About 45 percent of Santa Barbara Bank & Trust employees to be laid off

Union Bank’s purchase of Santa Barbara Bank & Trust is set to close Saturday, setting in motion the layoff of 45 percent of the acquired bank’s workforce, a Union Bank spokesman said.

San Francisco-based UnionBanCal Corp., which owns Union Bank, is buying Santa Barbara-based Pacific Capital Bancorp, which operates under the name Santa Barbara Bank & Trust, for $1.51 billion.

The majority of eliminated positions are in “Santa Barbara proper,” wrote Daniel W. Weidman, senior vice president of corporate communications, in an email to The Tribune Friday. “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 12 months,” he wrote. He declined to specify which positions or how many will be cut from SLO County.

Eighty percent of the targeted positions won’t be eliminated until at least April 30. Employees who don’t find employment at Union Bank will be eligible for severance benefits.

Weidman declined to say what will become of Santa Barbara Bank & Trust’s executives, and it is too early to say if any local branches will be closed.

Santa Barbara Bank & Trust operates 45 branches in eight California counties. There are three in San Luis Obispo County—two in San Luis Obispo and one in Paso Robles. Union Bank has two branches in the county, in San Luis Obispo and Atascadero. R.E. Wacker Associates, a San Luis Obispo-based registered investment adviser associated with Pacific Capital, is also part of the acquisition, but none of its employees have been issued layoff notices, Weidman said.

The investment adviser became a wholly owned subsidiary of Pacific Capital Bank when it was sold to the company in 2008 for an initial payment of $6.9 million. R.E. Wacker had about 500 clients with $570 million in assets under management as of March 2012, and 12 employees.

Weidman emphasized that Santa Barbara Bank & Trust customers will experience no interruption in service and called Union Bank a strong, stable California-based company that will serve customers through greater scale.

Pacific Capital Bancorp reported $6 billion in assets and $4.7 billion in total deposits as of Sept. 30, and net income of $73.9 million for the nine months ended Sept 30.

UnionBanCal Corp., based in San Francisco, reported $88.2 billion in assets and $65.1 billion in total deposits as of Sept. 30 and a net income of $506 million for the nine months ended Sept. 30. The bank also operates 398 retail branches in California, Washington and Oregon, four commercial branches in Texas, New York, and Illinois and two international offices. UnionBanCal Corp. is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd.