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  #41  
Old 18.04.2012, 20:11
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Re: No mortgages for Americans?

You could try UBS to see if they would offer you a mortgage. My British husband and I (American/British) just purchased a house here after 13 years of renting. It was only when we were sorting out the final details that the subject of my US citizenship came up and our bank manager had to go away and check with the UBS's special department that now seems to be dealing with everything American to see if we could go ahead. Luckily, they said yes and our purchase was completed. We have banked with UBS since we moved here which may have been a factor, but it never hurts to ask. If they say no, you're no worse off, but they may also say yes.

As others have said too, Post Office seem to be quite willing to consider US citizens for banking needs so asking them won't hurt either.
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  #42  
Old 18.04.2012, 20:13
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Re: No mortgages for Americans?

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Hi all… thought I'd start another housing thread just because I love them.

Swiss husband and I are on the brink of signing a contract for neubau, getting the contract reviewed with VZ when they bring up the fact that they would not offer us a mortgage because I am American.
this is what Mexicans go through in the U.S.A
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  #43  
Old 18.04.2012, 20:46
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Re: No mortgages for Americans?

[QUOTE=Brendan;1540240]
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I have a B permit as does my wife and we applied for and got a mortgage in ZH with ZKB we brought a house in Jan in Kanton Zh with very good rates. I am from Aus and my wife is Norwegian and we were very suprised how smoothly it all went. The move and renovations on the other hand were a nightmare. If you haven`t already, give Zürich Kanonal Bank a try. They were very good to us.
I second this. We're both Americans and got our first set of mortgages with Luzerner Kantonal Bank in 2005 and got our 2nd set in 2011. Between 2005 and 2011 we signed IRS paperwork supplied by LKB that they can share our information (something like that, I don't remember exactly, but I know where the copies of the forms are). When we first bought we were on the threshold of getting our C permits (papers signed in August - C permit in October). Was not much more painful than our Swiss neighbors who went through the same process at the same time. We put down 20 %.

Strangely enough, the original bank representative and the current one happen to speak English.
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  #44  
Old 18.04.2012, 20:54
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Re: No mortgages for Americans?

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Actually even being considered a US resident is enough.

Well if one lives outside the US, it is more likely that the person is a non-resident (unless he or she has a green card). But that is unlikely as the green card is pretty much gone after a certain period like 1 year or so. Outside the US, citizen is the main category.
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  #45  
Old 18.04.2012, 22:26
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Re: No mortgages for Americans?

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Confirmed from our point as well. We are both from the EU, and we bank at UBS. They asked us to sign that document, and we did.
Just had a friend last week telling me I should have kept my maiden name on my US passport and use the new Swiss name only on a Swiss passport to sign up for banks "problem free". You're both confirming that what my friend suggested is totally fraudulent and that with that paper, you can't really get around hiding what citizenships you've got.

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this is what Mexicans go through in the U.S.A
Gonna be snarky here and suggest that I probably have a lot more money than most Mexicans trying to buy houses in the US. But anyway their plight doesn't really make me feel better about mine either. These kind of restrictions suck no matter who you are!

Looks like Postfinance has given us a heads up that they still deal with Americans, as well as ZKB. But I'm still depressed that I'm going to get a crappy rate because of my stupid citizenship. Will have to go round to all the other banks and see which ones still play with fire.
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  #46  
Old 18.04.2012, 22:56
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Re: No mortgages for Americans?

[QUOTE=magyir;1540582]
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What helped was you marriage to an EEA country national where the EU/EEA bilateral agreements apply. An American married to a Swiss ain't the same.
(an American gets yearly permits for the first five years, an EU/EEA national generally doesn't and has better "tenure" entitlements. Is your or your wife's permit valid 5years?
Marriage to a Swiss should make it smoother no Magyir ? Australian married to EU should come second ?
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  #47  
Old 18.04.2012, 23:10
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Re: No mortgages for Americans?

