One of the reasons Bank of the West is a horrible bank is because it has managed to gather the most horrible management I have ever encountered. I have been working in banking for a few decades and as far as morally and ethically corrupt Bank of the West takes the highest award. Normally in a Bank maybe one or two segment of the Bank is morally bankrupt and believes it above the policies, regulations and even the law but in Bank of the West the It, compliance, Region, HR, security, etc....... All play the same tune to cover up their unethical acts. They use lunch mob mentality when dealing with whistle blowers. Some Regions promote whatever it takes to reach goals even cheating and lying. The employees that expose the unethical behavior are harassed by relentlessly by Management and HR hoping the employee resigns but if employees stands up to them then HR uses fabricated stories to terminate their employment. Basically this Bank is left with employees that agree with the practices of Bank of the West or couldn't beat them therefore joined them.
In the last year I have had two times that I needed Bank of the West to step up and work for me. They failed me on both ocassions.
FIRST SITUATION - I am a small business person and with this economy, every contract matters. Last summer I accepted a contract at the other end of the state and my client agreed to pay all my travel expenses, including a rental car so that I could commute between their office sites. Of course I would need to leave an imprint of my Debit card with the car rental firm when I picked up the car.
Approximately 10 days prior to my business trip, my debit card went missing. A thorough search and NO CARD. Concerned about my arrangements for ground travel, I called the bank's 800# to request that a replacement card be rushed to me. I was told that I could not request a replacement card via phone; could only do this in person at my branch AND that they were now required to cancel my current card. It was a Friday - 12 minutes before closing time for my branch and I live 20 minutes away.
I called my branch to see if someone could possibly let me in and help me when I arrived. I was told NO, to just come in Monday. I explained - again - the urgency of the matter. The person barely feigned interest. I asked if I could take care of it at a branch that is open on Saturday. I was told, "No - only at (my own) branch."
Monday morning I was there when they opened the door - my flight for my business trip now 6 days away. I asked to speak to an officer known for her community service and who is always friendly. I explained my emergency and begged for help. She replied by telling me that they do not issue replacement cards at the branches; that this is only done by phone. As I responded in shock, a teller motioned her over and whispered in her ear. When she returned, she apologized and said that apparently the policy has changed recently that now the branches can order replacement cards. (I should have known this would have a poor outcome when an officer was not aware of what I would consider a BASIC policy....)
I asked that the process to replace my card be expedited. Her first response was a cold-fish "No" and when I insisted she please try to "work her network of influence" in my behalf, she made a half-hearted phone call to corporate wherein she asked, "There is no way we can rush a debit card replacement, is there?"....."No, I didn't think so..." Disheartened, I gave her the info she needed to complete the transaction and went on my way - trying to figure out what I would tell my client when I could not pick up the rental car they had reserved for me....
The next day the officer called to say that she had tried another route to getting my card replaced and it had been productive. Amazed, I thanked her profusely and she assured me that my card would arrive Thursday, possibly Friday but certainly no later than Saturday. Relieved, I resumed my Tuesday business day....
Thursday came and went - no card. I called the officer to ask if she could check on its progress for me; was told she was with another customer and that she'd call me back. She did not. A second call before closing and I was told that she had left early, to try her Friday if the card had not shown up. I asked that they give her a message Friday morning asking that she follow up on my card and call me with what she learned.
Friday when I returned from a day with local clients, still no card. And still no call back from the officer. I called the branch again and this time was told she was on vacation. Worse, no one knew anything about my card. A call to corporate and no record of any kind could be found requesting a replacement card although my account did show my existing card had been cancelled on my initial call. Saturday mail run and you guessed it - no card.
Needless to say, it was awkward when I had to disturb my key client contact at home Sunday evening to drive to the airport and leave a credit card imprint so I could take possession of the car they had rented for me. Oh and when I returned home at the end of the week - STILL NO CARD.
The bank had failed me - completely.
Why I am still there is only a function of how busy I've been.
