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February 06 2008

Bank of the West Provides HOPE With $750,000, Time, and Talent Through Renewed Sponsorship Investment

LOS ANGELES, CA--- February 04, 2008--Bank of the West, a key sponsor of Operation HOPE (HOPE) since 2000, has renewed its support for the non-profit\'s financial literacy programs in Los Angeles, Oakland, Denver and Portland.

Through a four-year financial commitment, Bank of the West is contributing $750,000 to HOPE\'s most successful programs. The HOPE Center in Oakland is earmarked to receive $600,000 to provide financial counsel in a co-branded facility that houses a Bank of the West branch. An additional annual commitment of $125,000 is going towards Banking on Our Future (BOOF) Denver, along with $25,000 to support the program in Portland. Along with their monetary investment, the bank is also enabling employees to participate as HOPE Corps volunteer teachers, discussing consumer finance in school classrooms.

"We appreciate the continued support Bank of the West has shown for our results in financial literacy and economic empowerment," said HOPE Senior Vice President Stacy Sanchez. "Through this relationship, the bank is helping give children and adults opportunities to determine their own financial futures."

"Operation HOPE has made financial literacy the cornerstone of its efforts, a mission we\'re happy to support in line with Bank of the West\'s commitment to improve the social and economic health of the communities we serve," said Fran Lopez, the bank\'s Executive Vice President/ Community and Public Relations.

Like Bank of the West, HOPE believes people can do amazing things if they have the right tools and resources. Going into its 16th year, the "silver rights" empowerment organization has worked to make the necessary resources available to underserved communities; to "give people a hand up and not just a hand out." To date, HOPE has educated over 271,000 youth in financial literacy, created more than 800 new homeowners and small business owners, generated more than $400 million in commitments for homeownership and small business loans from their 400 bank and corporate partners.

About Bank of the West

The second-largest commercial bank based in California, with $61.8 billion in assets, Bank of the West is a full-service financial institution with an emphasis on personalized customer service. Serving over 3 million households and businesses in hundreds of communities in 19 Western and Midwestern states, Bank of the West has pledged to provide $75 billion in loans, investments, contributions and services to lower-income individuals, small businesses and companies in lower-income areas, and community-based organizations throughout the bank\'s markets. This goal extends through 2015. For more, visit us at www.bankofthewest.com