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-   -   Banks that accept US citizens: postfinance-yes; migros-no; cler-no (https://www.englishforum.ch/finance-banking-taxation/275767-banks-accept-us-citizens-postfinance-yes-migros-no-cler-no.html)

swinton 12.10.2017 11:44

Banks that accept US citizens: postfinance-yes; migros-no; cler-no
 
Had read up on this forum on this forum and got the impression that FATCA related challenges for US citizens trying to open bank account in Switzerland had abated since 2013, but ran into some road blocks today I though I should share.

I arrived at these banks with a B permit and an employment contract and was turned away from Migros Bank and Bank Cler before being able to open an account at PostFinance.

I was a bit confused when PF asked for a TIN#, but some quick googling on my phone informed me that what he needed was my Social Security#.

Also, both banks that rejected me suggested trying at bigger banks (i.e. UBS and Credit Suisse), so assume those options would work.

Hope this might be helpful.

redworm 12.10.2017 13:20

Re: Banks that accept US citizens: postfinance-yes; migros-no; cler-no
 
I opened an account with UBS in Zurich without much of a hassle in November 2016. Just had to go to the main branch in Paradeplatz.

runningdeer 12.10.2017 15:08

Re: Banks that accept US citizens: postfinance-yes; migros-no; cler-no
 
I was in Raiffeisen bank the other day, and according to the employee they do allow accounts for US citizens if you jump through their hoops. I didn't try it so it is unconfirmed. But thought I'd pass it along as previously I thought they did not accept.

And UBS and Credit Suisse are the big ones known to accept US persons as they have gone through the formalities.

Romikk 13.10.2017 23:54

Re: Banks that accept US citizens: postfinance-yes; migros-no; cler-no
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by swinton (Post 2859253)
Had read up on this forum on this forum and got the impression that FATCA related challenges for US citizens trying to open bank account in Switzerland had abated since 2013, but ran into some road blocks today I though I should share.

I arrived at these banks with a B permit and an employment contract and was turned away from Migros Bank and Bank Cler before being able to open an account at PostFinance.

I was a bit confused when PF asked for a TIN#, but some quick googling on my phone informed me that what he needed was my Social Security#.

Also, both banks that rejected me suggested trying at bigger banks (i.e. UBS and Credit Suisse), so assume those options would work.

Hope this might be helpful.

Thank you for the update, Swinton. What documents did they ask you to open an account? US pass, job contract, your permit, what else?

Mullhollander 14.10.2017 10:36

Re: Banks that accept US citizens: postfinance-yes; migros-no; cler-no
 
The attached link is to a Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce document listing 24 banks in Switzerland which may allow limited banking services to U.S. Citizens and other U.S. Persons resident 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

The list includes four banks that are present Switzerland-wide and a number of cantonal banks and regional banks, which might services only to area residents. It also lists seven private/ asset-management banks which probably should be ignored (was someone trying to pad the list?):

In summary, depending on where a U.S. Citizen is resident in Switzerland, there might be around three to six retail banks that offer banking services:

UBS
Credit Suisse
PostFinance
Migros Bank (?)
Possibly a cantonal bank
Possibly a regional or local bank on the list

The number of Americans in Switzerland has declined by 6-7% since the previous administration, with support from the U.S. Embassy in Bern, launched its unnecessary and vicious attacks on Americans in this country. The change in the U.S. administration may give some hope to Americans here that ordinary personal finance will be "decriminalized". Time will tell.

Tox_Rat 14.10.2017 11:32

Re: Banks that accept US citizens: postfinance-yes; migros-no; cler-no
 
That list is inaccurate now and it was misleading when it was issued in 2016. I know for a fact that Banque Cantonale Vaudoise will not accept new accounts for American persons of "normal" means. The question is more complicated than just the "do you have banking products for Americans" that the survey implies.

Firstly, whether the banking relationship is new or goes back to before FATCA matters. Some banks don't accept accounts from new American persons, but have found a way to allow the business of those with accounts pre-FATCA to continue. Others (like Raffeisen, if I remember correctly) closed the accounts of their American clients.

Secondly, the value of your business matters; some banks are open to American persons, but only after a certain threshold of business is reached (like CHF 1M). This more honest than it first sounds: as an American you require a lot more compliance work and only accounts over a certain level create enough business to cover the costs of that compliance work.

OP, my possibly out-of-date (2014) understanding is that Americans of normal means trying to establish new accounts in Switzerland have their choice of Credit Suisse and UBS (part of the settlement with the US authorities), as well as Post Bank (by law). And that is pretty much it. My experience with the retail representatives in most branches is that they don't really know what the policy of their bank is towards Americans until they try to establish the accounts. They may not even know that there is a difference in policy. So asking may not really get you accurate information. That being said, I was recently surprised by the PostBank representative knowing exactly what to do, so with time, things may be improving on that front somewhat.

Medea Fleecestealer 14.10.2017 11:56

Re: Banks that accept US citizens: postfinance-yes; migros-no; cler-no
 
Agree Tox Rat. The only 3 sure ones are UBS, Credit Suisse and PostFinance. Iirc back when FATCA was first rearing its ugly head the cantonal banks of Zurich and Basel would also take American clients, but I've no idea if that's still the case. As said, most of the smaller banks simply ditched their American clients and refuse to take new ones.

3Wishes 14.10.2017 13:05

Re: Banks that accept US citizens: postfinance-yes; migros-no; cler-no
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Tox_Rat (Post 2860136)
...Firstly, whether the banking relationship is new or goes back to before FATCA matters. Some banks don't accept accounts from new American persons, but have found a way to allow the business of those with accounts pre-FATCA to continue...

