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Comments (8)

Host

What do you think -- is this company going to survive and thrive? Are they looking to expand their staff, or do you think layoffs are inevitable?

How does Bank of the West stack up against the competition?

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An Old Employee in Platte Center, Nebraska

88 months ago

DO NOT WORK HERE. I worked there for 6 months and I have never seen such poor management in my life!!!!!!!!!!!!! Two people had left before me and "at least" 4 after me. The atmosphere is horrible - very unprofessional management (Bridgett) and unethical practices. You are more or less humiliated if you do not join in on the office gossip and constant backstabbing. All has been reported to corporate to no avail. Beware.

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Current employee in San Mateo, California

87 months ago

BoW has gone through several stages of growth in the last 12 years that I've been there. It has grown from $3-4B in assets to over $60B, a majority of that from acquisitions of smaller banks. The parent, BNP Paribas, a huge French bank, want to grow it presence in the USA through BoW.

The last acquisition, Commercial Federal, out of Omaha, was done in late 05. Integration of the two has been a big problem--vastly different cultures, management styles and lending practices.

It is my view that Comm Fed was not as well run (in terms of managing loan quality), had a large number of underperforming or poorly underwritten loans (many of which were not discovered by BoW until after the acquisition was complete), and had a corporate culture (and compensation practices) that seems to have rewarded short-term growth in outstandings over sound lending practices.

When the acquisition was pending, and just after, there were large numbers of defections of Comm Fed employees. In some cases, all, or nearly all of a branch's employees left at the same time, driven away by BoW's attitude that many perceived as arrogant and condescending (described to me as "we know how to do it right--you CommFed folks dont't").

I'm not sure of the % but from my perspective in the retail banking side, the CommFed loan files were often poorly documented and procedures for prudent underwriting were often not followed. In some markets in the midwest, the number of loans that are now classified as below standard has ballooned, causing BoW (both the company and the employees) to continue to deal with the aftermath.

The effect on BoW employees, from where I see it, has been negative. We are still working much harder, and under alot of stress to fix the mess, but we are not getting paid adequately to do it because the bank's profits have slipped significantly because of the merger.

This is a merger that should have never occurred if senior management had done its due diligence.

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Rosenfield in san diego, California

60 months ago

An Old Employee in Platte Center, Nebraska said: DO NOT WORK HERE. I worked there for 6 months and I have never seen such poor management in my life!!!!!!!!!!!!! Two people had left before me and "at least" 4 after me. The atmosphere is horrible - very unprofessional management (Bridgett) and unethical practices. You are more or less humiliated if you do not join in on the office gossip and constant backstabbing. All has been reported to corporate to no avail. Beware.

I have noticed unprofessional management and unethical pracitices in my area as well.
In my case all has been reported to corporate and still no improvement.

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Chandra Brown in Oakland, California

58 months ago

Host said: What do you think -- is this company going to survive and thrive? Are they looking to expand their staff, or do you think layoffs are inevitable?

How does Bank of the West stack up against the competition?

I agree with the comments already posted. There are clearly problems with management and ethics and when you go to HR they are not helpful. They usually support management and defend the bank even when they have clearly run afoul of the law rather than resolve problems and eliminate problem management.

Your personal sense of right and wrong lets you know that there are inappropriate employee violations taking place here but they have some policy or procedure to justify practices. When they can no longer justify their practices within the law and you challenge them, they will "find a justification" to get rid of you to protect themselves.

I also agree that due diligence was not conducted with some of the prior acquisitions which makes the workflow very difficult for employees in an environment where software etc is out of date. You work very hard long hours (long days, weekends and some holidays with no extra compensation or comp days) to get the work done with no reward or appreciation for it. But you will receive a gift: more work!!! You will certainly do the work of more than one person.

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Rosenfield in san diego, California

46 months ago

I agree. The atmosphere is horrible and the management is unethical. It is getting worse by the day because HR and upper management choose to ignore the problems with abusive managers.

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ram04 in Bakersfield, California

34 months ago

Did Bank Of The West acquire United California Bank that was located in Los Angeles, if so can any one tell me how I get a hold of management.
Any one with info will be appreciated.

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Rosenfield in san diego, California

26 months ago

Don't expect management at this bank to fix anything when you get a hold of them.

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