14 Best Banks in Kentucky for 2024

Thanks to thriving metropolises like Louisville and Lexington, Kentucky continues to grow, but the city is made up of charming small towns, too. The best banks in Kentucky offer a variety of amenities, while also putting the community first.

From college towns like Bowling Green to Bourbon Trail towns like Bardstown, you’ll find plenty of banks, making it easy to find the bank that’s right for you.

Kentucky sign

14 Best Banks in Kentucky

Kentucky has a wide range of banks, from large national banks to small community banks. This list of the best banks in Kentucky takes a look at the various types to help you find the best option for your banking needs.

1. U.S. Bank

With a substantial presence in Kentucky, U.S. Bank brings banking convenience right to your doorstep through its numerous branches spread across the state.

U.S. Bank is currently welcoming new applicants with a special online offering:

  • Earn up to $700 when you open a new U.S. Bank Smartly® Checking account and a Standard Savings account, and complete qualifying activities.
  • Subject to certain terms and limitations. Offer valid through June 27, 2024. Member FDIC.
  • Offer may not be available if you live outside of the U.S. Bank footprint or are not an existing client of U.S. Bank or State Farm.

The account includes a free debit card that can be locked or unlocked if ever misplaced or stolen. There are no ATM transaction fees at U.S. Bank ATMs and no surcharge fees at over 40,000 MoneyPass® Network ATMs.

The checking account requires a $25 opening deposit and a $6.95 monthly fee. This fee can be waived for those 24 and under, 65 and over, or military members (must self-disclose).

Additionally, the fee can be waived with monthly deposits of $1,000+, an average balance of $1,500+, or holding an eligible U.S. Bank credit card. Qualifying for any Smart Rewards® tier (Primary, Plus, Premium, or Pinnacle) also waives the fee.

2. SoFi

SoFi operates as an online bank, providing an easy and flexible solution for people who prefer to manage their money digitally. Its hybrid Checking & Savings account merges the best of both worlds by offering the accessibility of a checking account with the high return rates of a savings account.

SoFi customers enjoy several benefits, including no minimum balance requirements, no monthly fees, and no overdraft fees, making SoFi an affordable option for many users. Plus, there is an opportunity to earn a bonus up to $300 through eligible direct deposits.

The high-yield savings account offers a generous 4.60% APY, while the checking account has a 0.50% APY. These rates that are significantly higher than those of many conventional banks. Moreover, SoFi guarantees safety for your deposits, insuring them up to $2 million through the FDIC.

Customers have the advantage of a vast network of over 55,000 Allpoint® ATMs globally, facilitating trouble-free cash withdrawals whenever necessary. Additionally, setting up a direct deposit means you could receive your paycheck up to two days early.

3. Fifth Third Bank

Headquartered in nearby Cincinnati, Fifth Third Bank has branches in Kentucky, Ohio, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia.

The best deal comes with the Fifth Third Bank Momentum Checking account, which is a free checking account with no minimum balance requirements or opening deposit.

With this account, you get access to more than 40,000 Fifth Third Bank and partner ATMs nationwide.

Besides checking, Fifth Third Bank also offers savings accounts, CDs, credit cards, mortgages, auto loans, and investment services.

4. Upgrade

Upgrade has emerged as a top online banking choice in Kentucky, catering to those looking for innovative financial solutions.

As a fintech entity, Upgrade operates in partnership with Cross River Bank, which ensures that all accounts benefit from FDIC insurance coverage up to $250,000.

The Upgrade Rewards Checking Plus account stands out by removing typical banking hurdles such as minimum deposit requirements, and fees for monthly maintenance, ATMs, and transfers.

Customers enjoy features like early direct deposit, which allows them to access their paychecks up to two days sooner. The account also rewards daily spending with up to 2% cash back on debit card purchases.

For those who occasionally use out-of-network ATMs, Upgrade offers a solution by reimbursing up to five ATM fees each month, contingent upon meeting specific conditions.

5. Chase

As a prominent national bank, Chase offers a smooth banking experience that blends the accessibility of physical branches with a high-quality mobile banking platform, simplifying daily banking activities.

Currently, Chase is attracting new customers with a notable promotion: a $200 bonus for those who open a new Total Checking account. To qualify for this bonus, individuals need to maintain a balance of $1,500 or receive total direct deposits of at least $500 each month.

The Total Checking account comes with a monthly fee of $12. However, this can be waived by maintaining the aforementioned balance or meeting the direct deposit requirement. New customers will appreciate that there is no minimum amount required to open the account.

In terms of interest rates, Chase offers a 4.00% APY on CDs, presenting an attractive option for those looking to grow their savings over time.