SECOND SITUATIION: In January I received notice from the financial institution servicing my student loan that as of March 1, my account would be serviced by an entirely different institution. It instructed me to contact that institution to set up payment arrangements. I had put my student loan with the old financial institution (let's call them Bank #1) on automatic payment and wanted to do so with the new company (let's call them Bank #2). The notice said that the February pmt would be automatically deducted from my account, per my arrangement with Bank #1 but I needed to contact Bank #2 to make whatever arrangements I wanted for the March payment.
Unfortunately on March 21,2011, Bank #1 automatically withdrew $311 from my checking account EVEN THOUGH THEY SAID THE LAST TIME THEY WOULD DO SO WOULD BE 2/21/2011 BECAUSE AS OF 3/1/2011 THEY NO LONGER SERVICED MY LOAN.
I called my Bank of the West branch and asked for help. When I was transferred to an officer, I explained that the 3/21 payment was not authorized becauset Bank #1 no longer even had my account. I was told that the branch could not help me; that I had to call the 800#. When I did, the person who took my call said she would launch an investigation and I would receive a "notice of finding" when the investigation completed - in 7-10 days. I told her all I wanted was the charge reversed and she told me to also call Bank #1, point out their error, and request a refund. She urged me to keep the investigation open regardless of the outcome of my conversation with Bank #1. This was on March 23, 2011.
When I called Bank #1, the person I spoke with told me that they had already realized their error and my refund was in process. I was told that I could expect it within 20 days. By my calculation, I should have the refund by April 13.
The week with Apr 13 in it was extraordinarily busy as I was due to be out of state at a conference the next week and I did not follow up with Bank #1 to make sure that my refund was being processed. Nor did I have the time to call Bank of the West which, I did notice, was well past the "7-10 day" period they had quoted me for resolving the issue. At the end of the week, I flew out to my conference and returned April 23 - a FULL MONTH since I asked the bank to take action to protect me, their customer, from another institution's error.
Monday, April 25, the mail included a letter from Bank of the West stating that their investigation could find no "evidence" that the 3/21 payment had not been authorized and so my claim was being denied.
Today I will have time to call Bank #1 as I STILL do not have the refund they told me was "in process" and "up to 20 days" away on March 23.
As far as Bank of the West goes, they have just lost a customer. I am closing all my accounts and moving my money and my business to another institution - hopefully my new bank will show some shard of investment in Customer Care.
This bank went to a repo company that used fraud to recover property and are potentially violent (even to people who are not even the loan holders.....). Beware and stay away!!!!! They do not even contact you and repo the vehicle even though you are past due with less than 2% of the loan amount!!!!!!
I have been a loyal customer to this bank, paying on time and for 12 years. Find another bank cause this bank does not care about it's customers. I know from example. DO NOT USE THIS BANK FOR ANY KIND OF BUSINESS IT WILL ROB YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This bank is the most horrible bank that I dealt with.There are two reasons: 1) They hold your money for one thing. I signed up for direct deposit from my employer. My pay stub tells me exactly how much I got paid into the checking account. Did not write any checks and just withdraw $5 from this account. There is no way that I can be overdrawn so where did my money go? My checking account was not new. I have been at this bank for 5 months and they still hold your money. I went to the branch and talk to the teller to tried to find out about my money. He told me that the credit agency took it and that was how I was overdrawn. Bullsh*t. I know exactly how much they take away each money. So once you have been at this bank for awhile, your direct deposit will not be there on the end of the day. It will take them 2-3 business days to process. 2) Their mobile banking is not all that good. If you have a smart phone, you would not be able to read your balances because this bank does not have a separate mobile site that lets you access the info without you signing up. Why doesn't this bank give you alerts when you are running low on money? They are not helping you by giving you any tools that prevent you from overdrafting your account. How do you know which items are still pending so that way you don't go to the bank unless it is absolutely there? Stay far away from this bank as you can.
I have been a customer at Bank of the West for three years, and love this bank. The customer service is great, always a genuine hello. The website is very user friendly. I have banked with several other banks and frankly was always disappointed.
