Bank of the West is a regional financial services company chartered in California and headquartered in San Francisco with $72.5 billion in assets as of June 30, 2015. Founded in 1874, Bank of the West provides a wide range of personal, commercial, wealth management and international banking services through more than 600 offices in 22 states and digital channels. As of September 2015, Bank of the West has $74 billion in assets and 9,800 employees. It has a five-star rating with Bauer Financial and an A+ rating with the BBB. The bank is a subsidiary of BNP Paribas, which has a presence in 75 countries with 185,000 employees.
Bank of the West offers three checking accounts: Premier Checking, Signature Checking, and Easy Checking. These are the main features.
Easy checking is an everyday account with a low minimum balance that doesn’t earn interest. There is an $8 monthly service fee if you enroll in online statements and a $10 monthly fee if you don’t. In any case, the fee is waived if you keep a monthly balance of $1,000, you receive a monthly deposit of $250, or you make ten purchases with your debit card during the month. There are fees for money orders, standard checks and stop payments.
Signature Checking is an interest-earning checking account (0.01% to 0.03% APY depending on balance). There is a $30 monthly fee that is waived if you maintain an average monthly balance of $15,000. There are no fee for money orders, standard checks and stop payments. Bank of the West doesn’t charge an out-of-network ATM fee. The bank that owns the ATM might charge a fee.
Bank of the West Premier Checking is a premium checking account that integrates banking and investing. The annual percentage yield is also 0.01% to 0.03% depending on your balance. There is also a $30 fee that is only waived if you maintain at least $50,000 combined average monthly balance in Bank of the West accounts. However, it has the following additional benefits:
- All ATM charges are waived
- Premier customer service
- Investment benefits and loan discounts
- Premier credit benefits through World Mastercard.
Bank of the West offers two savings accounts: Classic Savings and Choice Money Market Savings. These are the main features of each one.
Classic Savings is an interest-earning account with a minimum deposit of $25. The interest is only 0.01% APY, and there is a $5 monthly service fee. The fee can be waived if you maintain a $300 ($50 if you live in Minnesota) or transfer a minimum of $25 a month from a Bank of the West checking account.
Choice Money Market Savings offers higher interest rates and more customer benefits, as long as you also open a Bank of the West Signature Checking or Premier Checking account. Interest rates range from 0.03% to 0.20% APY. The minimum opening deposit is $100, and the monthly service fee is $15. You can avoid this fee if you maintain an average monthly balance of $5,000 or more, or you transfer $75 or more a month from a Bank of the West personal checking account.
This is what we like about Bank of the West:
- Competitive rates
- Low fees
- Easy to waive monthly service fees
- Low minimum deposit
- Wide selection of accounts
- Prime account holders get their ATM fees waived.
We didn’t like this about Bank of the West:
- Although higher than many banks, the APYs are still low
- Monthly service fees
- Basic checking account charges for money orders, standard checks and stop payments