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Hundreds of SBB&T Employees Being Laid Off

UPDATE – Santa Barbara Bank & Trust issued the following statement late Friday afternoon, “Union Bank will retain 570 Santa Barbara Bank & Trust employees, including most customer-facing positions across the bank.

468 positions will be eliminated over the course of the next twelve months. 80 percent of those whose positions have been eliminated will not depart the bank until at least April 30, 2013.

Union Bank currently has 175 open positions from Los Angeles to San Jose for which impacted employees can apply. This year, Union Bank filled 2,400 positions in California.” The layoffs are part of the consolidation between SBB&T and Union Bank.

KEY News learned that the notifications started going out Wednesday. “I think most people were expecting the worst but had hope that this wasn’t going to be the case because there was not clear communication, no heads up of what your employment status would be. I think a lot of people went in with optimism and definitely were shut down,” said an anonymous employee.

Bank employees called KEY News all day on Thursday to say they are being laid off. One employee who only wanted to be identified as a “soon to be former” employee of Santa Barbara Bank & Trust said the “meetings” that were held on Wednesday and those being held throughout the day on Thursday were meant to notify employees that their jobs are being eliminated.

Employees who were called to the morning meetings at Campus Pointe and downtown are being told the layoffs are effective in 60 days. They still must show up for work until then. Employees who were called to the afternoon meetings are being informed that their jobs are being eliminated and they must work through March or April. This employee said there were fewer people at the morning meetings, but the afternoon meetings were packed. They estimated as many as 70 employees were laid off yesterday with more to come today.

Another employee who wanted to remain anonymous told KEY News the employees were called into the meetings in groups of 20 and given the bad news. Everyone we spoke with said the timing is terrible coming just weeks before Christmas.

Union Bank’s $1.5 billion dollar acquisition of Santa Barbara Bank and Trust’s parent company is slated to close December 1st. “Santa Barbara Bank and Trust had done such a good job of being a community bank and the people sitting in that meeting were the community. So, it was just really sad,” said the anonymous employee.

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