Golden State giant
Union Bank works in the consumer, small business, middle
market, real estate, corporate, correspondent and trade finance
markets, and also provides investment and financial management,
trust services, private banking, insurance and global custody
services. Its industry focus is concentrated mainly on the
communications, media, entertainment, energy, public utilities and
There are four major business lines at Union Bank.
Personal banking offers checking, savings, home equity, retirement
planning, online banking and estate planning to retail
customers. The wealth management division provides
investments, brokerage, trust administration, business services and
insurance. Small business services include cash management,
business financing, merchant card services and Internet banking,
Union Bank also provides specialized small business services to
nonprofit organizations and companies owned by women and
Finally, the commercial financial services division provides
business insurance, employee benefits, international trade and
foreign exchange services, cash management and loans, and financing
for mergers, acquisitions and other business operations.
The long and winding road
Follow a maze of Japanese and Californian mergers to arrive at
what is known as Union Bank, whose roots date back to 1864, when
the Bank of California, the first incorporated commercial bank in
the West, opened for business. Across the Pacific, in 1880,
the Yokohama Specie Bank was created in Japan. Many decades
later, in 1953, it renamed itself Bank of Tokyo and launched a San
Francisco subsidiary called the Bank of Tokyo California
(BOTC). Five years later, a Los Angeles-based bank called
Union Bank & Trust Company shortened its name to Union Bank,
which created a one-bank holding company called Union Bancorp in
Meanwhile, BOTC grew beyond San Francisco in 1975 when it
acquired Southern California First National Bank of San Diego and
renamed it California First. In 1984, the Bank of California
became a wholly owned subsidiary of Japan's Mitsubishi Bank Ltd.,
and in 1988, Union Bancorp was purchased by California First (but
kept the Union Bank name). In 1996, the Bank of California
and Union Bank combined their businesses under the Union Bank of
California name. Union Bank became the new holding company's
primary subsidiary, and Union Bank of California Corporation (often
referred to UnionBanCal) listed on the New York Stock Exchange in
1999. That same year, Mitsubishi Bank and the Bank of Tokyo
held a merger of their own, forming Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi
(BTM). In 2006, BTM merged with UFJ Bank, becoming the Bank
of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ. Mitsubishi Financial Group completed
its purchase of the remaining 33.6 percent of Union Bank of
California in November 2008. A month later, the firm
shortened its name to, simply, Union Bank.
Office Space [6.81]
● "Comfort is acceptable, decor is awful, location is
● "Basic cubes."
● "The desks are arranged for teamwork and an efficient flow
of communication. Also, the many windows and furnishings allow for
an open and inviting atmosphere on the floor."
● "Not the greatest, but not the worst."
Business Outlook [9.06]
● "Surviving the recession largely intact. The bank
is poised to make big advances in the next few years."
● "Our company keeps growing and is in healthy financial
● "It just bought another bank and is expecting more
● "The firm is positioned for growth. The specific
derivative structured products are gaining popularity with
● "Given recent economic conditions, many banks are hurting
significantly. But Union Bank, which is very conservative relative
to other large commercial banks, has survived this downturn
amazingly well and is making a move to be a big player in the near
● "We are owned by the Japanese-based Bank of
Tokyo-Mitsubishi and are no longer traded on the NYSE."
● "Good for an intern."
● "For someone who is less than two years out of college,
base salary is very good. However, bonuses are minimal, and I
didn't receive a signing bonus due largely to the recession."
● "The incentive bonuses are rather poor in comparison to
other commercial banks."
● "Compensation is acceptable but low compared to other
● "Great compensation while attending school. No bonuses
based on individual performance, and no reimbursement for attaining
● "I believe for the high level of expectations and
responsibilities, the compensation is low."
● "The compensation is very fairly matched to the
responsibilities required, especially in light of the flexibility
● "As far as I know, Union Bank pays below industry
standards. But you have to take that with a grain of salt: you work
40 hours per week in an easygoing environment, so if that fits your
lifestyle, you will be very thankful of the pay."
● "Free lunch."
● "Pension plan."
● "Low gym membership fee located at our corporate
● "The bank's relationship with other companies gives
employees discounts on our personal phone plans."
● "Vacation buyout."
Respondents also point out that the firm offers free car rides
home and dinner if working late, profit-sharing programs, moving
expense reimbursement, free parking, free or subsidized gym
memberships, telecommuting, flex-time, paternity leave and extended
Diversity with Respect to Women [8.75]; Minorities
[8.56]; GLBT [8.13]
● "The office floor is filled with women and
● "Men seem to be favored in this position."
● "The floor has a large diverse population of men and women
of all backgrounds and cultures. I believe that the diversity
results in a very well rounded, respectful culture on the
● "As far as I can tell, Union Bank is fair in their hiring.
In addition, I have seen many women and minorities in high-level
positions, which leads me to believe they are extremely open to
Environmentally Friendly Practices [7.44]
● "Plastic and paper recycling bins are located on all
corners of the office."
● "They use a lot of paper. I hope they can change some of
their policies and stop printing lots of unnecessary pages."
● "We recycle. There are programs to keep employees aware of
the environment. It also tracks its carbon footprint
● "Our firm is pushing electronic or paperless projects to
support the going green movement."
● "The firm constantly reminds employees to operate with
green awareness, especially in regard to usual business practices
of printing and using disposable goods."
● "Working hours are flexible and workflow is
● "Sometimes I feel like my time could be used more
● "Being an undergraduate at a top university, I find it
very helpful how the internship hours demanded are very flexible in
regard to scheduling. Furthermore, I am encouraged to come to the
office whenever I might have free time, not necessarily to do more
work, but instead to gain exposure to the lifestyle and environment
on a more regular basis."
● "As an intern, the bank works around my school schedule as
● "I wish I worked a little bit more. Which I understand is
my own fault, but I will argue that it is easier to be motivated
when the atmosphere calls for hard, long hours."
● "I work 40 hours a week."
Manager Relations [8.15]
● "Managers always treat us with respect."
● "Junior professionals are valued and utilized as great
● "I have the opportunity to work closely with the
management workforce due to my training program. We have the
opportunity to be exposed to all upper management, who very
welcoming and supportive."
● "The senior professionals treat me as they would any
employer on the floor: with respect and compassion. Not only are
they amiable in all interactions, but they are also willing to
advise me, ask for my assistance and provide exposure to many
facets of the derivative trades."
● "My superior is an extremely respectful person. He is
smart, hardworking and very attuned to making sure I am keeping
Training [7.69, formal; 8.31, informal]
● "Informal training is much more frequent than formal
● "The majority is on the job."
● "I'm in a training program. Training is structured and
● "Offers a lot of training but some classes are redundant,
● "The bank does not seem to have much formal training
beyond day the first days after recruitment. However, training with
an individual's team or department can be quite extensive."
● "You need to be a go-getter to be successful."
● "There are formal corporate training classes that you can
attend. I really enjoy these corporate training classes and
encourage others to attend them."