Rating the 13 Best Banks in NC (Including Banks in Charlotte NC, Raleigh, Wilmington & More)

The state of North Carolina is a hotbed of activity when it comes to the financial industry. According to S&P Global, Charlotte, in particular, is outpacing the rest of the country when it comes to growth in banking.

This means that individuals and businesses have more options than ever to choose the best banks in North Carolina to do business with.

north carolina bank

2020-2021 Ranking | Best Bank in North Carolina

Whether you are new to the state and in search of a North Carolina bank, looking for a suitable place to get a mortgage or business loan, or simply looking to reduce your bank fees, there are plenty of reasons to research the best banks in North Carolina.

While the demand for banking services at North Carolina banks is certainly growing, the sheer volume of banks that exist can make finding the right financial institution overwhelming.

There are approximately 82 local and national banks operating in the Tar Heel State. This choice of options and the sheer quantity of institutions on a list of banks in NC can be a double-edged sword.

Competition is great for finding the lowest fees and best interest rates, but deciphering which ones are the best banks in NC can be daunting and time-consuming.

Fortunately, AdvisoryHQ has done the legwork for you. We regularly review banks in Charlotte, NC, banks in Raleigh, NC, banks, in Greensboro, NC, banks in Wilmington, NC, and throughout the state.

From our reviews, we choose and rank the top banks in North Carolina based upon multiple factors. These include factors such as customer service, reputation, innovation, use of technology, and more.

Those looking to switch banking services to one of the best banks in NC can use our list as a guide and learn a little more about the top options for banking in your corner of the state.

Best Banks in North Carolina Red Award Emblem

Award Emblem: Top 13 Best Banks in North Carolina

Top 13 Best Banks in North Carolina | 2020-2021 Brief Comparison & Ranking

Best North Carolina Banks2020-2021 Ratings
Bank of America5
Branch Banking and Trust Company (BB&T)5
Fidelity Bank5
Fifth Third Bank5
First Citizens Bank5
First Horizon Bank5
First National Bank5
Pinnacle Financial Partners5
Southern Bank and Trust Company5
SunTrust Bank5
Woodforest National Bank5
PNC Bank3
Wells Fargo Bank3

Table: Top 13 Best North Carolina Banks | Above list is sorted by rating

What Services Should You Look for at Top Banks in North Carolina?

There are a number of standard and additional account services to look for when researching top banks in Charlotte, NC, banks in Raleigh, NC, banks in Wilmington, NC, and banks in Greensboro, NC (or anywhere else).

Checking & Savings Accounts

The vast majority of North Carolina banks offer traditional checking and savings accounts. Checking and savings are typically two of the most popular services a customer will research at a North Carolina bank, or any other bank in the U.S.

Today’s checking accounts found at the best bank in NC are much more flexible than just a decade ago. They’ll allow for numerous or unlimited deposits and withdrawals via check, ATM, or smartphone app.

Savings accounts are normally primarily a deposit account. While they are considered liquid investments and offer modest interest rates, savings accounts often limit the number of transfers and withdrawals that can be made to and from the account.


Like most other banks, the best bank in North Carolina that you’re looking for should provide various loans (auto, home, and student loans, among others).

The rates that you pay for a loan will vary between the institutions on a list of banks in NC, so you want to compare these carefully if you plan to get a loan now or in the future.

Investment Services

Some tops banks in North Carolina will offer investment accounts to help customers save for life events like education or retirement. But this is not a standard feature of every North Carolina bank. A smaller community bank may not offer investments.

Additional Services

In addition to checking and savings accounts, loans, and investment products, you want to compare availability and costs for any additional services offered by the best banks in NC. These can include things like:

  • Safety deposit boxes
  • Wire transfers
  • Notary services
  • Credit cards
  • Trust services

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2020-2021 AdvisoryHQ’s Selection Methodology

What methodology does AdvisoryHQ use in selecting and finalizing the credit cards, financial products, firms, services, and products that are ranked on its various top-rated lists?

Please click here “AdvisoryHQ’s Ranking Methodologies” for a detailed review of AdvisoryHQ’s selection methodologies for ranking top-rated credit cards, financial accounts, firms, products, and services.

Detailed Review – Best Banks in North Carolina

Below, please find a detailed review of each North Carolina bank on our list of top banks in North Carolina. We have highlighted some of the factors that allowed these North Carolina banks to score so high in our selection ranking.

