Bank of the West Reviews and Complaints
Mortgage, CD Rates, Loan, Employee and Bank Detailed Review
History of Bank of the West
The bank was founded at a time when gold reserves backed paper currency, and was one of only 10 banks in America authorized to issue paper currency at that time.
Approximately six years later, the bank underwent a name change (in 1880) and became known as First National Bank of San Jose.
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Following World War II, the bank was able to grow, both in asset base and in the number of branches.
With an asset base of $350 million in 1979, the bank underwent another name change, becoming the Bank of the West.
This strategic decision came at a time when the bank sought to expand its network of 35 branches in the San Francisco Bay area and dominate the entire West Coast.
Subsidiary of BancWest Corporation
Today, Bank of the West is a subsidiary of BancWest Corporation, which is owned by BNP Paribas.
Due to a number of strategic acquisitions, Bank of the West is able to operate from locations across the West Coast, Southwest, Midwest, and the Rocky Mountain States.
Bank of the West customers can be found in all 50 states and its branch network includes over 700 commercial and retail banking branches in 19 states.
The bank’s current asset base stands at $62 billion, making it one of the largest mid-size banks in America with a staff complement of 10,000. Bank of the West is headed by Michael Shepherd, who holds the title of Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.
Bank of the West Rates and Fees
Bank of the West interest rates vary by balance tier.
- The interest rate for checking, savings and Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) ranges from 0.01% to 0.13%.
- For the Choice Interest Checking and Premier Relationship Checking accounts, the only two interest-bearing current accounts, interest is compounded daily and paid monthly.
- Bonus interest rates are also available on certificates of deposit (CDs) for customers with a Premier Checking Account.
- Depending on the type of checking account, customers may receive as much as $15 in refunds on ABM transaction charges from non-Bank of the West automated teller machine (ATM) operators.
- The monthly service charge on Bank of the West current accounts ranges from $10 to $30.
- Credit card interest rates range from 16.99% to 20.99%.
- Cash advance charges are either $10, or 4% of the amount for each transaction, whichever is greater. Cash advances attract a rate of 24.99%.
- Late fee, over-the-credit-limit fee and returned payments will cost customers as much as $35 in some states.
- Mortgage rates range from 2.731% to 4.909% based on loan tenure, state and loan amount.
- Home equity loan rates range from 3.99% to 5.24% for 10 and 15 years respectively.
Bank of the West Products and Services
For its individual clients, Bank of the West provides:
- Checking and savings accounts
- Credit cards
- Loan products – including mortgages, home equity, construction financing, vehicle financing and military loans
- Insurance – home, automobile, life
- Wealth Management
- Retirement Planning
- Online and Mobile Banking – including bill payment and balance transfers.
For its small business and commercial clients, Bank of the West provides:
- Checking and savings accounts
- Money Market Accounts
- Certificates of Deposit
- Online Banking
- Merchant Services
- Payroll Services
- Credit and Loans – credit cards, lines of credit, Small Business Association (SBA) loans, etc.
- Commercial lending – term loans, working capital, equipment financing, etc.
- Cash Management
- International Banking Services.
Pros – Bank of the West
1. Bank of the West is rated best:
According to CNN’s MONEY®Magazine, Bank of the West is the “Best Midsize Bank”, according to the magazine’s annual ranking which was published in November 2013.
Commenting on the award, the bank’s President and Chief Operating Officer, Maura Markus, stated, “It's wonderful to receive positive recognition from MONEY, which is a well-respected and trusted source on a far-reaching range of personal finance topics."
2. Big bank, big sponsorships:
Bank of the West is committed to sponsoring organizations and events that are wholesome and highly regarded among members of the communities in which the bank operates.
In 2013, the bank offered sponsorship to events such as:
- The Bank of the West Classic – Women’s professional tennis tournament;
- Cheyenne Frontier Rodeo – America’s largest outdoor rodeo;
- Bank of the West Celebrates America – a free outdoor concert;
- Portland Grand Floral Walk – A floral parade for all ages;
- Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta – An international ballooning event.
In addition, the bank also sponsors a number of events and teams on the collegiate circuit, including:
- Pac-12 Conference
- University of California, Berkley
- University of Colorado
- University of California, Los Angeles
- Rose Bowl Stadium
- Albuquerque Isotopes
- California State University, Fresno
- University of Nebraska
- University of New Mexico
- University of Oregon
- San Jose State University
3. Responsive when it matters the most:
In October 2013, during the United States federal government shutdown, Bank of the West reached out to its customers who were furloughed federal employees.
The bank granted each affected customer one-month deferral on consumer loan payments, and one-month forbearance on mortgage payments.
4.Charitable investment in human capital:
Bank of the West has committed $75 billion in loans, investments and charitable contributions to help nonprofit organizations and charities in their work to build better communities through economic development.
Cons – Bank of the West falls short on:
1. Customer service complaints:
According to the popular online customer complaints website, ConsumerAffairs.com, quite a number of customers are unhappy with service they have received at Bank of the West branches.
In-branch and contact center staff members have been described as rude, belligerent and uncaring.
2. Not the best place to work:
On Glassdoor.com, an online career community founded in 2007, Bank of the West has an average rating of 2.9 out of 5, based on 138 reviews.
The overall consensus is that senior management has no regard for lower level staff members.
Conclusion – Bank of the West Reviews
Bank of the West has a strong presence in the states where its branches are located. Its stakeholders are committed to community development and nation building, and the manner in which the bank presents information about its products and services is appealing.
Its recognition by CNN’s MONEY®Magazine will no doubt resonate with customers in the short to medium term.