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Personal Loans

Bank Loans: How to Get a Personal Loan From Your Bank

A personal loan is a type of installment loan that lets you borrow an upfront amount, which you repay over a fixed period. Personal loans are popular because of their flexibility. Unlike a mortgage, which you can only use for real estate, or an auto loan you must use on a vehicle, you can use personal loans for almost any reason. 

Most personal loans are unsecured, meaning you don’t have to use any of your assets as collateral. And unlike credit cards, you have a clear repayment timeline with payments that stay the same each month.

Bank loans used to require in-person meetings as part of the application process. Today, however, banks of all sizes provide online applications to make it as easy as possible. Find out everything you need to know about how to apply for bank loans and what banks offer the best personal loans. 

In this guide:

About bank personal loans

Getting a personal loan from a bank leaves you with many options. Instead of limiting yourself to online-only lenders, considering a personal loan from a bank gives you the flexibility to use other services or account features, such as checking and savings. 

Online lenders are known for quick approval times, but many banks have caught up and now provide the same fast service. Plus, if you have questions about the terms of your loan agreement, you may have access to a dedicated loan officer to walk you through the details.

Different banks have their own target borrower, which means eligibility requirements vary with each one. Some may be more stringent than online lenders, and others may specialize in working with lower-credit borrowers. 

You also have flexibility in the bank (or banks) you apply with. You may be eligible for perks, such as a rate discount with your current bank, but you can apply with any financial institution, whether it’s local or serves a regional or national audience. 

Banks that offer personal loans

We took the time to rate and rank the best personal loans from a wide variety of lenders. Of those, we compiled a list of the best banks for personal loans. 

Click the name of the bank from the table below to see more details about its personal loans.

LenderBest forEditorial rating (out of 5)
SoFiGood credit5.0
PNCNo best-for designation4.6
CredibleMarketplace5.0
Wells FargoNo best-for designation4.5
LightStreamExcellent credit4.5

SoFi 

Best for good credit

  • Personalized rates in 60 seconds
  • Payment modification if you lose your job
  • Large loan amounts available

SoFi is an online bank that offers a range of financial services, including personal loans. It caters to borrowers with a good credit profile and allows successful applicants to borrow up to $100,000. 

The application process for this bank personal loan is fully online. You can check your rate without hurting your credit score and get funding on the same day you submit your full application. You may also qualify for rate discounts if you have direct deposit set up with SoFi and enroll in autopay. 

  • Loan amounts: $5,000 – $100,000
  • APR: 8.99% – 25.81%
  • Repayment terms: 24 – 84 months
  • Minimum credit score: 660
  • Funding time: As fast as same day
  • Fees: None

See our full review of SoFi’s personal loans.


PNC

  • Interest-rate discount for current customers
  • Must sign loan agreement in branch
  • Co-applicants allowed

PNC is a Pennsylvania-based bank that offers a full suite of banking services to customers throughout the Midwestern and Eastern United States. It has many loan options, such as a personal line of credit, on top of its personal loan offerings.

Bank customers get a 0.25% APR discount when they enroll in automated payments from a PNC checking account. The approval process is slower than online banks, however. It takes a few days to receive a decision, and then you must sign your paperwork in a PNC branch. 

  • Loan amounts: $1,000 – $35,000
  • APR: Starting at 7.89%
  • Repayment terms: 6 – 60 months
  • Funding time: Within a few days
  • Fees: Not disclosed

See our full review of PNC’s personal loans.


Credible

Best marketplace

  • Diverse range of loan amounts
  • Compare multiple bank loan offers with one application
  • May charge origination fee

Instead of applying for a personal loan from just one bank, Credible lets you submit one application and reach multiple lenders. The benefit of this strategy is that you can compare options with a single application.

You can also access lenders specializing in a range of loan amounts and credit profiles. Just watch out for the loan details in each offer. Some lenders in the Credible network charge up to a 12% origination fee.

  • Loan amounts: $600 – $200,000
  • APR: 5.20%35.99%
  • Repayment terms: 12 – 84 months
  • Funding time: As soon as next business day
  • Fees: 0% – 12% origination fee

Wells Fargo

  • Wide range of loan amounts
  • Customers may qualify for a rate discount
  • Quick funding times

Wells Fargo is a multinational bank that offers banking, lending, and investment services to individuals and businesses large and small. You can use its personal loans for just about any purpose, and you can apply online in just a few minutes. 

The loan amount range is wide, so you can apply whether you need a small amount or major funding. Current customers may qualify for an autopay discount by enrolling in autopay from a qualifying Wells Fargo account. 

  • Loan amounts: $3,000 – $100,000
  • APR: 5.49%24.49%
  • Repayment terms: 12 – 84 months
  • Funding time: As fast as next business day
  • Fees: None

See our full review of Wells Fargo’s personal loans.


LightStream

Best for excellent credit

  • Same-day approval
  • Quick funding times
  • Rate discount available

LightStream is a national online lender owned by Truist, a regional bank across the East Coast, South, and Midwest. You’ll need excellent credit to qualify, but you can borrow a large amount over up to 12 years. Unlike many lenders, LightStream doesn’t allow applicants to prequalify without a hard credit check, so we recommend this lender for borrowers who know they have excellent credit and are confident they’ll be approved for a loan.

You can earn a 0.50% rate discount by enrolling in autopay, and you can set up automated payments from any account you choose to get the discount. 

  • Loan amounts: $5,000 – $100,000
  • APR: 7.99%25.49%
  • Repayment terms: 24 – 144 months
  • Funding time: As soon as same day
  • Fees: None

See our full review of LightStream’s personal loans.


