Capital Access Financial System (CAFS)
CAFS is the single login point for all SBA financial services. Prior Approval sureties submit bond guarantee applications and claims for reimbursement to the SBA and authorize agents to submit applications electronically through the E-app system, which is accessed through CAFS. Preferred sureties input issued bonds electronically into CAFS.
How to get a CAFS account
Agents must be authorized by a prior Approval surety company to obligate the surety and issue bonds on its behalf. Follow these steps to get access to CAFS.
- Contact each Prior Approval surety your agency wishes to represent through the program. Agents may authorize with multiple Prior Approval sureties.
- Obtain the required SBA profile and certification forms from each surety.
- Complete & return both forms to the surety, one set for each individual requesting access. Agencies applying for first-time access must designate at least one individual as the Authorizing Official for the agency.
- After your profile information has been submitted and approved, you’ll receive an email with a user ID & temporary password. You must then log in to CAFS and use the Choose Function screen to change your password & answer your security questions. You must update your password every 60 days.
- SBA security and OSG staff will guide you through the remainder of the process and advise when your access request is complete.
Application process for Prior Approval program
After a Prior Approval surety completes the underwriting process and decides to issue a bond with the SBA’s guarantee, it must submit an application on behalf of the small business to the SBA. Sureties or their authorized agents must submit applications for surety bond guarantee assistance electronically through E-app.
Bond application required forms
The small business must submit the following SBA forms to the authorized surety agent:
The surety or agent must submit the following forms and documents to the SBA via E-app in addition to the above:
- SBA Form 990 or Form 990A
- Business financial statements
When submitting an application through E-app, upload forms and documents related to the small business into the “Business Docs” module. Upload forms and documents pertaining to the surety bond guarantee number application into the “Bond Docs” module.
Reviewing an application
E-app will distribute the application to the appropriate area office for processing. After reviewing the application, the area office will either contact the surety agent with any questions or requests for additional information, or make its decision. E-app will then notify the surety agent of the area office’s decision via email.
Quick bond application for Prior Approval sureties
The Quick Bond Guarantee Application and Agreement is for contracts valued at $500,000 or less, with some exclusions. It combines the contractor application and the SBA’s agreement with the Prior Approval surety to guarantee the bond into one form, SBA Form 990A.
A Prior Approval surety or authorized agent applying for a Quick Bond Guarantee must submit the following forms and documents to the SBA:
- SBA Form 990A
- Bond and contract documents (for final bond guarantee applications only)
Application process for Preferred sureties
In the Preferred program, a surety doesn’t need the SBA’s approval to issue a bond. However, the surety must receive the following SBA forms from the contractor:
- SBA Form 994
- SBA Form 991 (if work has already started)
The surety also must notify the SBA electronically through CAFS of all bonds it issues within 30 days of issuance.
Bond guarantee fee
Surety companies pay the SBA a fee in return for a surety bond guarantee. The SBA charges the surety company 20 percent of the fee charged by the surety company to the small business.
Claims for reimbursement of losses
If a contractor defaults, the SBA will reimburse a surety's losses. But, a surety must first submit the following forms and documents to the SBA:
- SBA Form 994H
- Copy of the bond
- The bonded contract
- General Indemnity Agreement
- Initial claims notification report and correspondence
- Expense invoices
Requirements for the submission and retention of forms and documents are described in Title 13 Part 115.35 of the Code of Federal Regulations.