Mechanics & Farmers Bank (M&F Bank) has a history of serving Black Americans, a community that has historically been underserved and discriminated against in the banking and finance sector.
Black-led financial institutions, like M&F, have played a vital role in offering investment and closing the racial wealth gap.
In 2002, M&F Bank was certified as a community development financial institution (CDFI). This designation means M&F has been certified by the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institution Fund and receives aid for meeting specific guidelines to address racial barriers in the banking services industry.
Every year, the bank hosts financial literacy workshops throughout the state and generates a number of small-business loans for minority owners.
About Mechanics & Farmers Bank
Mechanics & Farmers Bank is a black-owned bank created in 1907 through a North Carolina state-issued charter.
It opened its doors as a commercial bank in August 1908 on Parrish Street in Durham, two blocks from its 116 W Parrish St location open today. It helped create a thriving African-American Wall Street in the Durham area.
Beyond its founding city, there are seven other branches throughout the state in Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh, and Winston-Salem. Customers can use M&F’s free ATM at any of the branches, or also access the Wells Fargo ATM network for free.
M&F offers a full range of consumer banking services, including checking, savings, investments, mortgages, credit cards, personal loans, and many small business and commercial products.
Customer service hours are Mondays to Thursdays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST.
Mechanic & Farmers Bank: Checking Accounts
Mechanics and Farmers Bank offers a variety of different checking accounts to meet consumer personal banking needs, whether it’s building or repairing banking history or earning interest on the balance of daily spending accounts.
1. Dash Checking Account
The Dash checking account is a fee-free account. It has no monthly account maintenance fees and account holders can earn up to 3.00% APY for balances of up to $10,000. To qualify, they make at least 15 debit transactions per month that total at least $350 per billing cycle and receive at least $500 in direct deposits per statement cycle.
There is a minimum $50 deposit required to open an account, but that’s easy to meet. And you can get up to $15 in ATM fee reimbursements per statement cycle.
2. Advantage Plus Checking Account
The Advantage Plus account comes with a monthly account maintenance fee of $7 or $9, but there are easy ways to offset the fees and it offers unique benefits.
There is a monthly account fee of $7 if you have eStatements or $9 if you request paper statements in the mail, but M&F will waive either of those fees if you maintain a minimum daily balance of at least $750.
The account offers ID Protect to monitor your credit identity and spend insights, a Visa debit card offering uChoose Rewards, and Cell Phone Protection of up to $300 toward repairing or replacing your mobile phone.
There is a $50 minimum deposit required to open an account.
3. Interest Checking Checking Account
There is a $100 minimum opening deposit requirement for this account, as well as a $10 or $12 monthly service fee for eStatements or paper statements.
But you can avoid this fee by maintaining a minimum daily balance of $2,000. And balances of $1,000 or more earn interest with no required account activity.
This account comes with a free Visa debit offering uChoose Rewards, free budget and spend insights, free notary service, and up to three free cashier’s checks per statement cycle.
4. Prestige Checking Account
This is Mechanics & Farmers’ top-tier checking account. It requires a $100 opening deposit and comes with monthly fees of $13 or $15 for eStatements or paper statements.
These monthly fees are waived for maintaining a minimum daily balance of at least $2,500. A $1,000 minimum daily balance is required for your account to earn interest.
You can earn interest on your daily balance with no required debit card spending or other activities.
Account benefits include preferred rates for auto and other consumer loans, a $30 discount on a safety deposit box, three no-fee cashier’s checks per statement cycle, free notary service, and a uChoose Rewards Visa debit card.
Mechanics & Farmers Bank: Savings Accounts
M&F offers consumers four different personal savings account options. APY rates are not listed on Mechanics & Farmers’ website for any of their interest-bearing savings accounts, but customer review forums note APYs of 0.01% or 0.02%.
1. Statement Savings Account
The bank’s most popular savings account option, it’s designed to help the average consumer save for a rainy day. There is a $100 opening deposit required.
There is a monthly bank maintenance fee of $6, but M & F will waive it if you maintain a minimum daily balance of at least $200.
2. Golden Years Savings Account
Intended for consumers aged 55 and older, the Golden Years account requires a $25 opening deposit and has a low $3 monthly maintenance fee.