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Just had a friend last week telling me I should have kept my maiden name on my US passport and use the new Swiss name only on a Swiss passport to sign up for banks "problem free". You're both confirming that what my friend suggested is totally fraudulent and that with that paper, you can't really get around hiding what citizenships you've got.
Well, from the Swiss point of view, a Swiss in Switzerland is ONLY Swiss, regardless of any other citizenship, which is exactly how the US views US citizens.

Tom
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  #48  
Old 19.04.2012, 01:55
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Re: No mortgages for Americans?

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Welcome to Switzerland.

You can either blame the US Patriot Act or you can blame the Swiss protectionism. take your pick. Fact is, financial institutions don't want to do business with Americans because of the breaches of privacy they are forced to commit in order to comply with US law.

Either way, let your congressman back home know that the Patriot Act is inhibiting your life overseas.
Patriot act has nothing to do with it...

UBS CFO Branson said:

"That means UBS will no longer provide offshore banking and securities services to US residents through its bank branches. Such services will only be provided to residents of this country through companies licensed in the United States"

Which means that now, all US persons need to bank through US incorporated UBS entities or licenced offices. It was a pledge given in a subcommittee meeting.

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We are american as well and are in the process of buying a house. We were able to find a bank that would lend, although, as usual, there is additional paperwork for the US citizens. I asked up front when first approaching a bank, whether our citizenship is an issue, in order not to waste my or their time. So don't get discouraged. The restrictions on the 20% and valuation are in place for everybody now, nothing special for the US citizens on this front. I found the process surprisingly easy so far.
The Non US person declaration form... which bank did you find?

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the issue is that no bank is going to take risk that has a tenor that is longer than your right to stay in the country. so unless you can demonstrate a legal right to stay permanently in Switzerland, no bank is going to give you a mortgage, same problem a Swiss citizen would have in the US.

I have a B permit as does my wife and we applied for and got a mortgage in ZH with ZKB we brought a house in Jan in Kanton Zh with very good rates. I am from Aus and my wife is Norwegian and we were very suprised how smoothly it all went. The move and renovations on the other hand were a nightmare. If you haven`t already, give Zürich Kanonal Bank a try. They were very good to us.
Being Australian and Norwegian is easy compared to being an american and your experience adds no value to what the OP is trying to achieve.

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I can actually confirm this. I bank with two banks, and both of them asked me to sign a document where I was declaring that I was neither a US citizen nor a US green card holder.
Yeah it's about testing whether they have US tax liability, not just whether they are physically domiciled in the US or if they are a US citizen.

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Ahhh. *breathes slowly*. Hopefully if/when I might possibly do this, I would fall under the threshold. They don't consider you own 100% of a flat and discount that a non-resident alien spouse can own half of it too? Like if you have an 800k home, would it be counted as 400k, etc... Maybe that's a good time to quit and have babies.

I'll really have to look into all that fun exit tax stuff. And contact congress and really enjoy using my American voice!
Sad :*(

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Confirmed from our point as well. We are both from the EU, and we bank at UBS. They asked us to sign that document, and we did.
It's policy for everyone to have that form . every person should complete it. it contains a force sell clause if you are found out to be a US person.

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You could try UBS to see if they would offer you a mortgage. My British husband and I (American/British) just purchased a house here after 13 years of renting. It was only when we were sorting out the final details that the subject of my US citizenship came up and our bank manager had to go away and check with the UBS's special department that now seems to be dealing with everything American to see if we could go ahead. Luckily, they said yes and our purchase was completed. We have banked with UBS since we moved here which may have been a factor, but it never hurts to ask. If they say no, you're no worse off, but they may also say yes.

As others have said too, Post Office seem to be quite willing to consider US citizens for banking needs so asking them won't hurt either.
Interesting.... depends on if you are restricted or non restriceted US person though.
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  #49  
Old 19.04.2012, 07:28
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Re: No mortgages for Americans?

Hmm, yeah we'll see what UBS says. Funnily enough I started my bank accounts with them in 2008 because they had a museum card bonus that I wanted instead of ZKB's offers. (Youthful concerns!)

