Banks are a good starting point when browsing for personal loans. This is especially true if you’re already a customer, as you could get access to more favorable rates.

M&T Bank is a regional option, available in several east coast states.While LightStream started as an online lender, it is now a division of Truist. They have relatively competitive rates for their personal loans, limited fees and a quick application process. But they serve very different consumer needs.

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. LightStream, however, lets you borrow more, plus its loans are available nationwide.

M&T Bank LightStream
Bankrate Score 4.6 4.7
Better for Competitive rates Large loans
Loan amounts $2,000-$50,000 $5,000-$100,000
APRs 9.24%-15.69% 7.49%-25.49% (with Autopay)
Loan term lengths 12-84 months 24-84 months
Fees Late fees and nonsufficient funds fees None
Minimum credit score Not disclosed 695
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.

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  • Low maximum APR.
  • APR discounts available.
  • Quick funding.
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  • Not available in every state.
  • 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. The lender is also one of the few that offers to beat any competing rate by 0.10 percentage points.

That said, LightStream’s 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.

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  • No fees.
  • APR discounts and rate beat program.
  • Same-day funding available.
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  • 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. If you’re an existing customer or live in a serviced state, you could score a lower rate with M&T Bank. But if you’re looking for a larger loan, LightStream may be the better option, though those with excellent credit get the best rates.

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, D.C. 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. Borrowers who sign up for automatic payments instantly get access to a 0.50 rate discount. M&T Bank, on the other hand, requires you to have a specific checking account to access similar discounts.

Though you will need excellent credit to qualify for its lowest rates,  Lightstream offers joint applications. This could make it easier to qualify for a better loan if your credit needs workWith LightStream, you could also get the funds as soon as the same day you’re approved, while with M&T it may take longer.

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 the lender’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 longer terms.

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 compare rates from other lenders first. That way, you’ll know what to expect before applying with either lender and make an informed decision based on what’s offered to you.