Click on any of the names below to go directly to the review section for that firm. (List is sorted alphabetically)

Click below for previous years’ rankings:

First Horizon Bank Review

First Horizon Bank is part of First Horizon National Corporation, which offers wealth management and fixed income products as well as regional banking from approximately 250 locations throughout the Southeast.

This best bank in North Carolina offers multiple banking services that include checking/savings accounts, loans, investment products, credit cards, and private client services.

This North Carolina bank has continued to grow over the years and expand its footprint. This includes a recent acquisition of Capital Bank (included in our top list of banks in NC in past years).

In 2020, First Horizon intends to become even larger through a merger with IberiaBank. This will result in this best bank in NC having $75 billion in assets and a presence in 11 states throughout the Southeast.

Those considering First Horizon while researching banks in Raleigh, NC and banks in Charlotte, NC can expect the bank’s available branches and services to expand soon.

Key Factors That Enabled First Horizon Bank to Rank as a Best Bank in North Carolina

Digital & Mobile Banking

Several years ago, online banking was an added “extra” by banks in NC, but in today’s world, it has become a standard banking necessity.

The best North Carolina banks make it easy for customers to access their accounts from anywhere. This includes the need for a secure and convenient mobile banking app and online web-based banking options.

best banks in north carolina

Best Banks in NC | Digital Banking

First Horizon offers all the modern digital banking solutions you’d expect and also ensures its customers know how to use them. On its website, this North Carolina bank offers brief “how-to” videos giving demonstrations on how to use its digital and mobile banking tools.

Beyond just tracking account balances and accessing their money, customers of First Horizon can also tap into helpful tools like budgeting and financial planning through the bank’s digital banking.

Here are some of the key features of the digital and mobile banking options offered by this top North Carolina bank:

  • Access account online or via mobile app
  • Send money digitally with Zelle®
  • Budgeting and financial management tools
  • Alerts and statements
  • Bill pay and transfers
  • Mobile deposit

No-Fee Credit Card Options

Many people find it convenient to get a credit card with the banks in Greensboro, NC, banks, in Wilmington, NC, Charlotte, or a bank they already use in another city.

This allows them to easily link their credit card with their other accounts and see all their financial transactions in one place. It can also be easier to get a credit card where you have an existing checking or savings account history.

First Horizon offers four credit card options, and all of them are without an annual fee. This is a particularly attractive feature for a best bank in NC, because it reduces the overall costs of doing business with them.

Credit card options offered at this North Carolina bank include:

  • Visa Signature®: Earn 2 points for every dollar spent at restaurants and gas stations and 1 point everywhere else. Concierge customer service, and more.
  • Platinum Premier Visa®: Link to checking for overdraft protection, travel and emergency assistance, auto rental insurance, and more.
  • Visa® Classic: Link to checking for overdraft protection, compatible with Apple Pay®.
  • Secured Visa®: Designed to help build or rebuild credit.

Small Business Banking

For small businesses that are looking through a list of banks in NC and wondering which offer the best option for their company’s banking, First Horizon is one to consider.

Among the best banks in North Carolina, there are multiple services to take advantage of when banking here.

In addition to traditional business checking and savings accounts, small business owners can take advantage of cash management solutions to keep their company on track financially.

This is also one of the best banks in NC to find merchant services that offer greater control over customer payments, as well as employees schedules and daily operations.

Some of the other small business services you’ll find at this North Carolina bank include:

  • Loans and lines of credit
  • Investment planning
  • Learning Center with business financial insights

Rating Summary

There are several things that make First Horizon Bank one of the best banks in NC to consider for your personal or business banking needs.

The bank has continued to grow and expand, which is a good sign for customers that brings the promise of continued expansion of both branches and services.

Consumers will also find a choice of low or no fee accounts, allowing them to keep more of their money when banking with this top North Carolina Bank. It also has an A+ rating at the Better Business Bureau.

With a wide range of services and a regional, small town feel, First Horizon is awarded a 5-star rating and is one of the best banks in North Carolina to consider in 2020-2021.

See Also: Best Banks in Jacksonville, Orlando, Miami, & Tampa

First National Bank Review

First National Bank is part of F.N.B. Corporation. This North Carolina bank has approximately 350 branches spanning seven states and the District of Columbia and over $35 billion in assets.

It’s presence in North Carolina is focused in Charlotte, Raleigh, Durham and the Piedmont Triad area. The bank is headquartered in Pennsylvania, where it was founded in 1864.

This is one of the best banks in NC to use if you want a wide range of services. In addition to the typical checking, savings, and loans, customers can also find investing and retirement solutions as well as insurance.

