I'd like to begin by saying that any information I have obtained I have confirmed through Westamerica Bank employees, former and current.
In this day and age everyone has to be careful where they put their money. Westamerica Bank, an established bank in California who boasts the most stability, is probably just as bad as any of those underhanded scam banks.
While I won't go out on a limb to say they won't last much longer, I will state some very... interesting facts.
The location on 5th Street in San Rafael, California, has security cameras, but does not have them operating. No, I don't mean they're broken, I mean they actually elect not to use them. Why? That I have not confirmed. A few tellers I know as friends say that the Bank President, David Payne, doesn't want to spend the money on surveillance equipment.
Reasoning? There's a police station down the street.
But does that stop people within the branch from stealing?
In less than a year of employment, one teller by the name of Leanne has literally lost thousands of customers money. In one given day there was a reported loss of $3000 from her till. Where's the money going? That's anyone's guess. After all, the branch manager, Rina Cresta, leaves the master keys laying about on desks, on the customer end of the counter, and other places where they could be easily taken.
Reporting these findings to customer service yields very little. Even approaching HR with the surveillance issue has them admit that they do not bother with recording bank activity.
Not to mention that the branch manager formerly worked as a manager at Wachovia, but was "let go".
It doesn't stop there.
After repeated issues with the bank providing me with disservice, I entered the bank and withdrew everything and told them to close my account. Even though I had closed my account with them, or so I demanded, three weeks later I received a statement saying I was feed for not having the minimum balance. According to bank policy, and as was depicted in the pamphlet I received when I opened the account, after 3 days of having no money in an account (zero balance) the account would be automatically closed.
I called, demanded to have the fee reversed and my account actually closed. Initially they said it was an error in the system, but they didn't touch on the fact that I requested my account closed and cut the debit card in front of the teller. The problem didn't get solved until I called the district manager and angrily threatened legal action.
So in short, I'd go with a different bank if you don't want the hassle. 3 out of 5 customer service clerks did not know how to file a police report when a friend was falsely charged, two claimed you couldn't even file.
Just go down the street to another bank.