6. Whitaker Bank

Whitaker Bank stands as a familiar and trusted name in Kentucky’s banking scene. With its wide reach of 34 branches scattered throughout the state, residents have easy access to their services.

Among their various bank account options, the Whitaker FREE Checking is especially popular. This account is straightforward, with no hidden fees and no stress about maintaining a certain balance. However, there is a required minimum initial deposit of $100.

Plus, all five checking accounts come with online banking, mobile banking, unlimited check writing, free bill pay, free eStatements, and unlimited debit card transactions. Beyond checking, Whitaker Bank offers a range of solutions tailored to the needs of the local community.

7. First State Bank

Nestled in the heart of Kentucky, First State Bank stands out as a community bank. With its roots spread across Breckinridge County, it offers the intimacy of a local bank while delivering the comprehensive offerings of a larger institution.

As one of the top-rated banks in Kentucky, First State Bank is committed to understanding the unique needs of the customers it serves. Their diverse range of savings and checking accounts are tailored to suit various objectives.

Opening a checking account is straightforward with a modest $25 minimum initial deposit, no minimum balance requirements, and no monthly maintenance fees.

8. Republic Bank

Based in Louisville, Republic Bank & Trust Company caters to the local population with a selection of checking account options, including their entry-level Simple Access account.

Clients using this account benefit from the widespread accessibility to their funds through a massive network of 90,000 ATM locations across the nation.

A notable advantage of the Simple Access account is the ability to avoid the $4.95 monthly fee through various simple means. These include conducting at least one monthly direct deposit, using the debit card for a transaction, or completing an online bill pay transaction within a month.

Besides the friendly terms for checking accounts, Republic Bank stands out for its favorable interest rates on savings accounts and CDs, exceeding the average rates offered by many other banks.

9. American Bank & Trust

Located near the vibrant Western Kentucky University in southern Kentucky, American Bank & Trust is a popular option for the residents of Bowling Green, noted for its reliability and community-focused approach.

This Kentucky bank features a user-friendly free checking account that is suitable for a wide demographic, including students and families, and ensures peace of mind with no minimum balance requirement.

Getting started with a checking account requires a $50 initial deposit, and clients enjoy the benefit of no minimum balance requirements.

Aside from checking accounts, they offer various products including savings plans and loan options, all crafted to cater to the customers’ needs. If you’re looking for a local Kentucky bank that understands the priorities of the Bowling Green community, American Bank & Trust stands out.

10. South Central Bank

With 25 branches across Kentucky, South Central Bank is one of the best banks in Kentucky for friendly service and a variety of banking services. South Central offers multiple checking accounts, including several with no monthly maintenance fee.

To avoid the $6 monthly fee with certain accounts, you’ll need to opt for e-statements and record at least 15 debit card transactions per month.

Besides checking accounts, South Central Bank provides a host of solutions such as savings accounts, personal loans, and wealth management services encompassing investment guidance and retirement planning.

Opening a checking account requires a $100 minimum opening deposit, and there’s no minimum balance requirement, offering ease of banking to all its account holders.

11. Independence Bank

Headquartered in Owensboro, Independence Bank makes the list of best banks in Kentucky due to its competitive rates on CDs and various free checking accounts. With 20 branch locations across the state, the bank is easily accessible.

The bank caters to active-duty military personnel and veterans with specially designed checking accounts laden with benefits.

A unique feature of this Kentucky bank is the availability of “ITMs,” or interactive teller machines, allowing for real-time interaction with live tellers.

Moreover, the bank extends its services to meet various needs, including business checking accounts, equipment loans, lines of credit, and agricultural loans.

To open a free checking account, a minimum deposit of $50 is required, and you can enjoy banking without worrying about monthly fees.

12. Community Trust Bank

Based in Pikeville, Community Trust Bank is a community bank with a strong presence in 69 locations throughout Kentucky, as well as branches in Tennessee and West Virginia.

Branch locations in Kentucky can be found in cities like Ashland, Campbellsville, Danville, Flemingsburg, Frankfort, Georgetown, Hazard, Lexington, Richmond, Winchester, and more.

The bank offers multiple checking accounts, including a free checking account. You can open a checking account with a $100 minimum deposit, and enjoy the advantage of having no monthly fees.

In addition to checking, Community Trust Bank provides a broad array of products such as savings accounts, money market accounts, CDs, IRAs, persona loans, and mortgages.

13. Hometown Bank

In Corbin, Kentucky and its surrounding areas, Hometown Bank stands out for its reliable local banking services. With convenient branches in Corbin, London, Barbourville, and Williamsburg, it serves a wide section of the region, making banking easy and accessible.