M&F will waive the fee if you maintain a daily balance of at least $200.
3. Holiday Savings Account
Mechanics & Farmers’ Holiday Savings account is similar to what other banks or credit unions call a Christmas Club account. It enables you to save year-round for the December holiday season, avoiding overspending and credit card debt.
There are no monthly maintenance fees and no minimum daily balance requirements, however, there is a minimum deposit of $25 due at the opening. On October 17, funds are automatically disbursed.
4. Youth Savings Account
This account is designed to build the habit of saving among young consumers, specifically those 21 years or younger.
With a minimum deposit of $25 and no monthly service fees, it’s easy to start saving. Accounts with a minimum average daily balance of at least $100 earn interest.
Mechanics & Farmers Bank: CD Accounts
M&F Bank offers certificates of deposit (CDs) with a guaranteed return (fixed rate of interest) for terms ranging from 3 months to 5 years.
A minimum opening deposit of $1,000 is required, and there is an automatic renewal option.
Like your checking or savings account balance, your CD is protected by FDIC insurance but there is a “substantial penalty” for early withdrawal.
CD rates are not published on M&F’s website, but customers on review boards state that the APYs range from 0.02% to 0.70%.
Mechanics & Farmers Bank: MMA Accounts
Mechanics & Farmers Bank offers money market accounts (MMAs). These are interest-bearing accounts offered by banks and credit unions, like savings accounts but with a higher rate of interest.
An opening deposit of $1,000 is required to open an MMA at Mechanics & Farmers, and accounts bear interest with a minimum daily balance of $2,500.
The monthly account fees of $12 to $14 are waived for maintaining a minimum daily balance of $5,000.
APYs for money markets are not published on the bank’s website; consumers are directed to contact a branch. However, some consumer review boards state that APYs are 0.93% for MMAs at Mechanics & Farmers.
M&F boasts many other products to meet consumers’ savings and investment needs — for both short-term and long-term goals.
- Health savings accounts (HSAs): Through third-party administrators (TPAs), M&F offers a range of low-fee HSAs to reduce medical costs and get tax-free gains on savings growth and other tax benefits.
- Individual retirement accounts (IRAs): IRAs require a minimum $1,000 deposit, choose from a variety of portfolio options including fix-rate.
- Credit cards: Four cash back or points rewards credit cards are offered, including two no-annual-fee cards.
- Home equity line of credit: Lines of credit from $20,000 are available with flexible repayment options and no closing costs
- Mortgages: Offers conventional, FHA, VA, adjustable rate, and other options at competitive rates, as well as guidance with Mortgage Credit Certificates and Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta’s First-time Homebuyer Program (FHLBA)
- Car loans: M&F offers loans of $7,500 to $75,000 for new and used cars. Auto loans vary in length, with financing available for up to 72 months.
- Personal loans: Range of secured and unsecured loans, including personal unsecured loans up to $25,000, always-open Masterline line of credit up to $20,000, and $15,000 secured 60-month loans.
- Multiple branch locations: 8 Mechanics & Farmers Bank locations throughout the state in Charlotte, Raleigh, Winston-Salem, Greensboro, and Durham
- Financial education: Hosts or attends over 80 financial literacy workshops every year throughout the state
- Small business support: Strong support of small business owners and minority business owners through a range of consumer banking products, loans, and financial education seminars
- uChoose Rewards: Program to earn rewards for using an M&F credit card, including cash back, gift cards, travel, and merchandise
- Mobile banking: Highly-rated mobile app with a 4.4-star rating in Google Play and a 4.7-star rating in iTunes. Offers integrations with Zelle, mobile check deposits up to $2,500, Instant Balance check, and secure login with TouchID.
- Strong customer and financial scorecards: A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and over $55 million in equity capital.
Pricing and Fees
Compared to other banks, Mechanics & Farmers, does have a fairly high number of fees for account maintenance, overdrafts, and NSFs. However, if you maintain your account in good standing and set up direct deposit or meet the minimum daily balance requirements, you will not be impacted.
The information below is from M&F’s fee schedule you can read it in full on the bank’s website.
