Entire Staff of San Roque Union Bank Replaced

Thursday, May 16, 2013
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The entire staff of the San Roque branch of Union Bank, formerly Santa Barbara Bank & Trust (SBB&T), has been replaced, customers have reported. “What I can tell you,” said a spokesperson for the bank last week, “is that we made staffing changes there … but I can’t discuss the details behind those changes. This was the only branch that was impacted.” George Leis, who heads up the Central Coast division of the chain, said that he is “not at liberty to discuss” the changes, but they had nothing to do with the merger, and he would have made the same decision had he still been president of SBB&T. One customer claimed a new teller told her money was missing. No police report has been filed.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

Glad I left, I hope Union Bank fails in this area. My sympathies to the hardworking and loyal employees of the once upon a time great Santa Barbara Bank and Trust.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
May 16, 2013 at 3:10 p.m. (Suggest removal)

How can a whole branch be guilty?? Were they all high on drugs? Better start by looking at George Leis and Ed Birch whose mismanagement sucked a billion$ away from this bank's investors over 5 years. How can anyone in SB have respect for this institution?? Get the story of this latest fiasco!

toto1 (anonymous profile)
May 16, 2013 at 3:15 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Next they may want to burn the building to make sure the unidentified problem is resolved! Texas management!

toto1 (anonymous profile)
May 16, 2013 at 3:28 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Thankfully there are still locally owned banks and credit unions and we can send the Texans packin'

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
May 16, 2013 at 3:41 p.m. (Suggest removal)

This new bank is a nightmare!!! After a dozen good years, with no fees, at SBBT, Union Bank immediately added fees and screwed up my accounts with false withdrawals that they had to reimburse. I closed all my accounts at Union bank.

While I was closing my accounts, a man came in with a check issued by union bank. The teller wanted a $5 fee to cash their own check because he didn't have an union checking account.


Georgy (anonymous profile)
May 16, 2013 at 4:16 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Blood Suckers..

Byrd (anonymous profile)
May 16, 2013 at 9:46 p.m. (Suggest removal) another story, the IRS received a fresh influx of monetary payments from a defunct SBBT that was taken over by Union Bank and Trust......

dou4now (anonymous profile)
May 17, 2013 at 8:51 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I've had my business account at SBB&T for over 12-years. It was sad to see everything transformed to Union. Santa Barbara is becoming homogenized and losing it's unique charm. As a local business owner, I struggle everyday to continue operating. I grew up in Santa Barbara and strive to patron only local businesses. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be as much customer loyalty anymore.

I have two competitors in bail bonds that are vying to be the Walmart of the industry. Some of my former clients go to these other companies, which is disheartening. My competitors only take from the area and don't give back. I live here, shop here, pay taxes, vote and stay involved with the local community. They only hire employees who may or may not live in the area.

Please keep it local.

805bailbonds (anonymous profile)
May 17, 2013 at 9:32 a.m. (Suggest removal)

"One customer claimed a new teller told her money was missing."

If Union Bank had evidence specific employees were stealing, I'd assume they'd file criminal charges. Unless they wanted to avoid publicity (that horse has already left the barn).

If the bank didn't have evidence, then I wonder if there's a potential for a lawsuit.

Or maybe this is a cost reduction move. Are the new employees younger than the original staff?

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
May 17, 2013 at 11:18 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Union Bank made a big show about how they wanted to continue to be a "community bank" which was obviously complete B.S. - glad to hear people are pulling away from banking at Union, they seem awful. And thanks George for being such a man of honor - really, it was your plan to sack the entire staff of the San Roque branch? What a wonderful person you are.

dianalawton (anonymous profile)
May 17, 2013 at 11:19 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Or ... if missing means "lost" (implying incompetance) then maybe this is all legit. Seems odd to implicate an entire branch staff though.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
May 17, 2013 at 11:21 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I could tell almost immediately. The bank is owned by cheats now.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
May 17, 2013 at 12:07 p.m. (Suggest removal)

California is an "at will" employment state so they can be let go for any reason that does not violate basic rules against discrimination.
After SBB&T let that slimeball Melchiori drag them down everyone should have pulled out their money anyway. There are local banks that give great service; I use one myself for this very reason.

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
May 17, 2013 at 12:09 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Was SBBT something sacred? When they ran out of real local talent they turned management over to Birch, Thomas and Leis - none with any real banking talent. Thomas was fired over the IRS refund loan program (got $$$ for his shares!), then rehired to run Montecito branch! Ford and the Japanese Union Bank may be making mistakes, but the REAL errors were with the trio of incompetence listed above. Santa Barbarans lost a billion $ in SBBT stock thanks to their lack of talent. Huttenback fired Birch from UCSB and Leis (after Northridge) worked for Deutsche Bank where he glad handed old ladies! Neither had banking talent. Ford bought it for next to nothing after an all night meeting with Leis where Leis was probably beaten to death - with an annual meeting the next morning! What bozo's!

toto1 (anonymous profile)
May 17, 2013 at 1:21 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Sad to see all of my bankers from San roque gone, Union has no idea what talent they have lost those employees were not just our bankers they were our trusted advisors. Its obvious Union does not understand the impact in this community. The only reason I left my accounts with Union after the merger was because I banked with these people, who not only helped me but frequent my business. I am closing my personal accts and my business accts as soon as I know where my bankers from San Roque have gone. I hope that a local community bank hire them so that I can keep my money local, no more Japanese Bank for me! The suits at Union should let George go after all he is no longer the President some guy in Japan is.

money4meyes (anonymous profile)
May 20, 2013 at 8:43 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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