2018 RANKING & REVIEWS
TOP RANKING BANKS & CREDIT UNIONS IN CHICAGO, ILLINOIS
Find the Best Banks in Chicago & Best Credit Unions in Chicago (+ 2 to Avoid)
The city of Chicago, Illinois is known as the metropolis of the Midwestern U.S. This comes as no surprise because it is the third largest city in the country, with over 2.7 million people living, working, and banking there.
So, which credit unions & banks in Chicago are the most trustworthy, have convenient locations, and provide the best personal service?
It isn’t always the biggest banks in Chicago, IL that give the best customer service. There are some smaller “Chicago born” banks, like Wintrust Bank, that are well respected and have offerings competitive to the larger financial institutions.
In our top 6 ranking of the best banks and credit unions in Chicago, Illinois, we’ve reaseached both types of financial institutions in the area to bring you some you’ll want to check out for your next account or loan.
Award Emblem: Best 6 Banks & Credit Unions in Chicago, IL
We’re reviewing the top 3 best banks in Chicago and top 3 best credit unions in Chicago, Illinois to find out who is the cream of the crop. Plus, we’ve identified 1 bank and 1 credit union in Chicago that you may want to avoid until they up their game in a few areas.
Before our main review of each of the banks and credit unions in Chicago, there’s a quick FAQ about the differences between a bank in Chicago, Illinois and a credit union in Chicago, Illinois.
Top 6 Best Banks & Credit Unions in Chicago, Illinois (Plus 2 to Avoid) | Brief Comparison & Ranking
Best Banks & Credit Unions in Chicago
|Alliant Credit Union|
|First Financial Credit Union|
|First Northern Credit Union|
|Chicago Patrolmen’s Federal Credit Union|
Table: Top 6 Best Banks & Credit Unions in Chicago (Plus 2 to Avoid) | Above list is sorted by rating
FAQ | What’s The Difference Between Credit Unions in Chicago, IL and the Best Banks in Chicago, IL?
Should you open an account with a bank in Chicago, Illinois or a credit union in Chicago, Illinois? This is a question many Chicagoans ask when they’re shopping around for a new checking or savings account.
Here’s a quick “cheat sheet” of the main differences between credit unions and banks that may help make that choice easier for you.
Chicago Credit Unions vs Chicago Banks – What’s the Difference?
- Credit unions are not for profit, banks are for profit
- Fees tend to be fewer and lower at credit unions
- Both have account insurance up to $250,000, but through different entities (FDIC for banks, NCUA for credit unions)
- Both have similar checking, savings, investment, and loan offerings
- Credit unions have membership requirements, but most are very easy to meet if you live, work, or worship in the area
- When you join credit unions in Chicago, IL, you’re also a part-owner as a member
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Detailed Review – Top Ranking Best Banks & Credit Unions in Chicago, Illinois
Below, please find a detailed review of each firm on our list of top credit unions and banks in Chicago, Illinois. We have highlighted some of the factors that allowed these credit unions & banks Chicago offers to score so highly in our selection ranking.
Click on any of the names below to go directly to the review section for that firm.
- Alliant Credit Union
- Byline Bank
- Chase Bank
- Chicago Patrolmen’s Federal Credit Union
- First Financial Credit Union
- First Northern Credit Union
- Wintrust Bank
See Also: Comerica Bank (Ranking & Review)
Alliant Credit Union Review
Alliant is one of the credit unions in Chicago, IL that has served the community for over 80 years. Since their inception in 1935, Alliant now has more than 335,000 members and manages over $9.3 billion in assets.
They’re one of the largest credit unions in the United States, but they haven’t forgotten they’re one of the credit unions in Chicago, Illinois that puts its members first.
Best Alliant Credit Union Services at a Glance:
- 3 branch locations & 80,000+ in-network ATMs nationwide (including hundreds in the Chicago area)
- They offer up to $20 per month in out-of-network ATM fee rebates for their checking account holders
- “Better than bank” interest rates on loans
- Credit cards to meet your buying needs
- High-rate savings accounts
- Access to homeowners, auto, and life insurance
- Better Business Bureau A+ rating
Highlights That Make Alliant Credit Union Stand Out on Our List of Best Banks and Best Credit Unions in Chicago, Illinois
Personal Visa® Credit Card Options
Some people worry that if they choose one of the best credit unions in Chicago over one of the best banks in Chicago, IL, they might have to give up certain “extras” like special rewards credit cards.
That’s not the case with Alliant. They’ve got all the same great credit card options as banks in Chicago, IL, such as:
- Low rate credit cards
- Points earning credit cards
- Cash back credit cards
Great Loan Rates
A big reason that people choose to do business with a credit union in Chicago, Illinois over a bank is that they tend to have really good rates on loans. Such is the case with Alliant Credit Union.
They’ve got excellent car loan rates starting at 2.49%, and mortage rates as low as 3.522%. Even personal loans, both secured and unsecured, start at just 3.16%.
