wealth test

Noting that even businesses with wealthy owners can find it difficult to secure a commercial loan, the agency is throwing out that “personal resources” test.

Collateral flexibility

Business owners can now put up a wider variety of forms of collateral than previously allowed.

More time to organize

Borrowers were previously prevented from including project expenses from before nine of when the SBA received their loan application. As long as an expense is tied to the project for which a company secured the 504 loan, the loan can cover it, no matter when it was incurred.

Continue reading: The Small Business Administration just made it a little easier to secure a loan, WashingtonPost.com