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Bank of the West Review

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by Lauren Perez Updated
Bank of the West

On the whole, Bank of the West doesn’t offer any really outstanding interest rates. To snag the bank’s highest rates, you’ll have to open a long-term CD or link a couple accounts together to earn at Relationship Rates. Except for a few online banks, this is also the case with most other banks we have reviewed. 

Bank of the West also charges monthly fees for each of its bank accounts, except its personal CDs. There are ways to waive these fees, by meeting certain requirements like high account balances. 

Also important to note is that Bank of the West is not available to everyone in the U.S. For now at least, the bank operates only in 19 states in the Southwest, Midwest, West Coast and Rocky Mountain regions. Those who bank in these areas will have easy access to their accounts at physical locations, online and on mobile. 

Products Offered

Product Key Details
Savings Accounts
  • Lowest interest rate
  • Low monthly fee that can be waived 
Certificates of Deposit
  • Three account options: Flexible-Term CD, Relationship CD and Premium Money Market CD
  • High minimum deposit requirements 
  • Wide variety of term lengths available from 32 days to 60 months 
Money Market Accounts
  • Minimum deposit requirement and a monthly fee (waivable)
  • Two Relationship Rates tiers available, depending on the checking account you pair 
  • Highest non-CD interest rates 
Checking Accounts
  • Two account options: Any Deposit Checking and Premier Checking
  • No minimum deposit requirements 
  • Premier Checking account includes a ton of extra perks and benefits 
IRAs
  • Three account options: Premium Money Market IRA CD, Flexible IRA CD and IRA Add-On CD
  • Higher interest rates 
  • $100 minimum deposits 
  • $12 annual fees
  • Various term lengths available

Bank of the West Interest Rate Comparison

Bank of the West Overview

Bank of the West has been in the business since 1874 when it started in California as Farmers National Gold Bank. The bank took on its current name about 100 years later in 1979, reflecting its expansion outside of California. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of BNP Paribas. Additionally, Bank of the West wholly owns the subsidiary BancWest Investment Services. 

Today, the bank strives to maintain its local feel and superior customer service to give its customers a better banking experience. At the moment, Bank of the West offers branches and its products to a limited area. The following states are able to bank with Bank of the West: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming. 

Bank of the West Account Features

Bank of the West offers its customers the ease of online and mobile banking. When you access your account online, you can track your spending and budgets, pay bills, transfer money, set up email and text alerts and more.

Much of the same is also true when you bank on the mobile app. However, you can also deposit checks on the go, log in with your fingerprint, see your balances with the swipe of a finger and even scan bill stubs to make payments. 

Most of the following bank accounts have minimum deposit requirements and charge monthly fees. It’s important to check those out so you don’t get blindsided when you open an account. 

Bank of the West Classic Savings Account

Key Features Details
Minimum Deposit $25
Access to Your Savings Account Online, mobile, over the phone and at physical branches.
Security FDIC insurance up to the maximum amount allowed by law. 
Fees $5 monthly fee, waivable with one of the following
  • Use auto-save to set up recurring monthly transfers of at least $25 from your Bank of the West personal checking account
  • Maintain an average monthly balance of at least $300 ($50 in Minnesota) 
  • A primary account holder aged 18 or younger
Current Terms and Rates Rates based on the state of California: 0.01% APY

This savings account from Bank of the West certainly lives up to its name, offering a classic and simple take on savings. There is a low (and pretty standard) minimum deposit requirement, as well as a low monthly fee. However, you can have the fee waived in a few ways, including by maintaining an average monthly balance of at least $300 ($50 in Minnesota).

While the account earns at the lowest interest rate in the industry, you won’t face fees for deposits and withdrawals when you make them at a branch or ATM. As a savings account, you’re limited to six outgoing transactions per statement cycle. Each transaction over that limit will incur a $15 fee. 

Bank of the West Flexible-Term CD (Certificate of Deposit)

Key Features Details
Minimum Deposit $1,000
Access to Your CD Online, mobile, over the phone and at physical branches.
Security FDIC insurance up to the maximum amount allowed by law. 
Fees No monthly fees, although you can face penalty fees for early withdrawal.
Current Terms and Rates Rates based on the state of California
  • 32 - 89 Day: 0.05% APY
  • 90 - 179 Day: 0.03% APY
  • 180 - 364 Day: 0.09% APY
  • 12 - 23 Month: 0.12% APY
  • 24 - 35 Month: 0.45% APY
  • 36 - 47 Month: 0.55% APY
  • 48 - 60 Month: 0.65% APY

This certificate of deposit option from Bank of the West allows you to choose from a number of term lengths. You can open anything from a 32-day CD for short-term savings goals to a 60-month CD for a longer-term savings project. To take advantage of the term variety, you may even want to ladder your CDs for maximum savings since the rates aren’t the highest. 