This may be the case. My account with Migros was established pre-FATCA, and I had to sign a load of papers giving up all my privacy rights under Swiss law in order to keep it, but I still have it and they don't charge me an arm and a leg each month either, which I very much appreciate.

bdmouse 15.10.2017 08:32

Re: Banks that accept US citizens: postfinance-yes; migros-no; cler-no
 
I was worried about not being open to open a bank account as a US citizen before I moved here, but what I found out is that you should have no problems assuming you have a permit indicating a right to live here.

It's definitely no problem for the big ones - UBS, Credit Suisse and Post Finance.

I bank at Post Finance and have been very happy.

alexyalmtl 24.10.2017 23:30

Re: Banks that accept US citizens: postfinance-yes; migros-no; cler-no
 
I'm curious why Migros Bank rejected you since I can name at least one 'US person' who has opened a number of accounts there in the last two years and isn't a millionaire.

3Wishes 25.10.2017 10:43

Re: Banks that accept US citizens: postfinance-yes; migros-no; cler-no
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by alexyalmtl (Post 2864842)
I'm curious why Migros Bank rejected you since I can name at least one 'US person' who has opened a number of accounts there in the last two years and isn't a millionaire.

Probably because the person behind the counter didn't know the procedures, or didn't want to bother with them. American client = extra work and risk. ;)

olygirl 25.10.2017 11:10

Re: Banks that accept US citizens: postfinance-yes; migros-no; cler-no
 
It's discrimination and should be be outlawed.

pnoeric 25.01.2018 10:09

Re: Banks that accept US citizens: postfinance-yes; migros-no; cler-no
 
Just to add some current data points - I am a US citizen and opened an account at Migros bank last year. There was some confusion when I opened the account but they "checked with their manager" and then found a way to make it work. Hmm, ok.

I also had an account at UBS here without any problems (but damn, those fees! they were SO expensive!) and am currently moving from Migros to Postfinance, who also seems to be fine with opening an account for me.

Zuricher Kantonal said NOPE to me as US citizen.

vozdemirler 02.02.2018 13:26

Re: Banks that accept US citizens: postfinance-yes; migros-no; cler-no
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by alexyalmtl (Post 2864842)
I'm curious why Migros Bank rejected you since I can name at least one 'US person' who has opened a number of accounts there in the last two years and isn't a millionaire.

I bank with Migros. In 2013 they asked me to sign a waiver for forgoing my information privacy. Without this waiver I would have had to close the account.

tooki 18.03.2018 12:24

Re: Banks that accept US citizens: postfinance-yes; migros-no; cler-no
 
Sometime last year I inquired at Migros Bank and they told me that they do offer accounts to US Persons, but with an annual fee of 200 francs to cover the administrative burden.

robBob 18.03.2018 12:32

Re: Banks that accept US citizens: postfinance-yes; migros-no; cler-no
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by tooki (Post 2923783)
Sometime last year I inquired at Migros Bank and they told me that they do offer accounts to US Persons, but with an annual fee of 200 francs to cover the administrative burden.

No way! Unbelievable! :(

Try this bank: http://www.sparkasse-dielsdorf.ch/home

Been with em for a few years now. :cool:

tooki 30.08.2019 14:54

Re: Banks that accept US citizens: postfinance-yes; migros-no; cler-no
 
So last week, I received the dreaded "we need to determine your 'US Person' status" letter from ZKB, so I began checking into alternative banks again, in case ZKB decided to give me the boot. (More on that later.)


Quote:

Originally Posted by tooki (Post 2923783)
Sometime last year I inquired at Migros Bank and they told me that they do offer accounts to US Persons, but with an annual fee of 200 francs to cover the administrative burden.

Update: I called the Migros Bank general hotline, and the consultant said that while the final decision is up to the branch, that 200 francs didn't sound right, and suggested I go in and ask. (The branch that told me the 200 was the Limmatplatz one.) I went to the one on Seidengasse (their largest in Zurich), and they seemed shocked at 200 francs. They said that while opening the account takes longer due to additional compliance paperwork, the fees are the same as any other person living in CH. We speculated that perhaps Limmatplatz had misunderstood and thought I meant an American living outside of Switzerland.


Quote:

Originally Posted by robBob (Post 2923790)
Try this bank: http://www.sparkasse-dielsdorf.ch/home

Been with em for a few years now. :cool:

So I actually did try, using their account application app, and based on my US Person status, it said I could not do it by app and would need to go in in person. So I called, and they told me that for US Persons, "as a community bank", they can only offer accounts to US Persons with a strong connection to Dielsdorf, such as living or working there. (In contrast, for people without US Person status, merely living in Switzerland would suffice.)




As for ZKB, I was headed downtown anyway, so I decided to pop into the ZKB headquarters and see a banker about it. It appears they no longer exclude Americans. There are a number of forms to fill out, especially the W-9, but it's nothing too onerous. By going in, and having the banker go through the process with the compliance people on the line, we were able to get all the forms done in one sitting, rather than a prolonged back-and-forth by mail.

AngelB 03.09.2020 14:34

Re: Banks that accept US citizens: postfinance-yes; migros-no; cler-no
 
I'm a banking at Credit Suisse and pay 180 per year, they prepare all the account statements in English as well as the FATCA statement which is helpful. This about as cheap as it gets for Americans banking in CH, no?



But I recently wondered if there is another option better with digital processes. For example I recently have extra hassle to reclaim fraudulent charges (several numbers to call and report, and then eventually have to print and sign multiple forms, and now mail by post!) and still haven't heard back if after weeks if I will be reimbursed. Any suggestions?


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