U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland Requests That Swiss Banks Allow Americans to Open Accounts

CNN Money published a report stating, the U.S. government has requested that Swiss banks allow Americans be allowed to open accounts and offer their patronage.

U.S. citizens living abroad in the federal republic of Switzerland have experienced difficulty when attempting to access the banking system, particularly after the U.S. imposed tough regulations, requiring that banks disclose all foreign account held by Americans. However, the U.S. ambassador to Switzerland, Ambassador Susan G. LeVine, has asked that banks in Switzerland accept Americans as clients.

“I sent a letter to executives at many … Swiss banks, describing the challenges that American citizens encounter when they want to open a bank account or just keep the one they have,” LeVine said in a statement, which was first published by Bloomberg.

The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act prompted the U.S. Treasury to strike an agreement with more than 100 nations, which is a deal that requires foreign banks to disclose client information to the IRS. Known for its secrecy, Switzerland was one of the nations to agree to share information with the U.S.

The piece of legislations was designed and enacted in order to identify individuals hiding cash from the IRS. This, however, made life difficult for Switzerland-dwelling Americans hoping to open bank accounts. Banks decided that it would be far easier to simply refuse American clients than comply with the newly imposed regulations.

According to the Swiss Federal Statistics Office, approximately 20,000 American citizens reside in Switzerland, and there are few banks in the nation that accept American clients. Additionally, the handful of banks that fall in line and impose strict rules and accepts Americans as account holders do so without offering any wealth management services.

“We have been pleased with the response of banks such as UBS, Credit Suisse and Corner Bank who, when we asked if they’d start serving U.S. citizens as customers again, put procedures in place with which to do so,” LeVine said as she reached out to other banks, urging them to accept American clients.

The U.S. taxes its citizens on all income, no matter where this money is earned, or where in the world they reside. Americans living abroad usually encounter a great deal of complex paperwork, which usually forces them to seek out expensive professional help from lawyers and accounts.