When you visit First National’s website, you’ll find a comprehensive layout that makes it easy for individuals and business owners to find the banking solutions they’re looking for pretty quickly.

If you’re wondering why you may not have heard of this North Carolina bank before, it’s because they expanded to NC in 2017, after a merger with Yadkin Financial Corporation.

Key Factors That Enabled First National Bank to Rank as a Best Bank in North Carolina

Solution Oriented

This is one of the best banks in North Carolina to consider if you hate getting lost in confusing website menus. Its website has one of the most user-friendly navigations of any of the institutions on our list of banks in NC.

Users can easily jump to options like “checking & savings” or “loans & mortgages” or they can choose options based upon the type of solution they’re looking for.

best banks in nc

2020-2021 Ranking | Best Bank in North Carolina

The bank’s website lists all solutions in its Solution Center, and also provides pertinent solution options on pages for personal and business banking.

For example, if you’re looking for help with personal banking products, you can choose from the following things that you may want to do:

  • Pay for education
  • Plan for retirement
  • Protect what’s important
  • Plan for the future
  • Build or manage credit
  • Buy or build a home
  • Buy or refinance a vehicle

Once you choose an option, the website will then have you answer a few questions to further narrow down your needs, and you’ll be taken to a page with helpful information and guidance based upon what you’re looking for.

This solution-oriented navigation option is something that helps First National stand out as one of the best North Carolina banks for ease of use and customer-centric service.

Insurance Options

Being able to purchase insurance products through your bank is a bonus that provides convenience and allows you to handle multiple financial transactions with the same North Carolina bank.

Customers and business owners looking for banks in Charlotte, NC, banks, in Greensboro, NC, or banks in Raleigh, NC that are a full-service institution will want to take a closer look at First National.

You’ll find multiple insurance products offered through another arm of the F.N.B. company, First National Insurance and available right from its main banking website.

Personal insurance options at this best bank in North Carolina include:

  • Life insurance
  • Homeowners insurance
  • Vehicle insurance
  • Personal umbrella insurance
  • Watercraft insurance
  • Valuable personal property insurance
  • Fine art insurance

Business insurance products include:

  • Business insurance
  • Employee benefits
  • Worker’s compensation
  • Directors & officer’s insurance
  • Key person coverage
  • Funded buy-sell agreements

SBA Lending

Small business owners that are looking for the best bank in NC to go to for a Small Business Association (SBA) loan will find that First National is an approved SBA lender.

Having a relationship with a bank that can handle SBA loans has become increasingly important due to the Coronavirus pandemic and resulting stimulus that included forgivable SBA loans.

The loan officers at this top North Carolina bank will help business owners understand their options when it comes to the different types of small business association loans that they can take advantage of.

These include:

  • SBA 7(a) Loan Program
  • SBA 504 Loan Program
  • SBA Express Loans

Business owners in need of capital will find First National one of the best banks in NC to work with because of their comprehensive library of information regarding the SBA loan programs.

In addition to personal assistance from loan officers, customers can also access articles on SBA financing topics so they can get a better idea of how to take advantage of these types of loans.

Rating Summary

First National Bank may be fairly new to North Carolina, but its been serving customers for over 150 years with a wide range of banking, investment, and insurance services.

Its among the best banks in North Carolina to use for comprehensive financial solutions including typical checking and savings accounts, loans, credit cards, insurance and more.

This top North Carolina bank also has multiple online and mobile banking options, including a mobile app, web portal, digital payments, and ATM and telephone banking.

With a large footprint in North Carolina and a variety of convenient banking services, First National Bank earns a 5-star rating and is among the best North Carolina banks to check out for personal and business banking.

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Pinnacle Financial Partners Review

Pinnacle Financial Partners began with a simple vision, to be the best financial services firm as well as the best place to work.

This is one of the best banks in NC to choose if you’re looking for the hometown feel of a regional bank, which some customers prefer over large national and multinational financial institutions.

Pinnacle serves customers in five Southeastern states. In North Carolina, its branches are concentrated in Charlotte, Greensboro/High Point, Raleigh/Durham, and Winston-Salem

This top North Carolina bank has continued to expand, adding additional branches and acquiring various other banks throughout the region, including BNC Bank.

Pinnacle Financial Partners offers personal and business banking solutions as well as wealth management, loans, and other financial services.

Key Factors That Enabled Pinnacle Financial Partners to Rank as a Best Bank in North Carolina

Dynamic Online & Mobile Banking

For many customers, finding the best bank in NC means they have online and mobile banking that’s state-of-the-art. In today’s world, many customers never even visit a branch, and expect to handle all their banking online.

