SACC-SF/SV Organizational Sponsor, Bank of the West’s history of serving the Bay Area community and contributing to economic growth in Northern California began in 1874. The bank was founded as Farmers National Gold Bank of San Jose just a little over two decades after gold was discovered at Sutter’s Mill and in the same year that the Second San Francisco Mint, the “Granite Lady,” was completed. Both the Old Mint and the bank have stood solidly for 140 years through the Bay Area’s many transformations. While the Granite Lady no longer mints coins and now serves the community in other ways, Bank of the West continues to serve the Bay Area’s financial needs.

Just prior to the bank’s founding, the discovery of gold in California in 1849 had produced a localized economy like no other in the United States and San Francisco grew from a small settlement of some 200 residents to a boomtown of about 36,000. The bank that was to become Bank of the West was one out of ten national banks that, under the provisions of the Currency Act of 1870, were allowed to issue paper currency backed by gold reserves. Gold had become expected as payment and preferable in commerce   as a direct result of the discovery of gold in California.

The Gold Rush’s immense boost to the San Francisco economy and the massive influx of people from around the world during this time was to begin the Bay Area on its path toward becoming the West’s center for finance, entrepreneurship, innovation and investments. Farmers National Gold Bank of San Jose busied itself aiding the Bay Area’s early rapid development.

In 1880, when all US bank notes became convertible to gold or silver, the Farmers National Gold Bank of San Jose changed its name to the First National Bank of San Jose. Careful management and sound banking practices allowed the bank to continue to contribute to the Bay Area’s growth through the 1906 earthquake, the Great Depression and two World Wars. By 1979, the bank had grown to include 35 branches and $350 million in assets. In the same year, with a desire to provide “relationship banking” beyond the Bay Area, the bank changed its name to Bank of the West.

“From the aftermath of the Gold Rush to the Golden Era of Tech Entrepreneurs, Bank of the West has continued to serve the financial needs of the Bay Area and beyond.”

Bank of the West has now grown to include 700 branches and commercial banking offices across the West Coast, the Southwest, the Midwest and the Rocky Mountain States, and serves customers in all 50 states. One of the nation’s largest banks, Bank of the West takes pride in preserving its local feel and its commitment to serving the community by maintaining close interpersonal relationships. Over the past ten years, the bank has provided $79 billion in loans, investments and charitable contributions to support individuals, businesses and non-profits in lower income areas.

The bank aims to create sustainable economic growth by providing financial education, workforce development and affordable housing while at the same time supporting small businesses and entrepreneurs.

Many Local Commitments….

roadIn addition to its generous sponsorship of SACC-SF/SV, Bank of the West continues to support a large number of organizations and initiatives in the Bay Area. For example, it hosts the Stanford Classic, the world’s oldest women’s only tennis tournament in the world and the first tournament in the annual US Open series. Bank of the West has awarded a number of San Francisco based social entrepreneurs and non-profits with its prestigious Innovation Philanthropy Award, most recently to “Black Girls CODE,” an organization which introduces African-American, Hispanic and Native-American girls from ages seven to seventeen to basic computer programming and computer skills.

Julien Christiaens, Vice President, International Clientele Department
Phone:  (415) 399 8237