We’ve ranked Alliant as one of the best credit unions in Chicago with a 5 star rating because even though they’ve grown to be one of the biggest credit unions in the U.S., they still put their customers first.
Byline Bank Review
Next, let’s take a look at one of the banks in Chicago, Illinois that was born and raised here, Byline Bank. They’ve been a mainstay in the Windy City for over 100 years and have grown to having over 50 branches and offices across the country.
This is one of the best banks in Chicago, IL to use if you like the most modern banking tools. Even though Byline has been around for over a century, they offer all the modern technology tools for in-person, online, and mobile app banking.
Best Byline Bank Chicago Services at a Glance:
- 35 branch locations in Chicago & surrounding areas
- Personal checking, savings, and investment
- Small business banking & loans
- 50+ branches and 1,000 ATMs in Chicagoland & Milwaukee
- Cash management solutions
- Better Business Bureau A+ rating
Highlights That Make Byline Bank Stand Out on Our List of Best Banks and Best Credit Unions in Chicago, Illinois
Great Small Business Services
If you’re building a small business you want a bank in Chicago, Illinois that has your back. Byline Bank offers easy to apply for small business loans to get your company growing.
They are also one of the small business friendly banks in Chicago that offer:
- Remote Deposit
- Business Credit and Debit Cards
- Mobile Banking
- Online Banking
- Custom Lending Solutions
- Small Business Capital
Local Community Support
If supporting your local community is important to you, then Byline Bank is one of the best banks in Chicago you could choose. They have a section of their website devoted to who they are inspired by and who they support in the local Chicago area. Such as being inspired by local businesses and being an ally at Pride Fest.
Byline was an easy 5 rating because of being a proud member of the Chicago community for over 100 years, and still being among the banks in Chicago that support small business growth.
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Chase Bank Review
One of the most popular large banks in Chicago, IL is Chase Bank. And with 366 locations in the Chicagoland and surrounding areas, it’s no wonder that people seek out Chase Bank Chicago, IL.
Convenience is important, especially in today’s busy world. If you need to dash in and out of your bank in Chicago, Illinois no matter where in the city you are or want to have it there when you travel, Chase’s 5,100 branches nationwide will meet your needs.
Best Chase Bank Chicago Services at a Glance:
- 336 branch locations in Chicago & surrounding areas
- Personal savings & checking
- Unlimited cash back credit card offers
- Home & auto loans
- Easy to use mobile app
- Better Business Bureau no rating
Highlights That Make Chase Bank Chicago, IL Stand Out on Our List of Best Banks and Best Credit Unions in Chicago
Multiple Lending Solutions
Whether you’re buying a new home, refinancing, or looking for an auto or personal loan, Chase Bank Chicago, IL has you covered with multiple lending options. That’s just one of the benefits of going with a large nationwide bank.
Mobile Banking Tools
Love the convenience of just taking a photo of a check and having it instantly credited to your bank account? How about online bill pay and easy person-to-person money transfers?
Well, then Chase Bank Chicago, IL may be your favorite, because they have all the mobile banking tools that make it easy to take care of your finances without even leaving your couch.
Read More: Fidelity Bank Ranking & Review
Chicago Patrolmen’s Federal Credit Union Review
We’ve had such a great run of the best credit unions and best banks in Chicago, IL up to now, but we’ve got to talk about one of the credit unions in Chicago, IL to avoid. Unfortunately, Chicago Patrolmen’s Federal Credit Union doesn’t get high marks.
Let’s just say that when we clicked the About Us, Overview and got a “page not found” it was one of the clues that this might not be one of the credit unions in Chicago, IL that you want to bank with until they make a few improvements.
Chicago Patrolmen’s Federal Credit Union Services at a Glance:
- 10 shared branch locations in Chicago & surrounding areas
- Personal checking & savings accounts
- Financial planning
- High school checking accounts
- Money market an IRA accounts
- Better Business Bureau D- rating
What Chicago Patrolmen’s Federal Credit Union Can Do to Improve their Standing Among the Best Credit Unions in Chicago
Improve Their Reputation
A D- rating on Better Business Bureau is a huge red flag for anyone looking for credit unions or banks in Chicago, Illinois to bank with. If they could address some of the complaints and do some upgrades on their website, like fixing that “page not found”, then they may be able to move up in our rankings.
First Financial Credit Union Review
Another Chicago-based option for banking is First Financial Credit Union (FFCU). This financial cooperative has been serving their members in Chicago for over 80 years.
