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What Is Private Banking?

Written by Devon Delfino | Edited by Ali Cybulski | Published on 4/18/2024


Private banking is a personalized service that some financial institutions provide primarily to high-net-worth clients. It’s typically for individuals with at least $1 million in investable assets.

The aim is to bring a concierge-type feel to banking. Here’s more about private banking and whether it could be right for you.

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What is private banking?

Private banking is a service tailored to the needs of high-net-worth individuals. If you qualify for private banking, you will typically have access to a dedicated banker.

A private banker often opens the door to special loan terms, interest rates and investment opportunities. One of the biggest perks is the convenience. Private bankers can assist with trust and estate planning and tax planning as well as managing your portfolio.

Private banking services vary but can include:

  • Premium checking, savings and certificate of deposit (CD) accounts
  • Custom lending solutions
  • Real estate financing for complex income or asset management situations
  • Bespoke credit arrangements
  • Advice to choose the right investments

What is a private banker?

If you are a high-net-worth individual and opt for private banking, you will typically be assigned a dedicated private banker to manage your money. Private bankers strive to provide individual service and personalized attention.

A private banker works to build a relationship with you to understand your financial goals and create customized solutions. Your private banker may partner with other specialists to develop personalized strategies based on your needs.

Private bankers tend to have long-term relationships with clients. You can find private bankers at Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo and Bank of America, among other institutions.

How does private banking work?

Private banking is intended for high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth individuals — meaning the wealthy and the ultra wealthy. You’ll need to meet specific asset requirements to qualify.

Asset minimums vary by bank and range from $750,000 to $1 million or more. Some banks also have minimum balance requirements.

Here are a few examples of minimum requirements to access private banking at several institutions.

Qualifying for private banking
Bank Eligibility
Chase Private Client Checking Have an average beginning day balance of at least $150,000 in any combination of qualifying linked deposits and qualifying investments or a linked Chase Platinum Business Checking account, or pay a $35 monthly service fee.
Citigold Maintain a minimum combined average monthly balance of at least $200,000 in eligible linked deposit, retirement and investment accounts.
Goldman Sachs Have a minimum of $10 million in investable assets.
HSBC Have the equivalent to 1.5 million British pounds, or about $1.2 million U.S. dollars, including assets held across HSBC in the Channel Islands and Isle of Man (check availability in your location).

What services do private bankers provide?

Private banking may include an array of services, such as:

  • Personalized guidance from a dedicated banker. Private bankers focus on service and support. They want to get to know you and your financial goals.
  • Access to discounts, fee waivers and preferential rates on loans and deposits. You might receive higher interest rates or special terms on loans, mortgages or lines of credit, for example.
  • Exposure to unique investment opportunities. A private banker also customizes your portfolio to your exact requirements.
  • Assistance with broad financial needs. A private banker can help you with retirement planning or estate planning, for instance.

Pros and cons of private banking

Private banking can give you access to a premium experience that consists of both tailored financial advice and perks that might otherwise be out of reach. But certain drawbacks could make it less desirable, assuming you qualify for the elite service. Here are factors to consider if you’re looking into private banking:


  • Convenience. Private banking allows you to handle all of your money matters in one place through one contact.
  • Personalized service. A dedicated private banker works with you to create customized solutions and to build a relationship with you.
  • Preferential treatment. That can mean special discounts, terms, rates and access to investment opportunities.


  • Eligibility requirements. You’ll need a high net worth, often with high minimum deposits.
  • Fees. Generally, fees can be higher than what regular banking customers pay. For example, private banking may come with high account maintenance fees that can be based on a percentage of your assets. Make sure you understand all fees and ask about waivers before you commit to private banking.
  • Limited offerings. Private banking requires you to tie up a large sum of cash at one institution. You may not have much room to explore other options for higher interest rates on other products, for instance.

Is private banking right for you?

Private banking could be right for you, but you’ll need to be a high-net-worth individual: It’s generally for those who have at least $1 million in investable assets. However, anyone with investable assets can qualify for wealth management.

The services you’ll receive will vary by wealth management firm. But you’ll have a wealth manager who will get to know you, similar to a private banker.

Wealth managers and often a team can help with financial planning, tax planning, insurance consulting and estate planning as well as investment management. They tend to focus on growing and protecting your assets, while private bankers concentrate on tailoring traditional banking services to the needs of high-net-worth clients.

You may prefer private banking if you are eligible and want to build a one-on-one relationship with a financial advisor who can provide personalized service and anticipate your needs. Just make sure you consider a few banks and review their offerings, including fees, before you decide.

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