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Old 11.09.2017, 11:10
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Any banks that will give dual US/Swiss citizens mortgages for property in Switzerland

Hi everyone,

I'd be grateful for some tips on mortgages. My husband is Swiss and I'm a dual US/Swiss citizen and we live permanently in Switzerland. We're looking to buy property in Luzern. Has anyone in similar shoes found a bank/financer that would provide them with a mortgage, providing the money lines up of course?

I've read through lots of threads about US citizens having trouble getting mortgages, but they're all from 2013/2014. Maybe someone on the forum has more recent experience? I'd love to hear from you.

Thanks everybody, this is a nerve-racking experience!
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Old 11.09.2017, 11:37
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Re: Any banks that will give dual US/Swiss citizens mortgages for property in Switzer

Who are you banking with now?

The easiest route is to go with the bank with which you already have a relationship. If you have a nice chunk o' assets in the bank already they will likely look a tad kindlier on your blue passport.

That said, from discussions with friends both UBS and CS still offer mortgages to Americans. Ours is wth UBS, albeit taken out ages ago.

As long as you properly declare your 'American-ness', fill out all the forms, are right with the IRS, and of course can afford the house, you should be OK.
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Old 11.09.2017, 11:43
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Re: Any banks that will give dual US/Swiss citizens mortgages for property in Switzer

UBS, CS, raiffeisen at a minimum.
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Old 11.09.2017, 11:47
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Re: Any banks that will give dual US/Swiss citizens mortgages for property in Switzer

Thank you meloncollie and DL21, this is reassuring!
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Old 11.09.2017, 13:51
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Re: Any banks that will give dual US/Swiss citizens mortgages for property in Switzer

If with UBS and they already know you're American then you probably have a special advisor who looks after your account/s. Contact them and see what they say.

We had a hiccup when getting our mortgage since I was dual British/US at the time. This was back in 2011. Not sure if it had never been noted or the local branch of UBS just hadn't kept it on record, but when I presented my American passport to match up with my Swiss permit our local manager had to make a few calls to get the okay for the mortgage. It was agreed, but we had been clients with them since 1998 so yes, it could be the relationship helped. After that our account/s were transferred to the American department UBS seems to have set up to deal with FATCA and its ensuing fallout, but once I renounced my US citizenship the account/s went back to the local branch manager.
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Old 11.09.2017, 15:27
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Re: Any banks that will give dual US/Swiss citizens mortgages for property in Switzer

Just an update, UBS has told us they take Americans for mortgages (just over the phone, so nothing in writing). Raiffeisen said they won't take any new clients with American citizenship. Let's see about the others...
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Old 11.09.2017, 15:43
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Re: Any banks that will give dual US/Swiss citizens mortgages for property in Switzer

The Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce's website provides a list of banks in Switzerland that offer "certain banking services" to US citizens in Switzerland.

"As of December 2016, the following banks have stated that they offer certain banking services to U.S.Citizens and U.S. Related Persons resident in Switzerland. Please inquire directly with individual banks for specific conditions and policies."

http://www.amcham.ch/publications/do...on_clients.pdf
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Old 11.09.2017, 15:57
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Re: Any banks that will give dual US/Swiss citizens mortgages for property in Switzer

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Raiffeisen said they won't take any new clients with American citizenship.
That is my daughter's experience as well.

Tom
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Old 12.09.2017, 08:49
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Re: Any banks that will give dual US/Swiss citizens mortgages for property in Switzer

Thank you all. Mullhollander, that list is very helpful, I'll work through it.

I've heard from many people that Credit Suisse takes clients with US citzenship, but yesterday they also gave us a strong "no". LUKB looks like a possibility.
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Old 12.09.2017, 15:13
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Re: Any banks that will give dual US/Swiss citizens mortgages for property in Switzer

Hi,
Swiss Life is not a bank but they offer mortgages for Swiss with US passport.
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Old 13.09.2017, 07:17
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Re: Any banks that will give dual US/Swiss citizens mortgages for property in Switzer

Several comments:

1. Credit Suisse: the EF "conventional wisdom" has been that four major Swiss retail banks, with operations across Switzerland, accept US citizens as new customers: UBS, CS, PostFinance and Migros Bank.
- Thanks for the input that CS is not accepting US citizens, resident in Switzerland, as new customers. It is a shame that CS has apparently changed its policy.

