Overall institution rating
Editor's note, Sept. 13, 2023: Bank of the West was acquired by BMO (formerly BMO Harris) in February 2023. As of Sept. 5, 2023, Bank of the West deposit accounts have transitioned to BMO accounts, and Bank of the West branches are now BMO branches. A detailed FAQ with more information is available on the BMO website.
You won't pay a lot to use Bank of the West's basic checking and savings accounts: Minimum opening deposits are low, and you can waive monthly fees by receiving a single deposit each statement cycle or maintaining a relatively low minimum balance. Fees are also waived for younger customers.
But you won't get a lot back, either. Rates on savings and CDs are well below what you’ll find with online competitors (who offer about 40 to 50 times more in interest). And you might have a hard time finding a branch: The bank operates mostly in Western states, though it does have a handful of branches in other locations stretching as far as the Midwest. You'll have the best shot at a branch nearby if you live in California.
Best for: Those who need a brick-and-mortar bank in California and are looking for accounts with monthly fees that are easy to waive and have low requirements for opening deposits.
» Want higher yields? Check out NerdWallet's favorite high-yield online savings accounts.
- Easy-to-waive monthly fees and low minimum opening deposits on basic accounts.
- Low interest rates on savings and CDs.
- Limited branches and ATM network.
NerdWallet’s overall ratings for banks and credit unions are weighted averages of several categories: checking, savings, certificates of deposit or credit union share certificates, banking experience and overdraft fees. Factors we consider, depending on the category, include rates and fees, ATM and branch access, account features and limits, user-facing technology, customer service and innovation. The stars represent ratings from poor (one star) to excellent (five stars). Ratings are rounded to the nearest half-star.