Bank of the West
|Headquarters||180 Montgomery Street
San Francisco (with major support centers in Omaha and Fargo)
|Key people||Michael Shepherd, Chairman & CEO|
|Revenue||US$2.62 billion (2008)|
|Net income||US$92 million (2008)|
Bank of the West is a diversified financial services holding company, headquartered in San Francisco, California. It is a subsidiary of BNP Paribas. The bank has more than 700 branches in the Midwest and Western United States.
Bank of the West began as Farmers National Gold Bank of San Jose, California, in 1874. When all bank notes became convertible to gold or silver in 1880, the bank converted from a gold national bank and changed its name to the First National Bank of San Jose, California.
In 1970, Banque Nationale de Paris (BNP) established the French Bank of California. Later that decade, First National Bank of San Jose changed its name to Bank of the West. In 1979, BNP bought Bank of the West and merged in the French Bank of California.
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Bank of the West bought several other banks and branches. In 1987, Bank of the West bought Bank of Los Gatos.[Note 1] This was followed by the 1990 purchase of Central Banking Systems; the 1991 purchase of 30 branches in northern California from failed Imperial Savings and Loan; the 1992 purchase of Atlantic Financial Federal Savings Bank from the Resolution Trust Corporation; the 1993 purchase of 15 branches in northern California from Citibank; the 1995 purchase of NorthBay Savings Bank, headquartered in Petaluma, California; and the 1997 purchase of branches from Bank of America and Coast Federal Bank.
In 1995, First Hawaiian Bank established Pacific One Bank to hold 30 branches in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho that it acquired from West One Bank when that bank was acquired by U.S. Bancorp and had to divest certain assets, due to the number of preexisting branches of U.S. Bank in the region. Three years later, in 1998, BNP and First Hawaiian Inc., the parent of First Hawaiian Bank and Pacific One Bank, created a company under the BancWest Bancorp name to hold Bank of the West and First Hawaiian Bank, with Bank of the West absorbing Pacific One. The creation of BancWest Bancorp caused the now-called BNP Paribas’ (BNPP) ownership of the holding company to fall to 45%. BNPP also agreed not to increase its ownership of the bank holding company before November 2001.
In 1999, Bank of the West bought Sierra West Bancorp. This transaction temporarily diluted BNPP’s ownership of the holding company to 42%.
In 2001, as part of the regulatory approval process with Wells Fargo Banks's acquisition of First Security Corp., Bank of the West acquired 23 First Security branches in New Mexico and 7 First Security branches in Nevada to avoid anti-trust issues with overlapping Wells Fargo operations. Also in 2001, First Hawaiian Bank bought Union Bank of California’s branches in Guam and Saipan. First Hawaiian had established its first branch in Guam in 1970 and its first branch in Saipan in 1997. (Union Bank of California had established its branch in Guam in 1974.) In May 2001, the independent directors of BancWest Bancorp established a special committee that then unanimously voted to accept BNP’s offer to acquire the remaining 55% of BancWest Bancorp, making the holding company a wholly owned subsidiary of BNP. The year 2001 concluded with the December purchase by Bank of the West of United California Bank from UFJ Bank, of Japan.
In March 2004, Bank of the West announced the purchase of Community First Bankshares, a bank holding company that operated Community First National Bank, headquartered in Fargo, North Dakota, which had 155 offices in 12 states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Soon after, Bank of the West agreed to buy USDB Bancorp, the parent of Union Safe Deposit Bank.  In December 2005, Bank of the West bought Commercial Federal Corporation of Omaha, Nebraska. This merger added offices in Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and Oklahoma to Bank of the West.
- Bank of Los Gatos had been founded in 1883. When Bank of the West bought it in 1987 it had failed.