I'm not even sure what forms I signed back then, but I've been banking with them since. Although I'm not sure they would open a 3a acct for me, I've got to get one of those from a bank before they all close up! :P
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  #50  
Old 19.04.2012, 08:22
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Re: No mortgages for Americans?

Good luck! I also bank with UBS and was told in principle that I could not get a mortgage from them - but then, I haven't tried bringing the downpayment to the table and applying yet, either. Given that it's a bank-wide policy, I'd be surprised if there are exceptions, but... can happen, I guess. ;-)
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  #51  
Old 19.04.2012, 09:25
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Re: No mortgages for Americans?

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Assuming you pay 20% cold hard cash and not some bothersome 2nd 3rd pillar dependent pledge......
If your 2nd pillar is pledged then you cannot retire it when you leave
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  #52  
Old 19.04.2012, 09:29
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Re: No mortgages for Americans?

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Patriot act has nothing to do with it...

UBS CFO Branson said:

"That means UBS will no longer provide offshore banking and securities services to US residents through its bank branches. Such services will only be provided to residents of this country through companies licensed in the United States"

Which means that now, all US persons need to bank through US incorporated UBS entities or licenced offices. It was a pledge given in a subcommittee meeting.
Not all US persons - the statement applies to all US residents. Quite an important detail.
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  #53  
Old 20.04.2012, 02:30
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Re: No mortgages for Americans?

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Not all US persons - the statement applies to all US residents. Quite an important detail.
Hi, look, not meaning to be a dick, but you're wrong...

The Annex to the 2009 John Doe DPA had this in it: (based on who they are going to provide information on)

Thus, consistent with paragraph 4 of the Statement of Facts to the DPA, the general requirement to identify the persons subject to the request for information exchange is considered to be satisfied for the following individuals:

A. US domiciled clients of UBS who directly held and beneficially owned “undisclosed (non-W-9) custody accounts” and “banking deposit accounts” in excess of CHF 1 million (at any point in time during the period of years 2001 through 2008) with UBS and for which a reasonable suspicion of “tax fraud or the like” can be demonstrated, or

"B. US persons (irrespective of their domicile) who beneficially owned “offshore company accounts” that have been established or maintained during the period of years 2001 through 2008 and for which a reasonable suspicion of “tax fraud or the like” can be demonstrated."



Ok, so then when it comes to creating a framework for what business can be done, the interpretation is that now, there are two classes of US persons, restricted US persons and non restricted US persons. The classification of what is Restricted and Non Restricted i cannot talk about on here, but the reality is that if there is any structure or entity that could be used to kind of hide or 'shadow' the knowledge of a US person (regardless of domicile) in the account, means that it's a grant for exit and there will be forced exits / unable to open accounts.

This applies to accounts opened after 2008 also...

This statement is sourced from this document:
http://www.ejpd.admin.ch/content/dam...abkommen-e.pdf

Last edited by AVANZA; 20.04.2012 at 02:31. Reason: Adding a link
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  #54  
Old 20.04.2012, 07:40
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Re: No mortgages for Americans?

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Interesting.... depends on if you are restricted or non restriceted US person though.
No idea. Born in the US of British parents, left US in 1969 and have never lived there since. Never worked in US, except for one summer job, never paid tax or filled in a tax form except in a Geography class in junior high one year. Been in Switzerland since 1998 and before that lived/worked in Britain.

UBS knew I was American from the start when we made my husband's bank account into a joint one as they must have taken copies of my passport and Swiss ID, but it must have slipped their mind until it came to the final meeting about the mortgage. It didn't cause a problem though; our bank manager just checked with their people dealing with Amercian stuff and he was back within 10 minutes with the okay, and that was back in March/April last year.
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Old 20.04.2012, 09:29
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Re: No mortgages for Americans?

