Illinois is home to Chicago, one of the most populous cities in the U.S. But whether you live in Chicago, Joliet, Carbondale, or one of the many small towns in Illinois, there’s a bank for you.
The Prairie State is home to a wide range of bank branches, from large, national banks to small banks and credit unions. When you’re ready to shop banks in Illinois, there are several factors to consider.
11 Best Banks in Illinois
Whether you’re new to Illinois or looking to switch banks, the options can be overwhelming. This guide narrows down the 12 best banks in Illinois to help you find a financial partner that fits your needs.
For Illinois residents considering a national bank, U.S. Bank is a top contender, with a robust presence in 26 states.
Founded in 1938, Great Lakes Credit Union (GLCU) is a not-for-profit, member-owned institution that has been serving the Chicagoland area and beyond for over 80 years.
For those interested in a national bank, Chase Bank could be a strong choice. With branches in Illinois and 47 other states, excluding Alaska and Hawaii, accessibility is rarely an issue.
With a significant presence in the Southern and Midwestern United States, Regions Bank operates over 1,450 branches and nearly 2,000 ATMs across 16 states. Ranking an impressive 25th among banks nationwide, Regions Bank sets itself apart with its unparalleled customer service, which has received notable recognition.
How to Choose the Best Bank in Illinois
Choosing the best bank in Illinois involves more than just picking the nearest branch or going with a popular name. This crucial decision can have a lasting impact on your financial well-being. Whether it’s the interest rates you’ll earn on a savings account or the customer service you’ll receive, many factors come into play. Here’s a quick guide to help you make a well-informed choice that best suits you:
- Assess your needs: Before you start, jot down what you specifically need from a bank. Are you looking for just a simple checking and savings account setup, or are you also interested in additional services like personal loans, credit cards, or investment advice? Your needs will guide you toward the type of bank that’s right for you, whether it’s a local, regional, national, or online bank.
- Compare rates and fees: Investigate the interest rates on savings accounts, certificates of deposit (CDs), and loans. While a high interest rate on savings accounts is beneficial, also keep an eye out for fees that might negate those gains, such as monthly maintenance or overdraft fees.
- Location and accessibility: Map out the physical branches and ATMs of the banks you’re considering, especially their proximity to your home or workplace. Having a branch nearby is useful for transactions that require a personal touch, such as securing a mortgage or resolving account issues.
- Customer service: Read customer reviews online, ask people in your network for recommendations, and perhaps make a few calls to the customer service departments of the banks you’re interested in. Gauge their efficiency, friendliness, and effectiveness in addressing potential concerns you might have.
- Online banking: Evaluate the technological capabilities of the banks on your shortlist. Do they offer online and mobile banking features that match your lifestyle, such as mobile check deposits, online bill pay, and real-time transaction alerts? A user-friendly and feature-rich platform can make managing your money much easier.
- Safety and security: Make sure you choose a bank insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), which ensures your deposits are protected up to $250,000. Also, check the bank’s security measures like two-factor authentication, secure messaging, and data encryption protocols to protect your personal information.
- Account types and offerings: If you’re interested in more than just basic banking, look for a bank that offers a wide range of banking services. These services include retirement accounts, various types of loans, or investment services. This allows you to manage multiple accounts under one roof.
- Reviews and recommendations: Incorporate the opinions of others into your decision-making process. Listen to friends and family, read reviews, and consider professional evaluations. These can offer you a more comprehensive picture of what each bank can provide.
By carefully considering these various elements, you can find the best banks in Illinois and align yourself with one that meets your immediate expectations and long-term financial goals.
Types of Banks to Consider in Illinois
Illinois offers a wide range of banking options to fit your personal financial situation. To help you make the best choice, let’s explore the pros and cons of each type of banking institution.
- Pros: A local bank is typically deeply connected to the community and offers highly personalized service. They often have strong relationships with local businesses, which can be advantageous if you’re an entrepreneur.
- Cons: Local banks usually have limited geographical reach, with fewer branches and ATMs. Their technology platforms can also be less advanced than those of larger banks.
- Pros: Regional banks strike a balance between local and national banks. They offer a wider network of branches and ATMs compared to local banks and maintain a good level of customer service.
- Cons: The range of financial products and services may be less comprehensive than what’s offered by national banks. Some may also charge fees for specific services.
- Pros: National banks provide a broad array of banking products and services, from a basic bank account to specialized investment options. Their extensive network and cutting-edge technology make banking highly convenient.
- Cons: Customer service can be less personalized due to the sheer size of the institution. These brick and mortar banks might also impose higher fees for certain services.
- Pros: Online banks often offer attractive interest rates and low or no fees, thanks to lower overhead costs. Their platforms are designed for easy online access and generally offer robust features.
- Cons: The lack of physical branches can be a drawback for those who prefer in-person interactions or have complex banking needs that require face-to-face consultation.
- Pros: Credit unions are member-owned, meaning they usually offer lower fees and higher interest rates on deposits. They often excel in customer service and community involvement.
- Cons: You’ll often need to satisfy specific membership requirements to join a credit union. Additionally, their services and geographical reach can be more limited than other types of banks.
Illinois has plenty of options, whether you go with an Illinois bank or one headquartered elsewhere. The best banks in Illinois combine low fees with features that make banking convenient for you. Don’t rule out online banks, since you can easily find one with all the features you need, along with fee-free access to local ATMs.