2. List: the majority of the 24 banks on the Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce are asset managers, speciality banks and cantonal banks. It is unlikely that asset management and specialty banks provide ordinary retail banking services and cantonal banks generally require that (new) retail customers reside in the canton. For most US citizens seeking ordinary retail banking services, the three (or four) banks listed in 1. above and possibly a cantonal bank would be the complete list.

3. Mortgages: there are at least three lending avenues to obtain mortgages in Switzerland: a. banks, b. insurance companies, c. pension funds. Consumer articles have noted that insurance company mortgages can be quite competitive because insurance companies are not directly subject to the Swiss National Bank's negative interest rate costs. You could possibly use Moneyland.ch as a source to compare various mortgages:

https://www.moneyland.ch/de/hypo/list

4. Swiss Life: This is great input from Tiiwa. A check of Swiss Life's current mortgage application form does not mention that US citizens are excluded and Moneyland.ch indicated that Swiss Life has competitive rates (I input 80% of CHF 500'000 with a 10-year fixed rate mortgage and Swiss Life was #2 on the list):

https://www.swisslife.ch/content/dam..._online_de.pdf
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Old 13.09.2017, 08:07
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Re: Any banks that will give dual US/Swiss citizens mortgages for property in Switzer

Tiiwa, great tip about Swiss Life; I hadn't even considered them but it makes sense. Migrosbank and Valiant have also told us they would accept us.

Thank you everyone for all your help, it's been very comforting and made this process easier!
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Old 13.09.2017, 08:17
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Re: Any banks that will give dual US/Swiss citizens mortgages for property in Switzer

Thank you Mullhollander, that's an excellent summary!
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Old 13.09.2017, 08:46
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Re: Any banks that will give dual US/Swiss citizens mortgages for property in Switzer

Mullhollander it may be that Credit Suisse won't accept new American clients wanting mortgages, but would accept them for just having an ordinary salary account.
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Old 13.09.2017, 11:09
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Re: Any banks that will give dual US/Swiss citizens mortgages for property in Switzer

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Just an update, UBS has told us they take Americans for mortgages (just over the phone, so nothing in writing). Raiffeisen said they won't take any new clients with American citizenship. Let's see about the others...
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That is my daughter's experience as well.

Tom
Surprised by this because Raiffeisen did not turn us away although we ultimately went with UBS

I think most banks will, just the number of hoops you have to go through
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Old 13.09.2017, 13:19
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Re: Any banks that will give dual US/Swiss citizens mortgages for property in Switzer

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I've heard from many people that Credit Suisse takes clients with US citzenship, but yesterday they also gave us a strong "no".
Heather, who did you speak to at CS?

I've heard several stories, the last from a bit more than a year ago, where a local branch turned Americans down flat but the same people were welcomed after speaking to senior mortgage officers at the main branch.

Does CS have an American/US Persons unit? UBS does, these are the folks to go to when local employees turn up their noses at the blue book. I would hazard a guess that CS might have similar.
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Old 13.09.2017, 15:52
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Re: Any banks that will give dual US/Swiss citizens mortgages for property in Switzer

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Heather, who did you speak to at CS?

I've heard several stories, the last from a bit more than a year ago, where a local branch turned Americans down flat but the same people were welcomed after speaking to senior mortgage officers at the main branch.

Does CS have an American/US Persons unit? UBS does, these are the folks to go to when local employees turn up their noses at the blue book. I would hazard a guess that CS might have similar.
UBS has a 'special branch ' where they send all the US persons and those close to them. At UBS in Vaud it's at the UBS in place St Franscois. It's possible CS also has a special unit.
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Old 14.09.2017, 09:44
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Re: Any banks that will give dual US/Swiss citizens mortgages for property in Switzer

I spoke to a mortgage specialist at the Luzern branch of CS. It's interesting to know some banks have a unit dedicated to American clients, it makes sense. I'll be sure to ask the banks about this in the future.
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Old 14.09.2017, 09:49
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Re: Any banks that will give dual US/Swiss citizens mortgages for property in Switzer

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Tiiwa, great tip about Swiss Life; I hadn't even considered them but it makes sense. Migrosbank and Valiant have also told us they would accept us.

Thank you everyone for all your help, it's been very comforting and made this process easier!
I work for Swiss Life and if I cannot give the mortgage for a US Person then I do not need to ask Valiant, they would not do it either.. In that case my next address is Credit Suisse and so far they have given mortgages to my US clients (Swiss resident, non-Swiss citizen, US Person). This is very resent information..

Swiss Life accepts also for some of their savings products US persons if they have Swiss nationality as well. But for people without Swiss nationality I need to co-operate with partners.

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