Ben Smith Online or In Person: What’s the Better Way to Get a Loan?

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If you’re looking for a personal loan, your options are increasing. There’s the traditional route — visit a loan officer at your bank — or the more modern option of an online lender that can get you a loan virtually overnight, if you qualify.

Financial technology companies that offer personal loans online are encroaching on banks in the lending business. Fintechs originated almost half (49.4%) of unsecured loans in March 2019, up from 22.4% in March 2015, according to a recent study by credit bureau Experian.

While some large national banks don’t offer personal loans, others are responding to the competition with online offerings of their own. PNC Bank, one of the largest banks in the U.S., launched online personal loans this year to capture customers it couldn’t serve at brick-and-mortar locations, says senior vice president for personal lending Chris Dervan.

“Like many industries, there’s been a big trend toward digital, and that trend will continue,” he says. “But part of what we’re seeing is that there’s still a substantial custom

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