Pros and cons of bank loans

Before making financial decisions, it’s wise to consider the upsides and potential drawbacks. Here’s what you should know about bank loans.

Pros

  • Banks may offer online or in-person applications depending on their procedures

  • It’s easy to find a lender—just visit your local branch, or search for regional and national banks online.

  • Possible relationship perks, such as rate discounts, if you also bank with your lender.

  • You can use your loan for almost any purpose.

Cons

  • Fees can vary by bank.

  • Unsecured personal loans tend to have higher rates than secured loans.

  • Some banks may take longer to approve and fund loans than specialized online lenders.

How to apply for a bank loan

Follow these steps when you’re ready to apply for a personal loan from a bank. 

  1. Check for preapprovals: Many banks let you enter a few basic details to get a sense of your loan rate. Be sure the lender only performs a soft credit pull to avoid damaging your credit score.
  2. Submit an application: Determine how to apply for a loan, whether it’s online or in person. You may need to submit documentation such as income details and proof of employment. 
  3. Get approval: Next you’ll find out whether you’re approved for a loan. With banks, this could take moments, hours, or even a few business days. 
  4. Review and sign the loan agreement: Once your application is approved, you’ll receive a loan agreement that outlines all the details, including your APR, any origination fees, the repayment timeline, and your monthly payment amount. 
  5. Get funding: When you sign the agreement, the bank will initiate the loan funding. Timing varies by lender.

How to qualify and get the best rates

Working with a local bank, you might expect a manual loan underwriting process. The lender will look at your loan application, financial profile, and credit report to make its lending decision.

Now, however, many banks have incorporated streamlined algorithms into their approval processes. You may be able to get approved faster than a traditional process. 

If you’re considering applying for a personal loan, here are ways to maximize your chances.

  • Apply with a cosigner: Cosigners take on responsibility for a loan if you fail to pay your bill. Getting a personal loan with a cosigner with good credit can mean having a better chance of approval at a lower rate.
  • Improve your credit score: Your credit score is one of the top factors influencing your chances of getting a loan. You can improve your score by making your monthly payments on time and carrying as low a balance as possible.
  • Decrease your debt-to-income ratio (DTI): Your DTI measures your total debt to your total annual income. The lower the ratio, the better, so pay down your debts and boost your income to help you qualify for a personal loan.

Alternatives to bank personal loans

Brick-and-mortar and online banks can be terrific sources of personal loans. Community banks can be easy to work with if you like meeting with your lender in person. It’s also helpful to work with a bank where you’ve established a relationship.

However, banks don’t always offer the best interest rates and won’t always lend to people with nontraditional or limited credit profiles. So if you’re looking for alternative financial institutions, here are several options.

Click each alternative in the table below for more details.

Rates*EligibilityPros & consBest for
Bank loans5.9% – 35.99% APR*Varies by bank✅ Discounts possible for existing account

❌ Approval and funding times vary 
Borrowers looking for a rate discount 
Online personal loans6.4% – 35.99% APR*Varies✅ Fast approvals and funding times

❌ May charge high origination fees
Borrowers who need fast funding
Credit unions7.99% APR and up*Must be a credit union member✅ Personal relationship may help approval

❌ Must become a member to apply
Borrowers who want personalized service through the loan process
Home equity loans6.64% APR and up*Depends on amount of equity in home✅ Rates may be lower than unsecured loan

❌ Home is used as collateral
Borrowers who want low-interest financing

*As of December 2023

Online lenders

Online lenders are often more flexible than traditional banks, offering loans to borrowers with less-than-perfect credit or using nontraditional methods of gauging your creditworthiness.

Online loans also tend to come from specialized lenders rather than banks that offer loans as one of their many services. They may be able to move through the loan process faster and offer larger loans than a brick-and-mortar bank.

Credit unions

Credit unions are like banks that are only open to members. Some have restrictive membership requirements, but many others allow almost anyone to join.

The best part of working with a credit union is that it’s owned by its members. Credit unions have a vested reason to act in your interest instead of outside shareholders. That leads many credit unions to offer better terms than traditional banks.

We have a list of credit unions that offer personal loans if you want to compare your options.

Home equity loans

If you own your home, you might forgo a personal loan and get a home equity loan instead—especially if you’re using the loan for home improvements.

Home equity loans use your home as collateral to secure the loan, making them a much lower risk for lenders. That makes them easier to qualify for and can mean a much lower interest rate.

However, you have to use your home as collateral for the loan. In the worst case, your lender could foreclose on your home if you can’t make your home equity loan payments.

Home equity loans also tend to require more paperwork and an appraisal, making them less than ideal for people who need to borrow money quickly.

FAQ

Are there bank loans for bad credit?

Yes, it is possible to get bank loans for bad credit. However, you may need to opt for a secured loan, using an asset as collateral the bank can take if you default on the loan. 

Can you have more than one loan from the same bank?

It is possible to have more than one loan from the same bank, particularly if they’re different types of loans. 

For instance, you may have a mortgage or auto loan with a bank and then apply for a personal loan. Banks may have restrictions on whether you can take out more than one personal loan at once.

Are there risks to doing all your banking and lending at the same place?

Check whether your bank is FDIC-insured, which will protect you up to certain limits (usually $250,000 per depositor) in case the bank fails. It may be smart to have additional funds at another bank in case there is an issue with your account at the original bank.

Do I have to be in person to get a personal loan from a bank?

No, many banks today have incorporated online applications for personal loans.