Interest in this CD is calculated daily and compounded monthly. As with most CDs, you cannot access your funds until it reaches the end of its term, known as its maturity date. You’ll have a 10-day grace period after the maturity date to make deposits, withdrawals or transfers. Otherwise, the account will simply renew automatically at the same term length. 

If you desperately need the money in your CD account, you’ll face a penalty fee for early withdrawal. If your CD is from 32 days to 11 months, your penalty will be $25 plus 1% of the amount withdrawn. For accounts of 12 to 59 months, the penalty is $25 plus 3% of the amount withdrawn. For accounts of 60 months or longer, you’ll pay 730 days of simple interest. 

You cannot open a Bank of the West CD online. You will have to visit your local branch to open an account. 

Bank of the West Relationship CD (Certificate of Deposit)

Key Features Details
Minimum Deposit $2,500
Access to Your CD Online, mobile, over the phone and at physical branches.
Security FDIC insurance up to the maximum amount allowed by law. 
Fees No monthly fees, although you can face penalty fees for early withdrawal.
Current Terms and Rates Rates based on the state of California
  • 12 Month: 0.20% APY

The Relationship CD gets its name for requiring customers to also have either a Signature Checking or Bank of the West Premier Checking account. This CD also only comes with one term length of 12 months. After 12 months, you’ll have a 10-day grace period to make any changes to your account. If you don’t take any action, the account will automatically renew with the current rate. 

It’s important to note that the minimum deposit here is higher than the Flexible-Term CDs. This will help you earn more, though, since the interest rate isn’t the highest. 

Again, any early withdrawals will face a penalty. CDs from 32 days to 11 months incur a penalty of $25 plus 1% of the amount withdrawn. For accounts of 12 to 59 months, the penalty is $25 plus 3% of the amount withdrawn. For accounts of 60 months or longer, you’ll pay 730 days of simple interest. 

You cannot open a Bank of the West CD online. You will have to visit your local branch to open an account. 

Bank of the West Premium Money Market CD (Certificate of Deposit)

Key Features Details
Minimum Deposit $2,500
Access to Your CD Online, mobile, over the phone and at physical branches.
Security FDIC insurance up to the maximum amount allowed by law. 
Fees No monthly fees, although you can face penalty fees for early withdrawal.
Current Terms and Rates Rates based on the state of California
  • 91 Day: 0.03% APY
  • 182 Day: 0.09% APY
  • 8 Month: 0.11% APY
  • 10 Month: 0.11% APY
  • 12 Month: 0.12% APY
  • 13 Month: 0.15% APY
  • 14 Month
    • Account balances of $2,500 - $24,999: 0.15% APY
    • Account balances of $25,000 and over: 1.75% APY
  • 15 Month: 0.20% APY
  • 16 Month: 0.75% APY
  • 18 Month: 0.27% APY
  • 24 Month: 0.45% APY
  • 60 Month: 0.80% APY

The Bank of the West Premium Money Market CD offers a more limited selection of term lengths. However, these accounts offer slightly higher rates than their Flexible-Term CD counterparts. All accounts compound interest monthly, except the 14-month term which compounds interest daily. 

With higher interest rates, you’ll want to avoid making any early withdrawals. These will cost you a penalty, often losing you the interest the account earned in the first place. If you have an account from 32 days to 11 months, you’ll incur a penalty fee of $25 plus 1% of the amount withdrawn. Accounts from 12 to 59 months charge a penalty of $25 plus 3% of the amount withdrawn. For 60-month accounts, you’ll pay 730 days of simple interest. 

You cannot open a Bank of the West CD online. You will have to visit your local branch to open an account. 

Bank of the West Choice Money Market Account

Key Features Details
Minimum Deposit $100
Access to Your Money Market Account Online, mobile, over the phone and at physical branches.
Security FDIC insurance up to the maximum amount allowed by law. 
Fees $15, waivable with one of the following 
  • Use auto-save to make recurring monthly transfers of at least $75 from your Bank of the West personal checking account
  • Maintain an average monthly balance of at least $5,000
  • Maintain a Bank of the West Premier Checking Account
Current Standard Terms and Rates Rates based on the state of California
  • Account balances of $0.01 - $9,999: 0.02% APY
  • Account balances of $10,000 - $24,999: 0.04% APY
  • Account balances of $25,000 - $49,999: 0.05% APY
  • Account balances of $50,000 - $249,999: 0.07% APY 
  • Account balances of $250,000 - $999,999: 0.10% APY
  • Account balances of $1,000,000 and over: 0.11% APY
Current Relationship Terms and Rates with an Easy Checking or Choice Interest Checking Account Rates based on the state of California
  • Account balances of $0.01 - $9,999: 0.04% APY
  • Account balances of $10,000 - $49,999: 0.11% APY
  • Account balances of $50,000 - $99,999: 0.14% APY 
  • Account balances of $100,000 - $249,999: 0.17% APY
  • Account balances of $250,000 - $499,999: 0.16% APY
  • Account balances of $500,000 and over: 0.14% APY
Current Relationship Terms and Rates with a Premier Checking Account or Signature Checking Account Rates based on the state of California
  • Account balances of $0.01 - $9,999: 0.04% APY
  • Account balances of $10,000 - $24,999: 0.13% APY
  • Account balances of $25,000 - $49,999: 0.16% APY
  • Account balances of $50,000 - $249,999: 0.25% APY 
  • Account balances of $250,000 - $499,999: 0.18% APY
  • Account balances of $500,000 and over: 0.14% APY