Bank of the West is professional, honest and I love the little bear! I will continue to refer my friends and family here.
If your a member of Bank of The West and use their bill pay service be aware that the third party company that is hired to operate bill pay does not reflect a prearranged bill as "Paid" when the funds actually come out of ones account. It shows only the date one request it to be paid by and continues to lead the consumer to believe it is paid. Upon opening Bill Pay it will say "You have no pending payments" when in fact you do. You can't tell if it's actually paid unless you look at the statement. Bank of the West is aware of the problem and claims they have No authority to correct the problem. The true meaning of paid is when the funds have been paid out of account NOT when the third party mails the check.
This is miss leading and, can lead to bounced checks and fees paid to the bank. This happened to me. I checked my account balance and bill pay. Bill pay reflected "NO Pending Payments" so I believed it as fact, wrote a check and it bounced and I was charged $35.00 for NSF This needs to stop, the banks are taking advantage of us once again and it's not fair.
Is there anyone truely on the consumers side?
Horrible bank! First of all, remember where you opened the account. Because they don't have a headquarters and customer service is worthless. They will respond to any question you have with "you need to go to the branch where you opened the account". If you moved, tough luck, other branches CANNOT HELP YOU. Customer service main numbers CANNOT HELP YOU. Calling the branch CANNOT HELP you, you have to physically go there.
Second of all, what you see in your statements is not really what happened. So when a statement shows you had a balance on a certain day, that may or not may be true. They will charge you fees, even though your statement shows you never went under. And when questioned they say that their ledger shows you went under, but it won't match your statement, sometimes being off by a week. And when you go to the branch to see "their" ledger, it will have even different dates from what customer service tells you.
Thirdly, KEEP YOUR RECEIPTS! I have multiple charges where I see I got charge underage fee because a transaction happened on a day EARLIER then when I actually swiped the card. These are easy to get rid of, because when you show the receipt to the personal banker, they will take off the fees.
Fourthly watch your deposits. If you get paid on a Monday and you call and ask if it cleared, they will say yes. If you charge your card let's say 5 days later, they will back date that to before you got paid so it looks like you used your debit card BEFORE you got paid and charge you a fee. IF NOT caught, you will be paying a lot of fees. If caught, the best they do is say we are sorry, the "system" made a mistake, they will, however refund you the fee (sometimes).
Not trusted, steer clear!!!
Ive been a Bank Of the West customer for a little over 6 months now and that all changes today.. What a nightmare this has been. I have a simple checking account through them but simple is far from the word i would use to describe my experience. They have failed me everytime I needed them to come through for me. When I opened my account the bank manager explained that if you overdraft your account, as long as you get money in the next business day, your account will not be assessed overdraft fees (35$/transaction) on oct. 6th at 3p.m .i made 3 payments with my debit card online that i knew would overdraft my account. On The 7th i deposited money in the bank around 9am. that should have brought everything back to positive. 1 week later i get a call saying ive acrewed 285$ in overdraft fees.... and that they refuse to help me with any of it. When i explained to the lady on the phone what the bank manager said to me, her reply is simply "well sometimes you get lucky and your transaction isnt processed until the next day, but sometimes its processed right away and you're charged". and went on to say "basically if you would have waited another 2 hours to make those payments with your debit card, we would'nt be in this situation." Well from my point of view, "luck" should have nothing to do with it. This is a professional banking institution and they need to start acting that way. my account is currently suspended there and i have no plans of ever paying those greedy heartless little bleeps.
I overdrafted my account. I kept getting charges after that so wrote to the bank. Here is their response.
Thank you for your recent inquiry.
The $31.00 charge on your account is a Paid Overdraft Fee. This charge occurs when an item presented for payment against your account causes your account to become overdrawn.
The following items presented for payment on November 19, 2013:
Levy/Internal Revenue Service $34.51
Electronic Debit/American General $25.16*
*Paid Overdraft Fee assessed
The available balance in your account on this day was $34.51. These items were paid and your available account balance became (-$25.16). Your account was charged the Paid Overdraft Fee on November 20, 2013, the following business day.
