First State Small Business Lending is a division of First State Bank, which is owned by Community First Bancshares, a holding company headquartered in Union City, Tenn. Founded in 1887, First State is ranked as the fourth oldest Tennessee Chartered Bank. We are a diversified financial services company with 60+ offices throughout Tennessee. In addition to small business lending, First State also operates a mortgage company, an insurance company, a specialized Ag services division, an Employee Benefits division, Investment services, a Consumer Finance company, a Trust services division, and an Indirect Auto Financing division at various locations across the state. The banking company has assets totaling over $1.7 billion. 

First State Bank’s Small Business Lending Division makes loans throughout the Southeast primarily utilizing the SBA 7(a) and 504 programs, which are the largest of SBA’s financial assistance programs. The Bank is also committed to utilizing the SBA Express, SBA Small Loan Advantage, SBA International Trade, and the USDA Business and Industry Program “B&I”. 

SBA 7(a), Small Loan Advantage, International Trade and Express guaranteed loans are made and disbursed by private lenders and guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA), an agency of the Federal Government. USDA B&I loans are similar in nature to SBA loans as they are also guaranteed by the USDA up to 80%. The maximum SBA guaranteed loan is $5,000,000 under the 7(a) program. Under the 504 loan program, the bank will consider projects up to $12,000,000. Finally, under the USDA B&I program, the maximum loan can be in excess of $10,000,000.

SBA 7(a) loans can be submitted to the SBA under GP (General Program), CLP (Certified Lender) or PLP (Preferred Lender) processing. First State Bank is both a Preferred Lender as well as a Certified Lender in all 50 states. As a PLP lender, First State Bank has the authority to approve its loans based on its delegated authority from SBA. A lender is awarded the status of PLP or CLP based on the lenders successful SBA lending track record as well as their thorough understanding of SBA’s policies and procedures.

The strength of the First State Small Business Lending Division is its people. A seasoned group of SBA/USDA lenders, led by Dwight Bateman, Division President, will walk with you from start to finish as we process your loan request. You may email us at or call us at (865) 545-4520

Thank you for considering First State Small Business Lending and we look forward to serving you.