You have a number of opportunities to earn higher and higher interest rates with a Bank of the West Choice Money Market account. For starters, you should link your money market account to a Bank of the West checking account. That will unlock a whole new set of balance tiers. The exact rates will depend on the checking account you open and link. Further, there’s a balance sweet spot for each set of rate tiers. For example, if you link a Premier Checking account and your money market account has a balance of $50,000, you’ll earn at the highest rate possible with a Choice Money Market account. 

When you have this money market account, you’ll never face fees for deposits and withdrawals you make at a branch or ATM. Don’t forget that as a savings account, money market accounts still limit your outgoing transactions to six per statement cycle. 

Bank of the West Any Deposit Checking Account

Key Features Details
Minimum Deposit None
Access to Your Checking Account Online, mobile, over the phone and at physical branches.
Security FDIC insurance up to the maximum amount allowed by law. 
Fees $10 monthly fee, waivable with one of the following
  • Make any deposit each statement cycle
  • Any account owner under the age of 25

Bank of the West makes its simple checking account accessible to more customers with its “any deposit” amount allowances. You can open the account with any amount as your deposit. Plus, you can easily avoid the monthly fee by making a deposit of any amount each statement cycle. There is no minimum you need to meet to save your money. 

You also get to save in a few other ways, like with the Overdraft Fee Eraser. This allows you to request one refund for an overdraft or returned item fee per year. You won’t even face an overdraft fee if you overdraw by $5 or less. 

As a checking account, you’ll receive a free Mastercard® debit card. You can use this card for free at any Bank of the West location or ATM. If you use any non-Bank of the West ATM, the bank will charge you $2.50 for each withdrawal. 

Bank of the West Premier Checking Account

Key Features Details
Minimum Deposit None
Access to Your Checking Account Online, mobile, over the phone and at physical branches.
Security FDIC insurance up to the maximum amount allowed by law. 
Fees $25 monthly fee, waivable with a combined average monthly balance of at least $25,000
Current Standard Terms and Rates Rates based on the state of California
  • Account balances of $0.01 - $24,999: 0.01% APY
  • Account balances of $25,000 and over: 0.02% APY

This interest-earning checking account offers customers with more perks than the bank’s other bank accounts combined. You’ll still have access to overdraft protection, buffers and fee erasers. But being a Premier client enables you to earn triple rewards points on a World Mastercard® credit card and use your Premier Mastercard® debit card at any ATM in the world for free. Your debit card will also carry higher transaction dollar limits, chip technology and fraud protection. You’ll have access to the Premier Dedicated Customer Service line, annual financial check-ups for our mortgages, retirement and investment accounts, interest rate discounts on select consumer loans and bonus rates on CDs and money market accounts. 

Finally, you’ll have access to BancWest Investment Services, Bank of the West’s affiliated broker/dealer. Through BancWest, you can employ a financial advisor to help you understand and manage your money and investments. You’ll also be able to open a BancWest brokerage account and benefit from zero-commission buying and selling on 15 online equity and ETF trades each month. 

Bank of the West Premium Money Market IRA CD

Key Features Details
Minimum Deposit $100
Access to Your Checking Account Online, mobile, over the phone and at physical branches.
Security FDIC insurance up to the maximum amount allowed by law. 
Fees $12 annual fee
Current Standard Terms and Rates Rates based on the state of California
  • 91 Day: 0.03% APY
  • 182 Day: 0.09% APY
  • 8 Month: 0.11% APY
  • 12 Month: 0.12% APY
  • 18 Month: 0.27% APY
  • 24 Month: 0.45% APY

This IRA reflects the regular Premium Money Market CD, just with fewer term lengths available. With an IRA CD, your retirement savings get to grow at a set interest rate over a set term instead of according to your investments. You’ll still have the tax advantages of an IRA. 

As a CD, you’ll have to wait for the account’s maturity date to make any additional deposits. You have a 10-day grace period to take any action. Otherwise, the account will automatically renew according to the same terms. Interest is compounded monthly and can be paid monthly, quarterly, semi-annually or at maturity.

