Santa Barbara Bank & Trust branch at Carrillo and Anacapa Streets

Paul Wellman (file)

Santa Barbara Bank & Trust branch at Carrillo and Anacapa Streets

Grim Friday Comes for SBB&T Employees

Bank’s New Owner Slashes Half the Jobs

Friday, November 30, 2012
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Just one day before Union Bank took possession of Santa Barbara Bank & Trust in a $1.5 billion buyout, nearly half the bank’s employees got notices that their jobs would be eliminated. When the dust settles, 468 employees will be laid off and another 570 will still be working.

Most of the cuts will take place in Santa Barbara proper, said Dan Weidman of Union Bank. Of those, 80 percent will be asked to work through to the end of next April, but of the remaining 20 percent, Weidman declined to state when their last day would be or what kind of severance package they would be given.

Tim Wennes, vice chairman of Union Bank (left) and George Leis, President and COO of Santa Barbara Bank & Trust
Click to enlarge photo

Paul Wellman

Tim Wennes, vice chairman of Union Bank (left) and George Leis, President and COO of Santa Barbara Bank & Trust

Weidman did say that most of the retained jobs would involve positions where the bank employee interacts directly with customers. Layoffs were expected — and even acknowledged — when it was announced that Union Bank would take over the long-ailing Santa Barbara Bank & Trust, once an iconic institution of the Santa Barbara business community.

Over time, it expanded well beyond the South Coast, as far north as San Jose and as far south as Ventura County. When the recessionary crash came, the bank found itself dangerously overextended. When the buyout was announced, it was understood that some layoffs would occur, but the actual number was never disclosed.

The magnitude of the cuts remains startling. Weidman said the bank would not provide information detailing how much money the bank would save through these layoffs. He did say that laid-off employees would be given an opportunity to apply for 175 openings in Union Bank operations located between Los Angeles and San Jose.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

That poor bank got ran into the ground. A lot of great people working in the branches too, shame if not criminal.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
November 30, 2012 at 12:15 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Merry x-mas to all you fat cat bankers

sbsurfguy (anonymous profile)
November 30, 2012 at 1:56 p.m. (Suggest removal)

When the times are good and bad, the people at the top make out like bandits. When times are bad, employees have to pay. Privatize the profits; socialize the losses.

tabatha (anonymous profile)
November 30, 2012 at 2 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Karma. SBBT can kma. They refused to work with us on a short sale even though we had several offers at market value. Forclosed on us anyway.

mcblaze (anonymous profile)
November 30, 2012 at 4:08 p.m. (Suggest removal)

No mas Banco de Mitsubishi

John_Adams (anonymous profile)
November 30, 2012 at 5:15 p.m. (Suggest removal)

So true tabatha.

I wonder how big George Leis' M&A bonus will be?

Probably not as much as Gerald Ford made on his $500M privatization of SBBT ... that netted him $647M when he flipped it to UNB.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
November 30, 2012 at 6 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"Probably not as much as Gerald Ford made on his $500M privatization of SBBT ... that netted him $647M when he flipped it to UNB"

Did he take it with him after he died?

billclausen (anonymous profile)
November 30, 2012 at 6:17 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Texas banker Gerald J. Ford :)

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
November 30, 2012 at 7:25 p.m. (Suggest removal)

If only there were a Proposition 30 to fund bank employees!

WooWoo (anonymous profile)
November 30, 2012 at 8:53 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Very sad for all those who are losing their jobs.

Native1 (anonymous profile)
November 30, 2012 at 9:11 p.m. (Suggest removal)

SBB&T always had the nicest tellers, it was personal, I doubt the new bank will be the same, so very sad. Bank of A. Levy was another great local bank but never the same after First Interstate purchased it.

howgreenwasmyvalley (anonymous profile)
December 1, 2012 at 8:59 a.m. (Suggest removal)

What a tragic history for a bank founded by talented responsible businessmen, destroyed by talentless management by Thomas, Leis and Ed Birch, raped by a Texas billionaire who bargained until 6AM with the incompetent executives. At 10AM they announced the agreement with Ford which dropped the stock (owned by thousands of Santa Barbarans including employees) from $30 to 20 cents! Ford then sold his new investment to the Japanese for 45 cents a share ($45 after the REVERSE split!) and pocketed a huge profit! Leis, Birch, Thomas and Ford count their profits and shareholders, former employees and employees look to a miserable future.
How sad for Santa Barbara and misguided capitalism.

toto1 (anonymous profile)
December 1, 2012 at 9:46 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I wonder how Ford pulled off his coup?

Union Bank wouldn't have touched SBBT prior to Ford's takeover, their debt-to-capital ratio was probably subpar. So my guess is Ford used his own money to capitalize SBBT which allowed them to participate in TARP and take more debt off their books.

At that point, SBBT would look like a better deal to Union/Mitsubish. But was the purchase price enough for Ford to recover his capitilization investment?

I'm also curious if SBBT held onto the mortgages they originated or if they were selling them into secondary markets? If the latter, they might have been contributing to the creation of derivatives like CDO's.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
December 1, 2012 at 12:06 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The TARP aid came long before Ford. What did Ford do to deserve hundreds of millions of dollars profit? The bank was run by idiots!

toto1 (anonymous profile)
December 1, 2012 at 3:23 p.m. (Suggest removal)

After doing business with SBB&T since I moved here 27 years ago I think it is time to transfer all my business and accounts to Santa Barbara County Federal Credit Union. I would urge all of you to do so. Go check them out they are at 2623 DeLaVina

Noletaman (anonymous profile)
December 2, 2012 at 8:19 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Noletaman and I are in the same boat. After decades with SBB&T, I moved all my banking to Golden One Credit Union in Goleta. I couldn't be happier. Go do it yourself.

SezMe (anonymous profile)
December 3, 2012 at 12:47 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I think there'll be an unspoken boycott of Union Bank in this area for quite some time.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
December 4, 2012 at 3:22 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The job creators strike again.

TrailHacker (anonymous profile)
December 4, 2012 at 6:34 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Where would the jobs be if Ford had not taken a chance with his own money to bail things out?

What was the value to him to put his money somewhere else, instead of rescuing at least part of the existing SBBT network?

The banksters/occupy/1% blame game crowd never met a payroll. Thank you Ford, for stepping up when it looks like the lights would be out forever at SBBT.

No wonder so many people claim they can't afford to live in Santa Barbara. They exhibit no fiscal common sense as shown by most of the prior comments.

Guess what, waiting for Mommy and Daddy's inheritance is no longer a life plan because you just voted Obama back in who promised he will cut inheritance tax exemptions. Mommy and Daddy now plan to spend that money on themselves, rather than hand it over to the government to "redistribute" to the 47% moocher crowd.

Oh well. Elections do have consequences.

Oblati (anonymous profile)
December 7, 2012 at 4:36 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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