But what truly sets Hometown Bank apart is the variety and flexibility of its services. They offer a diverse range of checking and savings accounts tailored to fit different lifestyles.

Particularly popular is the Simply Free checking account, which comes with a free debit card, online banking, and a free “Thank You” gift. It requires just a $50 initial deposit, but has no monthly fees and no minimum balance requirements.

14. PNC Bank

With its headquarters in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, PNC Bank earns a spot among the best banks in Kentucky due to its expansive network and diverse financial services. Operating in 29 states, it boasts 68 branches in Kentucky alone, making it highly accessible for residents.

Unique to PNC Bank is the Virtual Wallet, a seamless integration of checking, savings, CDs, and money market accounts that makes banking easier.

The bank also provides an enticing welcome bonus ranging from $50 to $400, depending on the account combination selected.

Besides personal banking, PNC offers business accounts, credit cards, mortgages, auto, personal and student loans, as well as various investment options.

How to Choose the Best Bank in Kentucky

Choosing the best bank in Kentucky can be a daunting task given the myriad of options available. Whether you prioritize customer service, technology, or account offerings, here are some factors to help you choose the best bank for your needs:

  • Type of bank: Understand the difference between big national banks, regional banks, community banks, online banks, and credit unions. Each has its own advantages. National banks may offer more extensive services and technology, while local banks and credit unions often excel in personalized customer service.
  • Account offerings: Examine the range of accounts offered. Are there savings, checking, or investment options that align with your financial goals? Look out for any free or low-fee checking accounts.
  • Fees: Pay attention to any monthly charges or minimum balance requirements. It’s essential to know about potential fees to keep your bank account cost-effective.
  • Online banking features: In the modern age, a solid online banking platform and mobile app are crucial. Make sure the bank’s digital offerings meet your expectations. Look for features like online and mobile banking, free bill pay, and mobile check deposit.
  • Customer service: Consider the bank’s track record for customer service. A responsive and friendly team can be invaluable, especially when you encounter issues or have queries.
  • Loan & credit options: If you anticipate borrowing in the future, whether for a home, car, or business, explore the bank’s loan offerings, rates, and terms.
  • Location & accessibility: For those who prefer in-person banking, proximity to a local branch is key. But even if you’re a digital native, having a nearby branch can be helpful for more complex banking tasks.
  • Community engagement: Some people prioritize banks that are active in local community initiatives and charitable activities. Research the bank’s involvement in Kentucky to see if their values align with yours.
  • Recommendations & reviews: Word of mouth remains a potent tool. Ask friends, family, or colleagues about their banking experiences in Kentucky. Online reviews can also offer insights into a bank’s reputation.
  • Additional services: Consider other options like wealth management, financial planning, or business banking if they are relevant to your situation.

Remember, the best bank for one person might not be the best for another. It’s all about finding the right fit for your unique financial situation and personal preferences.

Best Credit Unions in Kentucky

The Bluegrass State boasts a rich tradition of family and financial solidarity, and its credit unions reflect this ethos in their commitment to serving members. Whether you’re seeking competitive loan rates, reliable customer service, or a sense of belonging, Kentucky’s credit unions stand out in all respects. Here’s a look at some of the best credit unions in Kentucky:

  • Commonwealth Credit Union: Originating in Frankfort, Commonwealth has expanded significantly, carving out a reputation for its community-driven approach and diverse financial services.
  • Abound Credit Union: Formerly known as Fort Knox Federal Credit Union, Abound is one of Kentucky’s largest credit unions. It’s renowned for its member engagement, wide-ranging products, and dedication to member service.
  • Park Community Credit Union: With roots in Louisville, Park Community has grown steadily, offering Kentuckians a robust suite of banking services underscored by its commitment to local development.
  • University of Kentucky Federal Credit Union (UKFCU): Catering primarily to University of Kentucky students and faculty, UKFCU has a tailored suite of products. Yet, its reach extends beyond the university, serving broader communities with its attractive rates and services.
  • Service One Credit Union: Hailing from Bowling Green, Service One is celebrated for its personalized service touch, ensuring that members’ expectations are not only met but exceeded.
  • Class Act Federal Credit Union: Exclusively catering to Louisville’s educational sector, Class Act offers an array of products, underpinned by a strong emphasis on educational resources and public engagement.
  • Navy Federal Credit Union (NFCU): While not exclusive to Kentucky, NFCU’s nationwide reputation precedes it. Primarily serving military personnel, veterans, and their families, it stands out for its unparalleled products and exemplary member service.
Stephanie Faris
Meet the author

Stephanie Faris is a professional finance writer with more than a decade of experience. Her work has been featured on a variety of top finance sites, including Money Under 30, GoBankingRates, Retirable, Sapling, and Benzinga.