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Bank-backed auto loans come with the benefit of long-standing business models and tend to carry the additional perk of in-person customer service.
With identical Bankrate scores, M&T Bank and Bank of America are two excellent bank lenders to consider when shopping for your next auto loan, but each carries its own benefits and drawbacks. M&T Bank is a solid option for borrowers who wish to finance a small loan, whereas Bank of America supports drivers in all 50 states securing a loan from a dealership.
M&T Bank vs. Bank of America at a glance
There is no perfect auto loan for every borrower. Instead, there is the right choice based on your location, needs and budget. Consider the specific offerings when choosing which bank best fits your needs.
|Bank of America
|New, used, refinance, private party
|New, used, refinance, private party, lease buyout
|Starting at $2,000
|Starting at $7,500
|Loan term lengths
|Up to 84 months
|Minimum credit score
|13 states and Washington, D.C.
|Time to funding
|As soon as same business day
M&T Bank auto loans
Available only for drivers in 13 states (plus Washington, D.C.) across the eastern U.S., M&T Bank auto loans are a great option for those looking to finance a new or used vehicle or those who are looking to refinance their current loan. M&T lets borrowers buy from private parties as well as dealerships; not all banks allow this, though Bank of America does, too.
Unfortunately, M&T’s website doesn’t disclose the fees it charges. You may have to pay an origination fee and a prepayment fee if you pay off your loan early. The bank boasts 24/7 customer support, essential for borrowers who need assistance when exploring loan options or pay-off. Bank of America only offers support six days a week.
Unlike Bank of America, M&T Bank offers a discount for setting up automatic payments — though the discount’s size isn’t specified, and you’ll need an M&T checking account.
- Low minimum loan amount. Drivers looking to secure a less expensive vehicle can benefit from the ability to finance as little as $2,000 with an M&T loan.
- Wide range of loan terms. The longer your loan term, is the less expansive your monthly payment can be. M&T allows borrowers to extend their loans for up to 84 months.
- Long shopping window. Following the application process, potential borrowers have up to 30 days to decide whether or not they want to move forward.
- Smaller statewide coverage. The bank only serves the following states: CT, DE, FL, ME, MD, MA, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VT, VI, WV and Washington, D.C.
- Vehicle information is required. In order to apply you must have your vehicle identification number available, which can be a challenge for those still shopping around for a car.
- No prequalification. Prequalifying for an auto loan can provide you with a firm grasp on expected costs and terms before you fill out a full application — a benefit not offered by M&T Bank.
Bank of America auto loans
Bank of America covers all 50 states and boasts serious name recognition. Bank of America, unlike M&T, partners with dealerships to provide funding. They also offer refinance, private party purchase and lease buyout loans — the last of which M&T Bank doesn’t offer.
The bank offers many benefits, such as competitive (though average) rates and a fast funding timeline. But to get rate discounts, you must be a preferred rewards member with a deposit or investment account balance of $20,000.
- Minimal fees. According to a bank representative, there are no fees enforced when borrowing. While this is not uncommon, it does beat out M&T’s unspecified fees.
- Fast funding. Funding can become available as soon as one business day. This is especially helpful for those refinancing when in a financial pinch.
- Expansive loan coverage. Drivers in all 50 states can secure auto loan financing with Bank of America. But you’ll have to shop from approved dealerships or private parties.
Higher minimum loan amount. Borrowers must finance at least $7,500 to secure an auto loan. Not only is this much higher than the $2,000 minimum from M&T, it is higher than the industry average, too.
Member-only discounts. To benefit from a range of available discounts that will help you save money, you must be a member of the bank. And there’s no autopay discount.
- No prequalification. As with M&T Bank, you must complete an application and take a small credit score hit to see your possible rates.
How to choose between M&T Bank and Bank of America
When weighing the differing bank options, it is first important to consider your hometown. For those in the eastern U.S., M&T may be a strong option, while if you live in another state, Bank of America is your only option of the two.
And consider possible rates. Recent Experian data reported that on average, drivers financing new vehicles were met with an interest rate of 7.03 percent and used closer to 12 percent. With this in mind, M&T has an above-average minimum rate while Bank of America boasts one slightly below.
But remember, the lowest auto loan rate displayed is not always the one you will walk away with — both lenders have a list of requirements you must meet to land the lowest rates.
Choose M&T Bank if you want smaller, more flexible financing options
If you want a bank car loan, it can be hard to find a low financing amount. This is especially true when it comes to refinancing. M&T Bank, though, has a minimum of $2,000 for its auto loans.
Along with that, the bank has loan terms of up to 84 months, meaning a borrower can finance for seven calendar years. And while extending your loan term might not be the best choice for every borrower, it can help you to secure a much less expensive monthly payment. This makes it an especially good option for a borrower refinancing to reduce their monthly payment.
Choose Bank of America for dealership auto loans
Handling vehicle financing through a dealership means a seamless shopping experience. If a positive dealership experience interests you, consider applying with Bank of America and then working with one of Bank of America’s authorized dealers.
Plus, by applying directly with Bank of America rather than through the dealership, you may be able to dodge the typical dealership loan rate markup.
Bank of America also has a 30-day shopping period, better than the undisclosed timeline of M&T Bank. This can help tentative buyers not feel rushed when choosing their next wheels.
Compare more lenders before applying
Both M&T Bank and Bank of America boast standard products and solid customer service for drivers who want to work with a bank. But before signing off, consider other banks and online lenders to see which best fits your needs. This is especially true if you have poor credit, as nontraditional lenders may be more likely to approve your loan.