I’ve been a customer of the San Roque branch of Santa Barbara Bank & Trust for at least 30 years, maybe 35. My family’s personal accounts are there, and most of the business accounts for Courtland-Dane Management Group as well.

I wasn’t thrilled about the Union Bank buyout, but change is a fact of life and I was willing to give it a try, having been assured by branch personnel that the faces would stay the same.

Imagine my surprise when I walked into the branch this afternoon and there was not one familiar face in the entire bank. In an odd twist, I went to the branch specifically to complain about treatment I’d just received at the downtown drive-through plaza, expecting sympathy and assurances it wouldn’t happen at San Roque. What I found was no Erin, no Justin, no Ale, no Travis, nobody I’d ever seen before, but several blonde 40-somethings, none looking very happy.

I walked out looking bewildered, I guess, because a neighboring merchant said, “Everyone was fired yesterday. Everyone.”

I don’t know if versions of this scenario happened throughout the old SBB&T system, but if so there is certainly a lot of banking talent on the market suddenly. I’m glad I have hands-free for my cell phone because I used the drive back to my office to start making calls to other local banking institutions to find out who wants my business.

Judy Ricker, president
Courtland-Dane Management Group Inc.
Santa Barbara