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Old 01.04.2015, 15:57
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Swiss bank harassment

While in the US, caring for my dying mother, away from my home country, and having to pay bills, including medical and living expenses for my mother, a bank officer at UBS threatened to block these payments. Now I read with astonishment (http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/crackdow...22224#comments) that even Swiss citizens residing temporarily in the US are being harassed by UBS and other Swiss banks - even closing accounts while these Swiss citizens are in the US! The UBS officer also pressured me into signing a form which I believe is destined for persons residing in the US holding private UBS accounts. I refused to sign it and broke off communication with her. Later, another UBS officer, upon receiving my letter authorizing payments, acted on my instructions with no questions asked, which makes me suspect that the first officer was not acting according to regulations.

This has much do with the US coming down hard on the underhanded dealings of Swiss banks in the US.

After consulting a lawyer in Geneva who could not help me or find anyone who could (don't they all have accounts with UBS?), a legal expert in the Swiss consumer group "Bon à savoir" put me on to the Swiss Banking Ombudsman (http://www.bankingombudsman.ch/fr/) who deals with client/bank conflicts, whom I have now addressed for answers: Is this legal? If the cause for blocking payments or accounts is not foreseen in the General Conditions for the account or if the bank's interpretation seems incorrect ("non-conforme"), wrote the legal expert, then one has the right to oppose this practice.

It may take a while for the Ombudsman to reply. I will share the reply on this forum.
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Old 01.04.2015, 16:11
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Re: Swiss bank harassment

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While in the US, caring for my dying mother, away from my home country, and having to pay bills, including medical and living expenses for my mother, a bank officer at UBS threatened to block these payments. Now I read with astonishment (http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/crackdow...22224#comments) that even Swiss citizens residing temporarily in the US are being harassed by UBS and other Swiss banks - even closing accounts while these Swiss citizens are in the US! The UBS officer also pressured me into signing a form which I believe is destined for persons residing in the US holding private UBS accounts. I refused to sign it and broke off communication with her. Later, another UBS officer, upon receiving my letter authorizing payments, acted on my instructions with no questions asked, which makes me suspect that the first officer was not acting according to regulations.

This has much do with the US coming down hard on the underhanded dealings of Swiss banks in the US.

After consulting a lawyer in Geneva who could not help me or find anyone who could (don't they all have accounts with UBS?), a legal expert in the Swiss consumer group "Bon à savoir" put me on to the Swiss Banking Ombudsman (http://www.bankingombudsman.ch/fr/) who deals with client/bank conflicts, whom I have now addressed for answers: Is this legal? If the cause for blocking payments or accounts is not foreseen in the General Conditions for the account or if the bank's interpretation seems incorrect ("non-conforme"), wrote the legal expert, then one has the right to oppose this practice.

It may take a while for the Ombudsman to reply. I will share the reply on this forum.
If you don't sign the forms allowing them to break client confidentiality the can block your account forever.
Probably best to come clean & declare your hidden assets with the IRS.
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Old 01.04.2015, 19:40
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Re: Swiss bank harassment

Swiss Banks absolutely love American clients mainly because the US has never fined a Swiss bank.

TRUE FACT.

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Old 01.04.2015, 19:56
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Re: Swiss bank harassment

You think they really care, they'll just claim it was a process of due dillegance and request you close your acount forthwith.

Problem solved, at least for the bank !
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Old 01.04.2015, 19:57
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Re: Swiss bank harassment

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Swiss Banks absolutely love American clients mainly because the US has never fined a Swiss bank.

TRUE FACT.


http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/...llio/?page=all
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Old 01.04.2015, 22:38
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Re: Swiss bank harassment

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It may take a while for the Ombudsman to reply. I will share the reply on this forum.
The Ombudsman will full of praise for the UBS's handling of this matter, because it (the UBS) will be seen as taking a concrete step to lessen the risk/damage of yet another US led assault on the Swiss banking system.
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Old 02.04.2015, 14:52
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Re: Swiss bank harassment

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...even Swiss citizens residing temporarily in the US are being harassed by UBS and other Swiss banks...
It´s not Swiss banks harassing anyone because they´re mean, it´s the US harassing Swiss banks, who in turn do what they have to do.