NSF and Overdraft Fees
A non-sufficient funds fee (NSF) is assessed when your account is drawn into the negative due to transactions by check, ACH, debit card, ATM withdrawals, or other account activity.
Mechanics & Farmers charges a $35 per item fee for:
- Returned item
- Paid item
Dormant Account Fees
If your account is inactive (no withdrawals, deposits, or other transactions made), there is a $10 per month per account fee for balances of less than $2,500.
Excessive Withdrawal Fees
M&F will assess fees for excessive withdrawals across its different account types. This could be a cash withdrawal from your account or a transfer of funds out of your account via digital means.
- Savings: $2 per withdrawal for more than 3 withdrawals per month
- Money market: $5 per withdrawal for more than 3 withdrawals per month
- Commercial accounts: $5 to $15 per withdrawal for more than 3 withdrawals per month
There are ATM fees of $2 to $3 for using an out-of-network ATM. It’s $2 for a transfer or balance inquiry or $3 for a withdrawal. Outside of the U.S., it’s $5 for any international ATM fee.
You can open a personal or business bank account at any branch location.
Or you can open an account online. The process takes about 10 minutes or less, and the process is fully secure.
You must live in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, or Georgia to be eligible for an online account.
- Visit the Mechanics & Farmers Bank website at mfbonline.com.
- Select “Open A New Account.”
- Provide your email address.
- Answer the following questions, including prompts for your full name, mailing address, Social Security number, and driver’s license number. You may need to provide a copy of your SSN card and driver’s license or government-issued ID card.
- Fund your account online with at least $50. You will need the routing number and account number of an existing checking or savings account.
The bank will give ample assistance at every step, including letting you know where to easily find all of the requested info.
Mechanics & Farmers Bank has offered promotions to new and existing customers.
- $215 for opening a new Dash account with the promo code VCA2021. There is no date of expiration listed, but the deal may not be redeemable as it has been in circulation since 2021.
- 25K point bonus when you spend $3,000 within the first 90 days of opening a Mechanics & Farmers Bank World or World Elite Mastercard. Reward value of around $250 depending on the reward you select.
Mechanics & Farmers Bank offers a safe and secure banking experience. Deposits are FDIC-insured up to $250,000 per consumer per account, or up to $500,000 for joint accounts with two account holders.
They use data encryption and multi-layered security to protect your information and offer customers ongoing education about cybersecurity, including ways to identify phishing, fraud, and any data threats.
M&F offers customer support through a variety of different channels online, offline, and by phone.
- Call 1-800-433-8283 or 1-919-683-1521 during Monday-Friday business hours
- Visit your local branch
- 24-hour support for lost or stolen debit cards: 1-800-3272
- 24-hour support for lost or stolen M&F credit cards: 1-800-556-5678
- Contact help via the web form
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also send correspondence to the bank’s headquarters at 2634 Durham Chapel Hill Blvd., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27707.
Pros and Cons
- Strong ties to the local community, including investment in local small and mid-sized businesses
- Minority-owned bank with a history of providing banking services to underrepresented communities
- Certified as a community development financial institution that offers banking opportunities to low-income populations
- Free high-yield checking account; other accounts are no-fee if you meet some minimal requirements for balance
- Offers a variety of financial savings and investment products available for consumers and businesses
- Access to Wells Fargo network of ATMs; no fees to use Wells Fargo machines
- Limited geographic availability; branches only in North Carolina and online banking limited to NC and neighboring states
- Below-average interest rates for savings and money market accounts
- Numerous service fees for paper statements, card replacements, NSFs, and more
- Limited customer service hours; no support offered on weekends
- The website has dated information and may not be regularly updated for fees and promotions
Alternatives to Mechanics & Farmers Bank
First Citizens Bank
FCB offers unparalleled convenience for branch banking in North Carolina. It boasts 457 locations throughout the state, an 11-month high-yield CD with a 5.00% APY, and free online savings and checking account options.
The First Citizens Bank Free Check Account has easy built-in tools to track your spending, budget money, and monitor debts. Unlike Mechanics & Farmers, there is overdraft protection but it does come with a $10 transfer fee. This $10 fee is still better than a $35 NSF charge.