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No idea. Born in the US of British parents, left US in 1969 and have never lived there since. Never worked in US, except for one summer job, never paid tax or filled in a tax form except in a Geography class in junior high one year. Been in Switzerland since 1998 and before that lived/worked in Britain.
Why on earth have you kept the US Pass when you've got a British one?! I mean... I have strong thoughts to keep it because if something were to happen to my husband, in all likelihood I would probably move home to be near my parents. But if you're never lived/worked there and don't have a desire to….

Would anyone be interested if I report back here which banks say Ja and Nein to Americans? I've asked 10 banks so far and haven't quite got responses from all. Will have to have the husband call and ask the ones that said no again just to make sure…
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  #56  
Old 20.04.2012, 09:46
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Re: No mortgages for Americans?

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Ok, so then when it comes to creating a framework for what business can be done, the interpretation is that now, there are two classes of US persons, restricted US persons and non restricted US persons. The classification of what is Restricted and Non Restricted i cannot talk about on here,
LOL! That's public information.

I am not wrong and I'm going to tell you why - to provide financial services to US residents you're providing financial services on US soil i.e. you need to be a US regulated entity. There are provisions for offering financial services to US non-resident citizens (look it up, it's on the SEC page...) that dispense you from the requirement of being a US regulated entity.

The issue of "offshore company accounts" has nothing to do with having to be registered or not in the US to do business.
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Old 20.04.2012, 10:04
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Re: No mortgages for Americans?

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Would anyone be interested if I report back here which banks say Ja and Nein to Americans? I've asked 10 banks so far and haven't quite got responses from all. Will have to have the husband call and ask the ones that said no again just to make sure…
Sure, but I can help out.

UBS - offers a limited range of services to Americans, including salary and savings accounts, and certain 3a services, but no mortages or investment accounts
Credit Suisse - offers services to Americans, but I don't know how or if they're limited
PostFinance - offers services to Americans, no problem at all from what I understand

Zuger Kantonalbank - requires CEO approval to open new accounts for Americans. I didn't figure I'd qualitfy and didn't pursue it.
Valiant - does not accept new American clients.
Raiffeisen - seems to be dependent on which "branch" you apply to, but I didn't have any luck
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Old 20.04.2012, 10:24
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Re: No mortgages for Americans?

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Why on earth have you kept the US Pass when you've got a British one?! I mean... I have strong thoughts to keep it because if something were to happen to my husband, in all likelihood I would probably move home to be near my parents. But if you're never lived/worked there and don't have a desire to….
Because even after all these years away, for me it is still "home" and always will be. I still consider myself, first and foremost, American.
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Old 20.04.2012, 10:26
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Re: No mortgages for Americans?

UBS told me they do offer mortgages to Americans still and they've set up a meeting to review if we are good candidates. (Which I hope we still are since the last banks said they'd be happy to finance us…) But maybe that is because I already have bank accounts with them…

Raiffeisen said no very quickly, and stated it was because they are a "regional bank" but that doesn't make sense because ZKB said yes and they are kantonal.

I'm wondering if it really depends who you ask and where. I mean… half the stuff with my immigration is dependent on who you talk to on the phone. Everybody seems to have a different answer about how to go about things. Bureaucracy at its finest.
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Old 20.04.2012, 10:44
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Re: No mortgages for Americans?

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the issue is that no bank is going to take risk that has a tenor that is longer than your right to stay in the country. so unless you can demonstrate a legal right to stay permanently in Switzerland, no bank is going to give you a mortgage, same problem a Swiss citizen would have in the US.

I have yet to meet a fellow gringo who had any problem opening a bank account here, although of course all of the Swiss banks will close an American's account the minute their B permit expires.
Sorry, but you are just wrong on several counts.

a) Banks dont care about your right to stay in the country. I am Asian, and was on a B permit (to be renewed annually), and every bank I asked was happy to extend a mortgage to me. If you have put down 20% of the value, the bank's risk is limited; that's what they care about.

b) Amazing that you dont know any gringos who had trouble getting a bank account here. I know a half dozen, and there are at least 10 threads right here from Americans complaining about not being able to open bank accounts..

But I do like the confidence with which you express your undeniably incorrect opinions...
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