BB&T Bank Review

Brand Banking and Trust Company, also known as BB&T, was first founded in 1872 and is headquartered in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. BB&T is currently the 16th largest bank in the United States and operates in 15 different states.  As of 2018, BB&T managed roughly $226 billion in total assets, with about 2,049 branches operating out of the US. BB&T is considered an equal housing lender and offers various insurance options for customers who apply for loans at their bank. It is also backed and insured by the FDIC and offers a variety of personal banking options for its customer base.

BB&T at a glance

Pros
  • FDIC-insured
  • Cash back offers
  • Free student checking
Cons
  • Higher monthly maintenance costs
  • Excessive overdraft fees
  • Branches in only 15 states

What’s interesting about BB&T

BB&T is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), which protects all deposits up to $250,000. BB&T also offers an additional program known as the Certificate of Deposit Account Registry Service (CDARS) that provides clients additional coverage once they exceed FDIC limits. The company also offers debit card clients the opportunity to earn cash back just for regularly using their BB&T cards. Along with cashback programs and other personalized banking incentives, BB&T offers free student checking accounts to anyone currently attending high school or college.

Things to consider

While BB&T offers a variety of different accounts to choose from with their own unique benefits, unfortunately, many of these accounts have some sort of monthly maintenance fee associated with them. And even though some accounts provide banking stipulations that can help you waive these fees, some account maintenance fees cannot be avoided. When considering banking fees, another area to be aware of is BB&T’s approach to overdraft fees. Overdraft fees at BB&T are higher than most organizations at $36 per overdraft, with a limit of six overdrafts per day. Overdraft protection still only covers a portion of this fee, and clients will always be responsible for a $12.50 transfer fee.

Checking and savings accounts

BB&T gives its customers several choices when establishing personal and business checking and savings accounts. For basic checking, BB&T offers the Fundamentals checking that has no requirements or minimum balance. However, there is a $50 minimum deposit to open the account and a $5 monthly fee.

The bank also offers special accounts for younger and older customers. For 13- to 17-year-olds, the Young Savers account allows for money management lessons and learning the value of a savings account. On the other side of the spectrum, the Senior Checking account is for customers over 55 years old and comes with wallet-style checks, personalized debit cards and one no-penalty CD withdrawal in the case of an emergency. The Student Checking product is also designed for high school and college students and comes with no monthly fee, no minimum deposit and no minimum balance requirement.

BB&T has clearly developed these products to better cater to the different stages of a customer’s life. From 13 years old, a customer can learn about money management, take advantage of no fees throughout schooling and then enjoy more benefits and perks in their later years with BB&T. This is a great family bank option to let everyone enjoy these perks.

Money market accounts

BB&T offers High Performance Money Market accounts for clients looking to benefit from tiered money market interest rates as well as easy fund access and check-writing privileges. These accounts require a $100 minimum opening deposit and apply a $12 monthly maintenance fee. Customers can keep regular tabs on their account by using “U,” BB&T’s customizable online and mobile banking application. This allows clients to quickly pay their bills, set and track spending amounts, manage their receipts, and receive essential account alerts. However, the maximum APY customers can get with this product is 1% on balances of at least $250,000. If you’re a customer with that much wealth behind you, then it might be best to throw that money in a high-yield CD or with a bank with jumbo CD offerings.

CDs

BB&T has eight different CD options for clients, each designed for specific investment goals. Some of its popular options are:

  • 7-day to 60-month: These flexible personal CDs offer fixed rates and range from 0.05% – 0.30% APY depending on the CD term.
  • Can’t Lose: BB&T’s Can’t Lose CD has a comfortable 0.25% APY with a minimum deposit of $1000. There are no penalties for a single withdrawal after 12 months.
  • Stepped Rate: BB&T’s Stepped Rate CD option gives clients the ability to stagger their investments so they can take advantage of increasing APY rates. Customers can make additional deposits each year (up to $10,000) in order to make a higher return. As the CD matures, the APY also grows, topping out at 0.75% in the fourth year.