FCB also offers customer service 24/7 through an automated system, or live representative support 12+ hours a day 7 days a week.
In terms of branch locations, Truist Bank is North Carolina’s largest bank. Within NC alone, there are 184 locations but it has a much broader presence of over 2,000 branches in 15 states and Washington D.C., with an especially vibrant footprint in the Southeast.
Beyond the convenience of 2,000+ branches nationwide, Truist Bank offers CDs with APYs up to 5.00%, and the Truist Confidence Account with no overdraft or NSF fees.
Ally Bank is an online-only bank, which means it doesn’t have any brick-and-mortar locations. However, if you don’t need a physical branch there are a lot of great Ally benefits.
It offers excellent rates for high-yield savings accounts, CDs (9-month or 18-month CDs with a 5.00% APY), a no-penalty CD, and easy saving and budgeting tools.
Customer service is available 24/7 through live chat or by phone.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most common FAQs that consumers have about Mechanics & Farmers Bank.
Where is Mechanics & Farmers Bank Located?
Mechanics & Farmers Bank is headquartered in Durham, North Carolina, and has a total of 8 locations throughout the state.
- Corporate headquarters: 2634 Durham Chapel Hill Blvd., Suite 101
- Durham branches: 116 W. Parrish St. and 2705 Durham-Chapel Hill Blvd.
- Raleigh branches: 13 East Hargett St. and 1824 Rock Quarry Rd.
- Greensboro: 100 South Murrow Blvd.
- Winston-Salem: 770 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive
- Charlotte: 101 Beatties Ford Road
What is Mechanics & Farmers Bank Known for?
Mechanic & Farmers is known for being the nation’s second-oldest, Black-owned bank, just behind Citizens Savings Bank and Trust in Tennessee.
Since 1907, M&F has provided financial services to the underserved minority community in the state. In recent years, its aging customer has dwindled, and M&F is now on a campaign to get customers to “bank black.”
Mechanics & Farmers is also known for its commitment to supporting small and mid-sized businesses through investments and loans, financial education through community outreach, and offering a 3.00% APY Dash checking account.
Is Mechanics & Farmers Bank Financially Stable?
Yes, Mechanics & Farmers Bank is financially stable and has remained insulated from the banking turmoils plaguing other failing banks since early 2023.. Lending Tree gives M&F Bank an A+ health grade, as the bank has over $421 million in total assets and an 11.99 percent return on equity YTD.
Who is Mechanics & Farmers Bank Owned By?
Mechanic & Farmers Bank is owned by M&F Bancorp, Inc. in Durham, North Carolina.
Is Mechanics & Farmers Bank Best for Your Needs?
If you live in North Carolina, then possibly yes. The bank serves the state’s five largest urban markets, has a solid bill of financial health, and has a history of investing in local communities and businesses.
Mechanics & Farmers does have limited branch availability and higher-than-average fees for NSFs and overdrafts, but many benefits offset this disadvantage, including the Dash checking account with a 3.00% APY, the ability to use Wells Fargo ATM machines for free, and supporting a historically Black bank with an “Outstanding” CRA rating.
The BankBonus team has analyzed dozens of banks to provide our readers with thoroughly informed and accurate reviews.
We evaluate digital financial platforms, online banks, regional banks, and national banks across several metrics.
Our assessment of each bank factors in these considerations:
- Product lineup: We review the types of accounts, loans, and services offered by each bank, as well as the number of accounts.
- Fees and pricing: We also consider each institution’s fees, including monthly maintenance fees and other service charges.
- Account features: To compare banks, we take a close look at the features, limits, and capabilities each one has to offer.
- Interest: Along with these features, we consider whether or not the bank offers interest-bearing accounts and compare their rates to industry averages.
- Brand reputation: The bank accounts we recommend have been carefully vetted to ensure they are legitimate, secure, and backed by FDIC insurance.
- User experience: Additionally, we consider the ease of use and availability of resources on each bank’s website and factor in reviews of the mobile app from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
- Branch and ATM access: To gauge convenience, we also look at each bank’s branch and ATM availability and consider their ATM reimbursement policies.
- Customer service: In our review process, we also explore banks’ customer service channels, hours of availability, and third-party reviews.