This is a credit union in Chicago, Illinois for whose membership is very easy to qualify. There are three main ways to become a member:
- Live or work in their geographic area
- Be a relative of a current member
- Work for or make a donation to one of their partner organizations
Best First Financial Credit Union Services at a Glance:
- 4 branch locations in Chicago & surrounding areas
- Auto, home, & personal loans
- Wills & trusts
- Online & mobile banking
- Youth savings accounts
- Better Business Bureau A+ rating
Highlights That Make First Financial Credit Union Stand Out on Our List of Best Banks and Best Credit Unions in Chicago
Great Rates and Contests
Something you definitely can’t miss when visiting the FFCU website is their special auto loan rate of just 1.99% APR. And if you love chances to win things like a Samsung tablet or $250 gift card, then this is one of the best credit unions or banks in Chicago, IL to join for those contests and more.
Do you enjoy getting helpful advice from you bank? If so, the FFCYou blog will be right up your alley. They have advice on topics like buying a home when you’re self employed, leasing vs. buying a new car, etc.
First Financial Credit Union got a rating of 3 mainly due to the limited banking locations. Other than that, they’re a great choice among credit unions in Chicago, Illinois. With a few more locations, they could easily move up.
First Northern Credit Union Review
The next of our 3 best credit unions in Chicago is First Northern Credit Union. They were first started in 1944 to serve Commonwealth Edison Company employees and family members, and now have grown to a membership of over 23,000.
It’s also not too difficult to qualify for membership in this credit union in Chicago, Illinois. You only need to live or work in one of 14 Illinois counties.
First Northern Credit Union Chicago Services at a Glance:
- 4 branch locations in Chicago & surrounding areas
- Vehicle, home equity, mortgage, & personal loans
- Checking & savings accounts
- Bill pay & mobile services
- Financial counseling & budgeting help
- Better Business Bureau B- rating
Highlights That Make First Northern Credit Union Stand Out on Our List of Best Banks and Best Credit Unions in Chicago, Illinois
Free Financial Counseling
We could all use a little free financial advice from time to time, and the fact that First Northern Credit Union makes that a priority is pretty cool. Whether you’re looking for budget or debt management help or want to boost your savings, this is one of the credit unions in Chicago, Illinois that offers financial counseling at no charge.
Home Equity Loans
If you’re looking to use some of your home’s equity to finance a vacation, home improvement, or something else, First Northern Credit Union has some great options. Their home equity loans start at just 3.99% APR for a 5-year fixed loan.
We’ve rated First Northern a 3, due to the combination of few locations and a less than an A rating on the Better Business Bureau. With just a few improvements, they could easily move up to be one of the best credit unions or banks Chicago offers.
Popular Article: Hawthorn Bank Ranking & Review
You might wonder why we have a large bank like PNC on our “banks in Chicago to avoid” list. Afterall, they’ve been around for over 160 years and and only have an A- on the BBB website.
But we dug a little further and found a lot of negative reviews there, 92 of them as compared to only 2 positve and 1 neutral review.
PNC Bank Chicago Services at a Glance:
- 26 branch locations in Chicago & surrounding areas
- Personal & business banking
- Investments & retirement services
- Accidental dealth & dismemberment insurance
- Mortgage & auto loans
- Better Business Bureau A- rating
What PNC Can Do to Improve their Standing Among the Best Banks in Chicago
Improve Customer Service
A large bank is expected to have a few bad reviews, but usually the good ones will balance them out, but not in this case. PNC needs to really work on their customer service in order to increase their ranking as a top bank in Chicago, Illinois.
Wintrust Bank Review
The final top Chicago bank on our list is Wintrust Bank. It’s a part of the Wintrust Community Bank family that has had banks in Chicago, IL for more than 25 years.
Although not around as long as some other banks Chicago has, they started with a dedication to offer large bank services, but with a personal, hometown touch.
Best Wintrust Bank Services at a Glance:
- 11 branch locations in Chicago & surrounding areas
- Personal checking, savings, & credit cards
- Home equity lines of credit
- Small business checking, savings, & cash management
- Asset based lending & commercial banking services
- Better Business Bureau A+ rating
Highlights That Make Wintrust Bank Stand Out on Our List of Best Banks and Best Credit Unions in Chicago, Illinois
Customer Satisfaction Award
Wintrust Bank was given the JD Power & Associate’s “Highest Customer Satisfaction with Retail Banking in the Midwest” award. That’s pretty impressive, given the customer satisfaction study was based upon 78,888 total responses.
Wish your bank felt more like a friendly neighbor? Wintrust Bank fits that definition. They’re one of the banks Chicago offers that has regular community events like their “free shred” event & Halloween parties.
We’ve rated Wintrust Bank a 5 because they really know how to be a part of their community and offer everything from personal, to small business, to large commercial banking solutions.
Conclusion – Top 6 Best Banks & Credit Unions in Chicago, Illinois
If you’re looking for great banks or credit unions in Chicago, Illnois, then you’re lucky to be in a big city that also prizes a Midwestern community feel. Chicago has the best of both – big banking services with a personal community touch.
Whether you’re interested in banking with a bank in Chicago, IL or become a member of a not for profit credit union in Chicago, you can’t go wrong with one of these top rated financial institutions.
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