In a Nutshell: Byline Bank supports customers in the Chicago and Milwaukee metro areas with a range of quality financial products and services, including a credit card suite that includes a secured card to help people establish or rebuild their credit. The bank also engages with the community on a wide variety of financial literacy efforts, taking important lessons into schools, nonprofits, and retirement homes. Byline Bank is also a top SBA lender and is passionate about supporting its small business customers. Finally, the institution is committed to sustainability and to supporting the Chicago community in a wide variety of ways.
We’ll say it again and again — a healthy credit score is a crucial component to financial wellness.
A good credit score is vital not only for things like purchasing vehicles and homes, but it can even play into employment prospects. A higher score will also open the gates to better credit card rates and financial opportunities.
That’s why it’s so important to have a dependable financial institution to not only handle your funds and accounts, but that can guide you in your financial journey.
For residents in the Chicago and Milwaukee metro areas, Byline Bank plays that role.
“From the local corner stores and restaurants to the accountants, manufacturers, and entrepreneurs, we’re the partner that helps you write your story,” according to the bank. “We don’t need to be the biggest bank. We just need to be the bank that fits your life and your life’s work.”
We spoke with Byline Bank’s Card Services Manager John McCaffrey and Product Marketing Manager Michael Yohanan about the bank and how it serves its customers’ needs.
The bank’s roots stretch back more than 100 years in Chicago, and the institution took on its current moniker in 2013 after the consolidation of several community banks in the area.
“Our name comes from the journalistic term for authorship,” according to the bank. “At Byline, we’re a bank that believes in putting our name behind everything we do and we’re here to roll up our sleeves and help our customers write their stories.”
Four Credit Card Offerings, Including a Secured Card
“We really have a product suite that is designed from cradle to grave, meaning we have the ability to understand a customer’s needs right when they walk in the door and have an inquiry,” McCaffrey said. “Whether they’re building credit, reestablishing credit, or looking for rewards, we have an offering for that customer.”
He said the bank evaluates the needs of the customer and dives deep with them to figure out what products and services may be the best fit for them based on their short-term and long-term goals.
“We’ll customize a solution that’s going to be the right fit,” McCaffrey said.
And Byline Bank offers a wide range of solutions. McCaffrey and Yohanan provided an overview of the bank’s credit card products and services.
“From a credit building standpoint, we have a really great secured card product that’s perfect for anyone that wants to improve or establish their credit,” Yohanan said.
With this card, people just starting out on their financial journey or folks who are looking to start fresh after some past mistakes can do so while having the convenience of a credit card. Secured cardholders can also earn interest on their companion secured savings account.
Next is the Visa Platinum card.
“Enjoy the everyday convenience of a credit card while saving on interest with a low introductory rate,” according to the bank.
And with the Visa Real Rewards card, customers can earn 1.5 points for every $1 they spend and redeem points for cash back, travel, merchandise, or gift cards, McCaffrey said.
Byline Bank’s most robust credit card offering is the Visa Max Cash Preferred card, which gives the user up to 5% cash back in two categories of their choosing. It also offers 1% unlimited cash back on all other eligible purchases.
“I would say it’s pretty evenly spaced between the Preferred card that we have, the Rewards card, and then the Platinum card,” McCaffrey said. “We don’t want to just pigeonhole ourselves with one card because it’s not the right fit for everyone.”
A Robust Financial Literacy Program
Byline Bank also helps customers address credit concerns and a wealth of other finance-related issues through its financial literacy initiatives.
“On the financial literacy side, I think we really excel there,” Yohanan said. “We have a financial literacy officer who developed programs for our market area.”
That includes programs in which Byline Bank representatives go into schools, retirement homes, and nonprofit organizations with custom tailored financial literacy programs for each specific segment, he said.
The bank also maintains a wealth management department, which includes financial planning services and often partners with its financial literacy department.
These kinds of efforts are crucial for spreading the word about financial literacy among the community. In the U.S., financial literacy is often woefully neglected in households and in schools, although efforts are being made across the country to address this issue.
“From community giving and financial literacy to branch construction and business practices, we actively work to protect and improve the communities where we work and live,” according to the bank.
Serving the Community and Small Businesses
“We’re the number one SBA lender in Illinois and the number two lender nationally,” Yohanan said of Byline Bank’s dedication to small businesses.
He said the bank was all hands on deck this year to handle loans and relief efforts associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking of the community, Byline Bank also demonstrates a strong commitment to supporting local businesses, causes, and events.
“At Byline, we take our role of participating in and investing in our local communities very seriously,” according to the banks. “Community engagement and support is the bedrock of our success, and we’re committed to helping the local communities in which we live and work to grow and thrive — today and into the future.”
This commitment includes its financial literacy efforts discussed above as well as community reinvestment initiatives, charitable giving, community outreach, and employee volunteerism.
The bank is also dedicated to sustainability.
“It‘s our goal to be an environmentally responsible bank for all the communities we serve,” according to the website. “We promote the philosophy that a commitment to environmental sustainability makes our communities stronger, and better places in which to live and work — now and for future generations.”