According to our records, the Internal Revenue Service issued a full release of the levy. Therefore, your account was credited $34.51 on November 26, 2013.
Please note that whenever a notice of levy is placed upon an account, Bank of the West reserves the right to charge the levy collection/processing fee. Even though the levy was not assessed to your account, the levy collection/processing fee of $100.00 is still applicable. As a result, your account was debited $34.51 on November 26, 2013.
Your account is charged $5.00 if there is a negative balance of $15.00 or more. The fee is posted to your account beginning the third business day after the negative balance occurs. This charge is assessed each business day the account has a negative balance.
Please note this charge is in addition to any overdraft, returned item or other fee which may have been assessed.
For your convenience, Bank of the West offers several services that are designed to help you avoid overdraft fees. For more information on the notice of levy or overdraft protection, please contact your branch directly at (316) 292-5870.
Due to my not contacting the IRS in a timely matter the IRS put a hold on my money in my account. In the meantime I had an automatic payment come out of my account. Since the money was on hold the bank paid the automatic payment and charged me $31.00. I'm not sure how many days it was after that, but the IRS released the hold on my account. The bank then started charging me $5.00 every 2 days for my account being overdrawn. I guess $31.00 didn't get them enough of my money. I've been there for years and do not make a habit of overdrawing my account. I also have direct deposit of my military retirement check so they knew the money would be there by the first. Customer service in this bank is non-existent. I have never had such a bad banking experience in my life. I will be changing banks this week. Unless this is the only bank in your state, stay away from them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1
I have to say that every year this bank continues to resemble the Mega-banks which it tries to convince people it isn't.... I just wasted 40 minutes of my day going through their "procedures" to verify my account by phone, finally finding out through my own deduction that they have the WRONG PERSON as the primary account holder. How this is so difficult to find out is only easy to deduce once you realize that they are slaves to their thousands of procedures and protocols. Banking security is one thing. Unfriendly, obstinate employees are quite another. If you want to feel like you're at Chase, Wells Fargo, or Bank of America, then you'll be right at home here.
If you want to be treated like a PERSON and not another number, you'll need to hit a credit union or USAA. I'll be closing this account soon because my time is valuable. After wasting 40 minutes, I felt that investing 10 minutes in a review to warn others of this bank's attitude, procedures, and people was more than warranted.
This is not a negative review of the people at this branch, it's a big, red, flashing warning that this bank is too much like the big banks to be overlooked. And I can get $15 or $35 out of a Bank of the West ATM and still get reimbursed the ATM fees by USAA. Their online banking and policies are completely different, in a very good way.
Bank of the West - FAIL.
I have had nothing but problems with this bank ! I had a crazy run around trying to recover a password. They asked 8-9 security questions then wanted the last tranaction on the account, which I didnt have as I was trying to access the account on line to get that information. I was told to hang up call back to the same number I was talking to and get the information that the person on the phone was looking at but would not give me.
I closed our account and had a business line of credit. I got a collection letter stating that I had not paid on the account. I told the person on the phone that I had moved to a new town that didnt have an BOW bank (yeah !), and needed them to sent me a statement (which I had not received in at least 3 months). They said they couldnt do that ! WHAT you cant send a statement with an amount and a billing address ? They asked where the closest BOW was to me. I told them the closest bank was 45 miles away. They told me I should drive to that bank to make my payment each month. A 90 mile round trip ? When they cant mail a statement ? I talked the manager at the BOW that was 45 miles away and they thought that was crazy that I was told by the collection manager they couldnt send me a statement. They refused to send me an statement and "turned me over to collections". It turns out that that was just another department at BOW. They said they had set up payment but could not and would not send out a statement ! At the end of the year I called them and asked for the end of year statement required by tax law to send to the IRS to report the interest paid and they sent me an amortization schedule. I called them again and told them this was not the required form and they did not return my call ! HORRIBLE SERVICE ! I think the worst Ive EVER had with any business hands down !
