Best Banks in NC: 7 of North Carolina’s Finest

Whether you’re in The Triangle, Charlotte, or anywhere else in Tar Heel State, we’ve got you covered with the best banks in NC. We’ve searched high and low and determined the top 7 in the state. 

Updated October 2023

Fact checked by Cathy Gresham

image of a bank overlayed with an image of North Carolina

With its beautiful landscapes, flourishing economy, and growing population, North Carolina has a high demand for banking services. It doesn’t hurt that it’s known as the banking epicenter of the South and a major hub for regional banks too. Nearly every major national bank at least has a substantial outpost here as well.

Here, major and national regional banks come together to meet the needs of both individual and business customers.

Therefore, if you are a resident of Charlotte, Raleigh, or any other North Carolina city, then you’re in luck; as there are dozens of banking services available.

When it comes to choosing the right bank for you, there’s so much selection available that you have to be careful to match your individual needs with the strengths of your desired financial institution.

This could include convenient checks, helpful and readily available customer service, or physical branch availability.

With digital banking a critical service now too, customers may want to consider online platforms – each varying in ease of use and features.

With this in mind, this guide will explore all the best banks in NC – helping you to make the best decision.

Let’s get started!

We used 5 main criteria to choose the 7 best banks in NC

When it comes to choosing the best bank for you, you’ll want to ensure that it matches your personal requirements to achieve the best possible experience.

We focused on reviewing 5 criteria to find the top banks in North Carolina

  1. Account features
  2. Customer service
  3. Mobile banking
  4. Interest rates
  5. Reputation

Below, we have taken these considerations into mind to provide you with the best banks in North Carolina.

Banking in North Carolina - Fast Facts

1. Fifth Third Bank

A U.S. Retail Banking Satisfaction Study was conducted by J.D. Power who founded Fifth Third Bank and provides customers with one of the best banking experiences in North Carolina.

When determining this, the study takes a range of factors into account, such as the frequency of ATMs and banks, the bank’s ability to handle customer complaints, and its product offerings and fees.

That said, Fifth Third Bank offers much more than simply good customer service. If you’re looking to open a checking account, there is even a range of accounts personally tailored to groups with specific needs, lie military personnel and students.

Money market accounts (MMAs), CDs, and savings accounts are similarly varied, too. Likewise, you can also tackle any financial goals using retirement accounts or create a 529 college savings plan.

You’ll also be provided with a helpful mobile banking app. Here, you’ll find mobile check deposits, an ATM/ branch finder, an account history dating six months, and a widget that enables you to check your balance without having to log in.

2. Wells Fargo

In North Carolina, Wells Fargo has over 235 branches. Since it is a large, national brand, you can find ATMs and branches even outside of the state when you travel. In fact, the bank has over 4,900 branches across 40 states.

An advantage of large banks, such as Wells Fargo, is that they offer the widest possible range of financial services and account types. Whatever you’re looking for, the bank can provide you with it.

Whether you’re looking for simple checking and savings accounts or certificates of deposit (CDs) or even investment banking services, Wells Fargo has it all.

Moreover, you can choose between various loans, credit cards, and detailed guidance from a professional financial advisor.

You can do all this without having to step foot in a branch, either. Wells Fargo has noticed the shift to online banking and provides you with robust mobile and online services.

Whether you’re looking to find a loan, open an account, learn more about wealth management, or search for a mortgage, this can all be achieved online.

3. Ally Bank

Ally has staked its reputation on providing some of the highest deposit interest rates around. However, you don’t have to worry about that with Ally Bank’s Online Savings Account and Interest Checking Account. So, despite the fact that it’s actually headquartered in Utah, we’re putting it on our list of best banks in NC due to it’s online-first focus and it’s availability to North Carolina residents. 

In addition to this, if you’re interested in the Online Savings and Interest Checking accounts from Ally, you should know that neither of those accounts requires any fees or opening minimums.

Online and mobile banking has established itself as the future of financial convenience, and at the forefront of this revolution is Ally. Both Android and Apple devices are eligible to download Ally’s mobile app.

Here, you’ll find services ranging from peer-to-peer money transfers, check deposits, transaction histories, account statements, and much more. There are over 20,000 reviews from Ally customers on the app store, averaging a rating of 4.35 stars.

