The Best Banks for Personal Loans in Florida for 2021
Whether it’s high-interest debt, an unexpected medical bill, a broken-down car, or some other surprise expense, personal loans are highly flexible loans that you can use to meet almost any financial needs.
Another thing that makes personal loans so flexible is that you don’t have to provide collateral when you apply.
If you live in Florida and are in need of a personal loan, you've got a long list of options from lenders in your area.
We've analyzed the personal loans offered by the 50 largest banks in Florida to identify the best options available based on interest rates, borrowing terms, and fees.
Also, it would be wise to compare these choices to personal loans offered by online lenders, which may provide friendlier terms.
The Biggest Lenders in Florida
The biggest lenders in Florida are:
- Wells Fargo
- TD Bank
- City National Bank of Florida
- Fifth Third Bank
- PNC Bank
- Synovus Bank
This list includes both national and local banks. Most of the banks on the list will offer personal loans in addition to their other types of loans.
Best Personal Loans in Florida
If you’d like to work with a local lender, we recommend working with one of these companies:
- Fifth Third Bank
- TD Bank
Local lenders can be a good choice for many people. Often, banks will require that you walk into a branch to speak about personal loans.
SunTrust offers its personal loans through LightStream. You can easily apply for a loan online by filling out a few simple forms.
LightStream loans can range in amount from $5,000 to $100,000 with flexible repayment terms.
With the huge range of terms available, LightStream is great for people who really want to customize their monthly payment.
Fifth Third Bank
Fifth Third Bank offers personal loans of $2,000 to $25,000 to customers who have an existing Fifth Third checking or savings account.
Fifth Third’s loans have terms that range from 12 to 60 months, giving you the option to get a truly short-term loan.
You can also customize your first payment due date, giving yourself up to 45 days to make your first payment.
TD Bank is good if you need money fast. If you limit your loan to $25,000 you may be able to get approved and get your money in two business days.
If you’re already a TD Bank customer, you can get a 0.25% rate discount if you sign up for automatic loan payments.
Can Online Lenders Be a Good Alternative?
It might be easy to drop by a branch of your local bank to apply for a loan, but that isn’t always the best thing that you can do.
There are all sorts of lenders out there for you to consider.
Online lenders are especially worthy of consideration as they often bring unique benefits to the table.
Online lenders tend to cost less to run than traditional banks do. They are able to translate that into lower interest rates and lower fees for people who are borrowing money.
Some online lenders also take a non-traditional approach when it comes to lending.
Most lenders will look at your credit history, income, and other standard financial information when deciding whether to approve or deny your application.
Some online lenders will look at other factors, such as your employment history or education when making a decision. This can help you get approved if you have less than great credit.
Things to Look at When Comparing Loans
Once you’ve chosen a few banks that you might want to work with, you should take the time to compare the different loans that they offer.
The first thing that you should do when comparing loans is to assess whether you’re likely to be approved for each loan.
Certain lenders focus on customers who have excellent credit and won’t approve loans to anyone else. Other lenders are more flexible, so get a sense for which types of lender you’re considering.
Once you’ve settled on a list of lenders who are likely to approve you, compare these aspects of their loans.
Some lenders will charge fees on personal loans.
These fees will increase the total cost of the loan without increasing the amount of money that you’re allowed to borrow.
Common Personal Loan Fees
|Type of fee||Typical cost|
|Application fee||$25 to $50|
|Origination fee||1% to 6% of the loan amount|
|Prepayment penalty||2% to 5% of the loan amount|
|Late payment fee||$25 to $50 or 3% to 5% of monthly payment|
|Returned check fee||$20 to $50|
|Payment protection insurance||1% of the loan amount|
Possibly the most common fee is the origination fee. This fee is a percentage of the amount that you borrow, added on to the balance of your loan.
For example, if you get a loan of $5,000 and pay a 2% origination fee, your starting balance will be $5,100, even though you’ll only receive $5,000 when the lender disburses the loan.
Another type of fee to watch out for the is the early repayment fee. If a loan carries this fee, you’ll be charged if you pay the loan off ahead of the normal schedule. This compensates the lender for lost interest income.
The term of a loan is the length of time that it will take you to pay the loan back, assuming you follow the payment schedule.
Different lenders will offer different minimum and maximum loan terms.
Why it matters:
Longer terms will let you pay less money each month but will leave more time for interest to accrue on the loan. This results in higher total costs, but more flexibility month-to-month.
Shorter terms have higher monthly payments but will have you paying the loan off more quickly, leaving less time for interest to build up. This saves you money in the long run.
Different lenders are willing to lend different amounts.
Some lenders will offer loans of no more than $25,000 or $50,000 while others have no issue lending $100,000 or more.
Make sure that the lender that you’re working with is willing to lend the amount of money that you need.
Fund disbursement speed
Sometimes, you need money and you need money fast.
If you’re in that situation, you want to look at how long it will take each lender to approve your application and deposit the money to your account.
Some lenders specialize in quick approvals and deposits. Others take longer.
In some cases, you might have to sacrifice on other things, such as fees or rates, to get the money quickly.
If your bank offers personal loans, you should inquire as to what kind of relationship discounts your bank offers.
Often, you’ll be able to save some money if you have a checking or savings account with your lender and sign up for automatic payments.
If the savings are significant enough, it might affect your choice of lender.
What Do You Need to Apply for a Personal Loan?
When you apply for a personal loan, you’ll need to provide some information to the lender along with your application.
The lender will use this information both to verify your identity and determine whether you’ll be able to pay your loan back.
Expect to provide some or all of the following information:
- Date of birth
- Proof of identity, such as a driver’s license
- Social Security number
- Annual income
- Proof of income, such as bank statements or paystubs.
- Verification of employment
It can seem daunting to have to get all of this information and the associated paperwork together. Despite that, taking the time to do so is important.
The more information that you provide to the lender, the better your application’s chances are.
The last thing that you want is to leave a potential lender asking questions about your ability to pay back a loan.
How to Improve Your Chances of Being Approved for a Personal Loan
Once you’ve decided to apply for a personal loan, you need to take steps to maximize your chances of being approved for the loan.
Of course, one way to do this is to increase your credit score, but that’s easier said than done.
Usually, the best way to build credit is to make timely payments on your bills over the course of months and years.
In the short term, you can give your score a boost by reducing your credit utilization ratio.
This is the ratio of your debt to the total credit limit on your loans and credit cards. Paying down your existing debts and avoiding the use of your credit cards for a month or two can help reduce this ratio.
Another trick is to decrease your debt-to-income ratio.
Again, paying down debts will help reduce this ratio. You can also increase your income with a side job, working extra hours, or getting a raise.
Just remember that lenders will only consider documented pay as part of your application. If you have a job that pays you under the table, lenders will not take that income into account.