Credit cards

BB&T offers secured credit cards to its clients, helping customers establish or rebuild their credit while benefiting from unique rewards and lower interest rates.

The Low APR secured credit card lets clients earn interest on security deposits in a BB&T Secured Credit Card Savings account. Bright Secured cards are formatted with 18.99% APR plus a 18.99% fee for balance transfers. This is a great card for someone who keeps a balance on their credit card accounts, because the low APR means customers spend less in interest rates over time. On the other hand, the Cash Reward Card gives 3% cash back on gas as well as 2% on utilities and groceries but comes with 14.99% – 23.99% APR and the same APR for balance transfers. BB&T’s Cash Reward Card is a good option for families with high utilities and big grocery shops, but have enough cash flow income to cover the monthly payments and keep a large balance off the card. The higher interest on the Cash Reward can put someone in dire straits with their finances if not used correctly.

Finally, the Travel Rewards Card gives back double the points for any travel purchases — not just Southwest or American Airlines — including air travel, hotel accommodations, car rentals, and other eligible purchases. The APR is structured in the same way as the Cash Reward Card, but this credit card is perfect for those who travel a lot or want to collect points from their vacations to roll into other trips.

Personal loans

Customers looking for personal loans to consolidate debt, finance recreational vehicles, watercrafts or vacation can find the products they need with BB&T. This bank offers unsecured personal loans and lines of credit to its customers. The minimum that you can borrow from BB&T is $3,500. The maximum depends on your credit history and worthiness. Rates are also determined by your credit history, so it’s important to talk to a loan officer about your rates before signing the dotted line.

Mortgage loans

If you’re in the market to buy a home, you’re in luck with mortgages from BB&T. This lender offers competitive interest rates, below 4% for both 15- and 30-year fixed rate mortgages. However, it’s not immediately clear if BB&T offers rate discounts for autopay, existing customers or any other special qualifier. BB&T mortgages would be a smart decision for someone who wants to finance a house and are already a BB&T banking customer for sheer convenience.

Mortgage refinancing

BB&T offers mortgage refinancing and its interest rates are actually really low. A 15-year refinance starts at 3.365% APY and the rates go up from there, but even the 30-year — which is the longest refinance term available through BB&T — has an APY under 4%. The downside is that you’ll have to pay for a new home appraisal and closing costs on your refinance, but that’s pretty standard among the bigger banks.

Home equity loans and HELOCs

This bank offers both home equity loans and home equity lines of credit, which you can take advantage of if you’ve built up equity in your home. BB&T is unique in that it will allow you to have up to three HELOC loans of at least $5,000 at the same time. Another great feature of BB&T’s HELOCs is that the rates are fixed, so you’ll know what your payment will be from month to month. BB&T also offers the ability to pay interest only or 1.5% of the outstanding balance on your HELOC during the draw period.

BB&T’s home equity loans have no prepayment penalties and fixed monthly payments because this type of loan also has a fixed interest rate. That’s a nice feature, considering that a lot of banks only offer variable rates on HELOCs and home equity loans.

Car loans

BB&T also provides auto financing and refinancing for customers that want to buy a new car or replace their current loan, respectively. With BB&T, customers get a fixed-rate loan for a private or dealership sale, lease buy-out or car purchase, but rates aren’t disclosed on its website. For your rates and how much you can borrow from BB&T, you’ll have to hop over to a branch or call an auto loan specialist.

The final word

BB&T is a great all-around banking option. BB&T has a long history of helping its clients achieve economic success. When it comes to personal banking experiences, the limited physical branches operating in only 15 states may be inconvenient for many customers. However, BB&T offers many unique online banking incentives and rewards programs still make the company a viable choice for personal and business banking. As if that wasn’t enough to convince you, BB&T was also named one of Fortune’s “World’s Most Admired Companies” in 2018 probably because of its long history of financial stability and growth within the industry.