Since Ally is completely web-based, you may wonder how you’re able to withdraw cash. Well, to address this, Ally teamed up with the Allpoint ATM network, providing you with 55,000 fee-free ATMs to withdraw your money across the US.

Moreover, on the mobile app, you’re provided with an ATM locator – easily directing you to the closest in-network ATM.

If you do encounter a non-Allpoint ATM charge, Ally reimburses you with up to 10$ per statement cycle.

4. First Horizon

Despite not having the same reach as some of the larger banks, First Horizon Bank offers some of the best above-average APY rates to customers in North Carolina.

With a standard savings account, you’re eligible for a low APY and a monthly fee that can be waived as long as you maintain a balance of $250.

Likewise, you can open a simple checking account and avoid any monthly fees by maintaining at least one deposit in your checking account per month.

Despite its size, this doesn’t mean you aren’t receiving all the best possible products, either.

The bank provides its customers with all the essential standard accounts you could need, as well as credit cards, loans, insurance products, business accounts, and advice.

Quote on banking for best banks in NC

5. CIT Bank

For this bank, all you need is $100 to open an account – just about anyone can collect the funds required to open a CIT Savings Builder account.

Once you have successfully opened an account, simply continue to deposit at least $100 on a monthly basis and you’ll be able to open the bank’s high-end APY.

Likewise, bank accounts that have a balance of at least $25,000 can take advantage of this higher rate, too. However, if these obligations aren’t met, your APY will be assigned a lower rate.

With online banking becoming more and more popular, it is only expected that CIT Bank provides users with an app, and it seems to be doing well.

In fact, between the Android and Apple app stores, it has an average rating of 3.85 stars out of 5. With the app, you’re able to move funds between CIT accounts, initiate remote check deposits, check current and past account statements, and view your transaction history.

In addition to the Savings Builder account, CIT Bank also offers users a money market account and a Premier High-Yield Savings account.

They also have various numbers of certificates of deposit (CDs), which includes 6-month to 5-year term CDs, 2-year to 5-year jumbo CDs, 1-year to 4-year “RampUp” CDs, and a No-Penalty/11-Month CD.

6. PNC Bank

In North Carolina, PNC Bank has roughly 150 branches available. When it comes to accessibility of resources, it could be considered on par with that of large, national banks. It’s certainly one of the best banks in NC.

For instance, they offer a wide range of services and accounts, including interest-bearing checking accounts that have modest fees, allowing you to waive easier than some other banks.

That said, PNC Banks don’t generally have the highest interest rates. If you meet a certain requirement, you can achieve a higher interest rate on your checking account.

There are various ways to meet these requirements, for instance, you could have direct deposits over a certain amount of dollars or make a certain amount of transactions on your debit card each month.

If you’re considering setting up an account with PNC but are unsure how to handle your finances, then PNC Bank can provide you with the help you need thanks to its financial planning services.

7. Pinnacle Financial Partners

This bank started with a simple mission: to provide customers with the best possible financial services and be a great place to work.

If you’re looking for a bank that has a hometown feel of a regional bank, then this is one of the best banks in NC to choose from – better than those large national and multinational financial institutions.

In North Carolina, its branches can be found in Greensboro / High Point, Charlotte, Winston-Salem, and Raleigh-Durham.

At Pinnacle Financial Partners, you’re offered personal and business banking services, as well as loans, wealth management, and a range of other financial solutions.

In addition, this bank contains two special features, including Titans Banking and Grizzlies Banking for fans of those sports teams.

Plus, customers will also find an extensive online library packed with articles detailing small business help, personal finance, and security and fraud guidance.

Editor's Note:

At Personal Finance Guru, we want to help you maximize your lifestyle through personal finance. You can trust the integrity of our independent financial advice. Our opinions are our own and have not been provided, reviewed, approved, or endorsed by any advertiser or financial product provider. To support and grow the site, however, we may receive compensation from the issuers of some products.

John Wayman

John Wayman


John has always been fascinated by money, wealth, and investing. He got a front row seat into how Ultra High Net Worth individuals, families, and entities manage their money while working for years in Goldman Sachs’ Private Bank. 

He learned a great deal about personal finance and wealth management from some of the most experienced professionals in the industry.

Now he enjoys helping all kinds of people grow their wealth and achieve their financial goals.

When he’s not advising clients, Cody enjoys playing golf and spending time with family and friends.