Arizona Federal Credit Union announced today it has been designated an SBA Preferred Lending Partner (PLP) by the U.S. Small Business Administration, and is the only Arizona-based credit union with SBA PLP status.

As an SBA preferred lender, Arizona Federal has the authority to approve its SBA-guaranteed loans, which simplifies and expedites the SBA-loan approval process for borrowers. Nonpreferred lenders must submit loan applications to the SBA for approval, which can extend the loan decisioning process.

“Arizona Federal is honored to be named an SBA preferred lender and be able to provide our borrowers with a faster loan processing experience,” said Mike Thorell, Arizona Federal president of commercial and residential lending. “As the only Arizona-based credit union with preferred lender status, we’re able to approve loans for small businesses without sending the loan to the SBA for approval and get needed funds to small business borrowers more quickly.”

To earn the PLP designation, lenders must have a successful track record of processing SBA loans and display a thorough understanding of SBA lending policies and procedures.

In 2019 with Arizona Federal’s historic acquisition of Pinnacle Bank, the credit union expanded its small business services, SBA financing options and commercial lending services. As an SBA preferred lender, Arizona Federal offers both 7(a) loans for new or expanding businesses and 504 loans.

For more information about Arizona Federal Credit Union’s small business loan programs, please visit