To make money management as convenient as possible, Pinnacle offers dynamic online and mobile banking options to its customers. It also provides comprehensive videos on its website to give guidance on how to use these digital banking tools.

With online banking at this North Carolina bank, you can:

  • See real-time account activity and balances
  • Manage and pay your bills
  • Pay other people with Popmoney
  • View up to 24 months of account history
  • View and print check images
  • Transfer funds
  • Track balances and activity with a variety of alerts
  • Go paperless

Mobile banking capabilities include:

  • Apps available for Android and iPhone
  • Transfer funds between accounts
  • Make payments and view recent payments
  • Check current account balances
  • Search recent transactions
  • Use quick texts for account activities

As an additional benefit, MoneyMobile is the app version of Pinnacle’s Personal Financial Manager (PFM). This feature is fully integrated into the online banking program, making it easy to track all accounts, including savings, checking, mortgage, investments, and even outside accounts.

Banking for Music, Sports, and Entertainment

As one of the top banks in NC, Pinnacle offers banking services that are catered to the unique needs of those in the music, sports, and entertainment industry. This is a specialty that you won’t find at many best banks in North Carolina.

With a dedicated team of banking experts, customers can benefit from:

  • Relationship-focused service
  • Local decision making
  • 24/7 support from real people, not an answering service
  • A team that holds key leadership roles in Pinnacle’s strategic planning
  • A common-sense approach
  • Start-to-finish financial services

For individual artists, entrepreneurs, and national companies alike, partnering with a North Carolina bank that understands the unique needs of their industry can provide significant benefits.

This industry specialty makes Pinnacle one of the best banks in NC for those in music, sports, and entertainment.

Health Savings Account (HSA)

For customers that have a health insurance plan with a high deductible, Pinnacle offers a Health Savings Account (HSA) to help establish pre-tax savings for health care costs.

Both deposits and interest earned are tax-exempt, and include the following benefits:

  • Unused funds roll over from one year to the next with no penalties
  • Funds can be used at your discretion—after the age of 65, your HSA savings can be applied to non-medical expenses with no penalties
  • No time limit for reimbursing yourself for medical expenses
  • Funds are available as soon as the next business day with electronic transfer
  • No per-transaction fees
  • Debit card access to your HSA
  • Accounts are FDIC insured

With health care costs continually going up, having a flexible and penalty-free option is a great way for customers to ensure that health care remains affordable over time.

For those that are looking for an affordable way to pay for health care costs, Pinnacle is one of the best banks in North Carolina to consider and one that gives customers more savings options.

reviews of top banks in north carolina

Best Banks in North Carolina

Rating Summary

Pinnacle Financial Partners offers those in North Carolina multiple banking and financial services that make it one of the best banks in NC to use. In addition to standard checking/savings, customers will also find wealth management and investment options.

Two special features of this top North Carolina bank include Titans Banking and Grizzlies Banking for sports fans. Customers will also find a robust online library filled with articles on personal finance, small business help, and fraud and security.

With a wide range of complimentary services and extensive digital banking options, Pinnacle Financial Partners is awarded a 5-star rating as one of the best North Carolina banks to consider banking with in 2020-2021.

Related: Review of the Top California Banks

Conclusion – 2020-2021 Ranking of 13 Best Banks in NC

These top 13 on our list of banks in NC that are standouts represent a wide range of institutions, from huge multinationals to smaller growing regional banks.

North Carolina banks are among the best in the country and the popularity of cities like Charlotte keeps attracting more banking firms to the state every year.

Many of these banks in Greensboro, NC, banks in Wilmington, NC, banks in Charlotte, NC and throughout the state offer first-class services and innovative products that keep them competitive in today’s world.

These include online and mobile banking, SBA loans, insurance, and investment products. You’ll also find that each North Carolina bank on our list supports its local communities in a variety of ways.

Whether you are looking for personal banking services, business banking solutions, loans, or wealth management tools, our list of the best banks in North Carolina is a great starting point to give you useful background information.

As always, it is wise to contact any bank you may be considering and speak with a representative to make sure the institution is a good fit for you and your financial goals.

To browse exclusive reviews of all top-rated banks in North Carolina, please click on any of the links below for a detailed review of each of these best banks in NC:

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Image Sources:

  • https://pixabay.com/photos/charlotte-north-carolina-city-3994040/
  • https://www.firsthorizon.com/Products-and-Services/Digital-Banking-Category
  • https://www.fnb-online.com/personal
  • https://pixabay.com/photos/america-appalachia-appalachians-219896/

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