Banks are a good starting point when browsing for personal loans. M&T Bank is a regional option for some, and while LightStream started as an online lender, it is now backed by Truist. They have relatively competitive rates for their personal loans, limited fees and a quick application process for their borrowers.

M&T Bank vs. LightStream at a glance

While both M&T Bank and LightStream have similar loan terms, M&T Bank has more competitive rates — but LightStream lets you borrow more.

M&T Bank LightStream
Bankrate Score 4.6 4.6
Better for Competitive rates Large loans
Loan amounts $2,000-$50,000 $5,000-$100,000
APRs 7.24%-15.70% 7.49%-15.94% *with AutoPay
Loan term lengths 12-84 months 24-84 months
Fees Late fees and nonsufficient funds fees None
Minimum credit score Not disclosed Not disclosed
Time to funding As soon as the next business day As soon as the same day

M&T Bank personal loans

If you are already a customer, M&T Bank is a good option. You will be able to qualify for rate discounts based on the type of checking account you have, and the application process is streamlined.

If you aren’t, it may still be a good choice if you live in one of its serviced states. You don’t need an account with M&T to qualify, and its personal loans are much more robust than other banks. While you will need to borrow at least $15,000 to get a term longer than 60 months, having the option of a 72- or 84-month term is rare with a bank.

Pros

  • Low maximum APR.
  • APR discounts available.
  • Quick funding speed.

Cons

  • Late and nonsufficient fees.
  • Discounts only for current customers.
  • No joint applications.

LightStream personal loans

LightStream is the best option if you live outside M&T’s serviced areas — or simply want to borrow a larger personal loan. It is a top lender and doesn’t charge any fees, including late fees. Plus its rate discounts are available to anyone who signs up for automatic payments.

Its main benefits are its speed and large loans. While you will need to meet more strict eligibility requirements to qualify for a loan over $50,000, having the option to borrow $100,000 is rare. In addition, LightStream offers joint applications. However, the high maximum APR may not be worth it if you are able to qualify for lower rates elsewhere.

Pros

  • No fees.
  • APR discounts available.
  • Quick funding speed.

Cons

  • High minimum loan amount.
  • High maximum APR.
  • Excellent credit required.

How to choose between M&T Bank and LightStream

M&T Bank and LightStream are both good options with minimal fees. You’ll be able to score a lower rate with M&T Bank. But for large loans, turn to LightStream.

M&T Bank has competitive rates

M&T Bank should be your first choice if you have good to excellent credit because of its low maximum APR. You may be able to qualify for a slightly lower starting rate with LightStream — but at the risk of receiving an APR over 20 percent. Because of this, M&T Bank’s low rates and minimal fees may wind up costing you less, especially if you don’t need to borrow more than $50,000.

And unlike LightStream, M&T Bank has branches in 14 states and Washington, DC. If you prefer in-person support, this may also give it an edge over LightStream.

LightStream has large loans

LightStream is a top lender, and its lack of fees appeals to many people. When you sign up for automatic payments, you don’t need an account — M&T Bank requires you to have a specific checking account for similar discounts.

You will need excellent credit to qualify for its lowest rates, however. If you do, you may be able to get your funds the same day you apply. LightStream’s loans are also some of the biggest on the market. Being able to borrow more than $50,000 for an unsecured loan is rare, which is one of LightStream’s best selling points.

Compare lenders before applying

M&T Bank and LightStream are competitive lenders in today’s market. Although LightStream has a higher maximum APR, it stands out from its competition by offering same-day turnaround and large loans. M&T Bank has lower rates, but you’ll need to borrow more to access the best APR.

Since LightStream doesn’t offer pre-qualification and M&T Bank isn’t clear on when it will check your credit, it may make more sense to apply with other lenders first. This way, you know the rates you can expect — and can ensure that an offer from either M&T Bank or LightStream fits your budget.