Reasons Why Real Estate Investors Should NOT Use Bank of the West

1 Reply

Bank of the West has ticked me off an amazing amount of times given the small amount of business I currently do with them. So, I'm going to keep a running list of grievances here in a forum thread. Hopefully, this thread will give insight to other investors considering using Bank of the West's services.

Why I signed up for Bank of the West:

I signed up for Bank of the West because I inherited two tenants that had been paying rent with cash. While I plan to no longer accept cash as a form of rent payment when tenants are moved over to my lease over the next few months, these tenants had been paying rent with cash by going to the Bank of the West and depositing the funds directly in the prior Landlord's Account. To make life easy for these tenants, I opted to open an account at Bank of the West and allow my tenants to pay rent there in a similar fashion. Big Mistake.

Opening the Accounts:

Opening the Accounts was no big deal, except that I did not realize that I needed cash to open an account! I am a millennial and am used to opening bank accounts with ACH deposits. Enter my first $3.50 fee while I used their ATM to withdraw cash with which to open an account.

Online Banking: 

After a few months of rent collection, I wished to transfer some money out of this account to the checking account I use to pay the property's mortgage, in another bank. After getting through to the very end of this process and setting up my account, Bank of the West sneaks in a $3.00 "transfer" fee, for me to move MY OWN money from one bank account to the other. This was a simple ACH transfer, not a wire.

Deciding this was unreasonable, I opt to use their "Bill Pay" mechanism to "pay myself" since I of course, am transferring the money so as to pay a bill. This seems to work well.

The Final Straw:

A few days ago, my access to online banking was shut off, and I am unable to discern any reason for this whatsoever. When I called to resolve this, the online department told me that I must go to a branch because somehow, this branch will be exclusively managing my account. When I called the branch to confirm this, they tried to transfer me to the online banking department.

I will be heading to Bank of the West sometime this week to shut my account and open an account with a competitor a few blocks away where my tenants can still conveniently pay rent. And, I will be making sure that my dissatisfaction with them is made public so that other real estate investors can benefit from my bad experience. 

And my other bank is Wells Fargo! They do a great job. Go figure.

This thread is my own opinion and does not reflect any opinions or views of BiggerPockets.com. It is my personal experience and opinion. 

Thanks for the insight.  I have ran into some stupid banking practices over the years so I can relate.

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