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Old 12.10.2017, 11:44
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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.
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Old 12.10.2017, 13:20
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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.
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Old 12.10.2017, 15:08
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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.

Last edited by runningdeer; 12.10.2017 at 15:53.
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Old 13.10.2017, 23:54
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Re: Banks that accept US citizens: postfinance-yes; migros-no; cler-no

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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?
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Old 14.10.2017, 10:36
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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.
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Old 14.10.2017, 11:32
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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.
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Old 14.10.2017, 11:56
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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.
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Old 14.10.2017, 13:05
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Re: Banks that accept US citizens: postfinance-yes; migros-no; cler-no

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...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.
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Old 15.10.2017, 08:32
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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.
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