Do yourself a favor and find another bank !
Poor support for Quicken. It does not update to your home quicken as you request, one must do work arounds a lot! The charged me $35/check and our Quicken still does not show the overdraft. Anybody know of a MAC friendly bank?
Horrible and heartless. Do not trust this bank with your business! They destroy American businesses. They lie, cheat, and now steal. They are a huge contributor to the fall of small businesses. Do not trust them!
I've had my personal checking and savings account with Bank of the West for over 24 years now and would never want to bank anywhere else. Prior to moving my money there I had tried larger banks and nowhere did I find more personal and friendly staff than at BOW. I can honestly say that in 24 years, I've never had a problem and never paid a monthly service charge for my checking account.
I couldn't ask for anything more from a bank and would give them my highest recommendation!
I've recently had a series of $35 overdraft charges due to circumstances beyond my control. In addition to $35 for each debit, West America charges a "continuous overdraft fee" of $5 if you don't have a positive balance within 8 days. And, they don't offer a 55+ account that has much meaning for those living on SS. My friend recommended Bank of the West.
I applied online, and got a customer rep who was very nice, but never asked my age, so I didn't know about the 55+ benefits of FREE checking, no min. balance. Thanks to a glitch in finalizing my application, I decided to go in person.
Fortunately I was greeted by Tina at the Rohnert Park branch. Even though I'd completed an application, and had brought documents to prove my present address. She said "Let's start over, so you can complete this. And I don't need proof of your current address." She said "You'll want the 55+ account because it's free, and you'll qualify to receive $100 with direct deposit of at least $200, and another $50 if you use your debit card 10 times in a month. She had my attention, and I told her that the online rep never mentioned a 55+ account.
I only had $100 to put in the checking, and $50 for the savings, which she said I could take out if I needed to. I was all set and out the door in less than a half hour.
She's been in the banking business for 18 years, and loves working at Bank of the West because they only hire nice, friendly people. She was beyond amazing. I'd never experienced anything like that at a bank!
So, if you're thinking of switching banks, stop in at your nearest Bank of the West, and I bet you'll find someone almost as great as Tina!
Take advantage of this great offer to receive $150 for a new checking/savings account. Feb. 2013
I had the account for some 8 months. The on-line statement never matched the action. I tried to close a checking account and they refused. I told them to take off the "over-draft" protection and they said they did, but they lied.
Most lately, I tried to make a payment to a checking account that was overdrawn, arriving with cash 10 minutes prior to closing, on the day the activity occurred. The clerk spent this 10 minutes trying to print the bank statement although I did not request it. Then she said, "Oh, I am so sorry, it wouldn't print" and sent me outside to use their ATM machine to get a print-out (although there is a charge for this). By the time I got to the machine with my card, it was after 5 pm. I did not have the exact change needed for the deposit, and by this point I refused to put an overage amount into the account and the bank teller, standing in the doorway, refused to let me back into the bank to complete the deposit although I had arrived on time and that was the only transaction i asked for. Said if I wanted to make a deposit I had to make the deposit in the ATM machine, either making a deposit above the required amount or go to the store down the block, get change, return and then make the deposit at the ATM. Or of course I could wait and return tomorrow but there would me more fees, $35 and $5. But she could not let me back in to complete the transaction.
Long story short, i went to the store, got the correct change, made a deposit by ATM with envelope and got copies of various receipts showing that it happened. i am no longer a customer. Bad bank, bad personnel, bad practices.
Deceptive posting practices charges. "Free" checking may no longer free with only short notice given. Charges based on "statement dates" that are unclear. KEEP AWAY!
Based on a promotional gimmick, I invested several thousand dollars in a money market account with Bank of the West. I didn't pay much attention to the account and recently realized that my $5,000 investment was earning 20 cents a month, and I was being charged a monthly service fee of $15.00. When I inquired about this ridiculous situation, I was informed that the contract I signed noted that if my balance was below $10,000 I was subject to a service charge.
Bank of the West is the #1 in the world.