Best to do if you want to avoid this: Do not have (or try to obtain) US citizenship, do not live in the US, do not stay in the US for more than x days per year. (I think x=180; not sure)

I was seriously not amused that, as the condition to get a Swiss bank account, I had to sign a paper that (all of above) isn´t the case with me. Imagine we´d have to sign a paper for any random country in the world, although it´s a purely EU/Swiss domestic matter. I´m Belgian, living in Switzerland, yet I have to declare something to US authorities. What if we´d ask them to do the same? They´d only laugh! That´s what annoys me.

Ceratinly not "Swiss banks harassment" towards anyone.
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Old 02.04.2015, 15:05
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Re: Swiss bank harassment

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do not stay in the US for more than x days per year. (I think x=180; not sure)
No, x=30.

Tom
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Old 02.04.2015, 15:09
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Re: Swiss bank harassment

Switzerland should never have agreed to FATCA.
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Old 02.04.2015, 15:14
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Re: Swiss bank harassment

It really is the US that's harrassing the Swiss banks.

You can transfer your accounts to a few small/private banks and not have this problem.
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Old 02.04.2015, 19:29
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Re: Swiss bank harassment

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No, x=30.

Tom
30 o.k.
31 resident.

http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Inter...-Presence-Test
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Old 02.04.2015, 20:28
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Re: Swiss bank harassment

come now, don't go scaring people:

Quote:
# 31 days during the current year, and
# 183 days during the 3-year period that includes the current year and the 2 years immediately before that, counting:
##All the days you were present in the current year, and
##1/3 of the days you were present in the first year before the current year, and
##1/6 of the days you were present in the second year before the current year.
and even if you fail that, you have the closer connection tests.
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Old 06.04.2015, 01:13
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Re: Swiss bank harassment

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Switzerland should never have agreed to FATCA.
Because the US are well-known for being totally flexible on having other countries share their view of the world, so it was more a case of Helvetia going "go on then, Uncle Sam my old buddy, since you asked so nicely"...


[/sarcasm]

To the OP - I'm sorry to hear about your personal situation, however, UBS is simply trying to not get into more trouble with the US and also doing its best to apply a law that is both rather vague and ultra strict. Brilliant work from the US lawyers there, as it basically allows the government to tighten any screws as it finds them while setting fines at a level that would bankrupt certain banks if they put a foot wrong. You did hear about certain financial institutions handing in their banking licenses, right? This is not about you, trust me.
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Old 06.04.2015, 07:20
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Re: Swiss bank harassment

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Because the US are well-known for being totally flexible on having other countries share their view of the world, so it was more a case of Helvetia going "go on then, Uncle Sam my old buddy, since you asked so nicely"...


[/sarcasm]
Yes, it's so much better to give in to the bully each time in the hopes that next time, he'll be nicer about it.

The simple solution was to demand reciprocity. On the surface, it sounds entirely reasonable, but there's no way the U.S. would have accepted it. It might, at least, have been a rallying point for the rest of the wold to gather around.
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Old 06.04.2015, 23:45
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Re: Swiss bank harassment

Times have changed. Nobody likes to do all the compliance work. In my humble opinion one has to be pro active. Such matters are best discussed in person. I would make an appointment with the branch manager. Bring along some documents that show what the circumstances are like. Think about what papers you will allow them to scan.

Surely after having all the facts and knowing you personally UBS will allow transfers and not hassle you again.

If not open an account at some smaller bank and inform them when opening account about the regular transfers.

All the best.
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Old 07.04.2015, 01:25
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Re: Swiss bank harassment

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Yes, it's so much better to give in to the bully each time in the hopes that next time, he'll be nicer about it.

The simple solution was to demand reciprocity. On the surface, it sounds entirely reasonable, but there's no way the U.S. would have accepted it. It might, at least, have been a rallying point for the rest of the wold to gather around.
Not doable. The US have the ability to exclude swiss banks from trading USD (just as any central bank can preclude any given entity from trading its currency). Problem is, there's no way around the USD in todays world so CH banks, and CH altogether, had no choice.
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