A community bank is a local business that focuses on the neighborhood in which it resides. These banks often cater to one city or town and have a reputation for providing friendly and personalized customer service. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation defines community banks based on the bank’s assets and the area it serves.
But more than anything else, many community banks prioritize individual relationships and those with community businesses. You might benefit from better loan rates or more lenient credit requirements than at larger banks. Plus, your money stays local. It’s another way to contribute to your area’s economic growth. To find a community bank in your area.
In this guide:
- Pros and cons of borrowing from a community bank
- Best community bank personal loans
- How to get a personal loan from a community bank
Pros and cons of borrowing from a community bank
Before choosing a bank to borrow from, consider the pros and cons.
Better interest rates:
You might be able to secure a better loan interest rate with a community bank. It depends on several factors, but rates might be more competitive than those with a larger lender.
Personalized customer service:
Community banks are known for providing top-notch customer service. Whether you’re looking for a friendly bank teller or a helpful loan expert, you might be more likely to find excellent customer service at a local community bank.
It’s not always the case, but community banks might have more flexibility with lending requirements. It doesn’t hurt to ask if you’re looking for specific terms or rates.
Less digital access:
Some community banks offer cutting-edge digital access through apps and other online tools, but that’s not always true. So it might be wise to check before opening an account if that’s your priority.
Community banks are local. Some have multiple locations across a state or even more than one state, but these banks often have fewer locations than larger banks.
Limited financial products:
It varies from bank to bank, but some community banks only offer banking products and not loans. Or perhaps you can get a credit card but not an investment account. It’s wise to check availability before you open an account if you want several financial products.
Best community bank personal loans
The best community bank for personal loans depends on your location. You can search the Independent Community Bankers of America database to find options in your area. If you’re local, you might also consider the unique loan offerings from these banks.
Lumbee Guaranty Bank
- 14 branches
- Online and mobile access
- One-stop shop for banking products
With locations across Robeson, Hoke, and Cumberland counties in North Carolina, Lumbee Guaranty Bank was founded in 1971. Today, the bank has 14 locations in North Carolina. Some community banks don’t offer digital access, but Lumbee Guaranty provides complete access with an online account and mobile app.
You must live in North Carolina to apply if you’re looking for an unsecured personal loan. The lending requirements vary depending on the loan amount, but repayment terms are 12 to 24 months. A small origination fee applies, but deposit times are fast. To apply, visit a local branch.
- Credit score category: Good, but it depends on the loan amount
- Soft credit pull to check rates? Yes
- Deposit time: 2 – 3 business days
- Origination fee: Yes
- Late fee: Yes
- Repayment terms: 12 – 24 months
Based in Washington and Oregon
- 18 locations
- Must apply in person
- Same-day funding
Riverview Bank might be a solid option if you live in Washington or Oregon. It’s a community bank, but Riverview offers multiple locations throughout both states, which makes it easy to find a branch or access an ATM.
Unsecured personal loans offer competitive rates, and Riverview doesn’t charge origination fees, which can help save money. You need to borrow at least $500 for a 36-month repayment term and at least $10,000 for a 60-month repayment term. Applications are only available in person, but you can visit any branch to apply.
- Credit score category: Good to excellent
- Soft credit pull to check rates? No
- Deposit time: Same business day
- Origination fee: No
- Late fee: Yes
- Repayment terms: 36 – 60 months
Based in California, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington
- 151 locations
- Online or in-person loan applications
- Full-service financial institution
Banner Bank is a unique community bank because it might not seem like one at first glance due to the number of locations. But due to its lending practices and asset size, the Independent Community Bankers of America classifies it as a community bank. Plus, it’s known for personalized customer service and accessible banking options.
If you’re looking for an unsecured personal loan, you often need a credit score of at least 650. The deposit timeline is quick once you’re approved, and customers receive funds within one or two business days. An origination fee applies when you apply for the loan, and repayment terms range from one to five years.
- Credit score category: Good to excellent (650+)
- Soft credit pull to check rates? No
- Deposit time: 1 – 2 business days
- Origination fee: Yes
- Late fee: No
- Repayment terms:12 – 60 months
How to get a personal loan from a community bank
If you’re ready to get a personal loan, the first step is to check your credit score. Once you know your score, you’ll better understand which lenders are a good fit. After that, consider the repayment terms, fees, and how fast you need the funds. Once you start the search, these factors will help narrow your list of potential lenders.
Once you’re ready to begin the search for a personal loan from a local bank, here’s what you need to do.
- Search for a local community bank: The first step is to search for a community bank in your area. The easiest way to search is through the Independent Community Bankers of America. If you’re already a community bank member or have one in mind, you can skip this step.
- Contact the bank about loan terms: Once you find a suitable bank, contact your local branch. You might ask about repayment terms, fees, and interest rates. With community banks, you may need to visit the branch in person.
- Apply for the loan: After selecting the best fit, it’s time to apply. You’ll often need to visit the bank to complete the application. Still, some allow you to start the process online.
- Accept the loan offer: Once you apply, you’ll get your loan offer. This often occurs in person on the same day you apply. Depending on your bank, you might be able to get funds the same day too.
Community banks can be a valuable resource for residents, but local lending might seem counterintuitive in a digital world. Here’s what you need to know.
Can you get a loan from a community bank if you don’t live in that community?
Most community banks focus on lending to residents. However, they might have multiple locations within the same city or geographic area.
Some community banks will lend to residents who live in the same state as the bank but are far from a physical location. You may need to drive to the closest site to apply for a loan or get funds. Community banks often won’t lend to out-of-state applicants.
Where can you find personal loans from community banks near you?
The best way to find a local community bank is to search the database from the Independent Community Bankers of America. You can filter search results by location.
Are loans from community banks better than other loans?
Community banks can offer certain loan perks, such as flexible lending requirements, lower minimum credit scores, and fewer fees. But that’s not always the case. It’s wise to compare lenders and find the best fit before you commit to a loan. You might consider community banks, credit unions, and online lenders.