You’ll have to visit a bank branch to open this account. 

Bank of the West Flexible IRA CD

Key Features Details
Minimum Deposit $100
Access to Your Checking Account Online, mobile, over the phone and at physical branches.
Security FDIC insurance up to the maximum amount allowed by law. 
Fees $12 annual fee
Current Standard Terms and Rates Rates based on the state of California
  • 12 - 23 Month: 0.12% APY
  • 24 - 35 Month: 0.45% APY
  • 48 - 60 Month: 0.65% APY

This account mirrors the regular Flexible-Term CD, only with fewer available term lengths. The shortest term you can open as an IRA with this account is 12 months. However, it would really boost your retirement savings to open an account between 48 and 60 months since those accounts carry the highest rate. 

Again, this account allows you to benefit from having a set CD term and interest rate added onto the tax advantages of an IRA. Interest is compounded daily and is paid monthly, quarterly, semi-annually or at maturity. You can make additional deposits to the account once it reaches maturity. 

You’ll need to visit a bank branch to open this IRA option. 

Bank of the West IRA Add-On CD

Key Features Details
Minimum Deposit $100
Access to Your Checking Account Online, mobile, over the phone and at physical branches.
Security FDIC insurance up to the maximum amount allowed by law. 
Fees $12 annual fee
Current Standard Terms and Rates Rates based on the state of California - 0.12% APY

Unlike other CD accounts, this 12-month IRA Add-On CD will allow you to make additional deposits before the account’s maturity date. These additional deposits must be at least $100, but you can make them at any time. They will earn interest at the rate the account earned when you opened it. It’s important to remember that this account is still an IRA. That makes it subject to IRA contribution limits that you have to be aware of. Exceeding these limits can get you into some trouble with the IRS. 

Where Can I Find Bank of the West?

You can physically find the bank in 19 states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming. 

At the moment, only those who bank in these states can open an account with the bank. If you’re one of these people, you can also find Bank of the West online, on mobile and over the phone.

What Can You Do Online With Bank of the West?

You can do most of your banking online with Bank of the West. Luckily, the bank has a thorough and easy-to-navigate website so you can quickly find the information you’re looking for. You can open all the bank accounts online, except CDs and IRAs. The bank’s website also has a live chat feature available from every page. You may have to wait a couple minute to be connected with a chat representative, but from there you can ask your questions. 

Once you have an account, you can sign into your online banking account from any page. This will require you to sign up for online access so you can set up a unique username and password. 

Also, while anyone can access the bank’s website, like SmartAsset in New York, only customers who live in the 19 states the bank services will be able to open an account online (or at a branch). 

How Do I Access My Money?

You can access your money wherever you can find the bank. This means at a branch, ATM, online, over the phone or on its mobile app. Whenever you want to access your money at an ATM, you’ll need your Bank of the West debit (or credit) card and PIN. Be ready to have your personal and account information ready when you want to access your money through any other method. 

Online and mobile banking both allow you to check on your balances, make transfers, deposit checks and more. The mobile app is also equipped with security measures like Touch ID. 

How Can I Save More Money With a Bank of the West Account?

Bank of the West’s accounts don’t earn at the highest rates. This makes it harder to save more money right off the bat. To earn at the highest rates the bank can offer, you’ll want to open longer-term CDs, like a 60-month Premium Money Market CD. Otherwise, you’ll typically need high account balances and/or accounts linked together to snag Relationship Rates. 

What’s the Process for Opening an Account With Bank of the West?

It’s important to remember that only customers in the following states can open an account with Bank of the West: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

If you qualify, you can open all of the above Bank of the West accounts online except its CDs and IRAs. You will have to visit a branch to open these accounts. 

The process of opening an account typically takes 10 minutes to complete, starting on the page shown here. No matter how you apply, you’ll always need to provide personal information including your Social Security number, date of birth, your mother’s maiden name, home address, employment status and more.

What’s the Catch? 

If you haven’t guessed from the bank’s name, it is only available to customers who live in the Western and Midwestern regions. So if you live in New York, for example, and wanted to open an account, you’re out of luck. 

The catch for those who are eligible to open an account is that Bank of the West doesn’t offer the best rates in the industry. Most accounts have interest rates well below the national average. These accounts also have high minimum deposit requirements and monthly fees.

Bottom Line

Bank of the West has one of the best bank websites of the banks we’ve reviewed. You can easily find the account information you need to know no matter which account you’re considering. The bank also maintains a more local and personal feel, which makes sense since it serves only 19 states. You can still find a variety of bank accounts, though. 

Still, due to its limited reach, the bank can’t offer the most competitive interest rates in the industry. If you want the highest possible rates from the jump, you may want to check out other banks, especially online-only banks.

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