Posted on July 16, 2012 by Jefferson D. Tomas Posted in Issues regarding US persons abroad 10 Comments Another experiment: please participate if you have time: Poll on accounts closed due to FATCA Share this:TwitterFacebookEmailLike this:Like Loading...
I haven’t yet had an account closed due to FATCA, but have had several places refuse to open accounts due to US tax rules that pre-date FATCA, such as the Foreign Qualified Intermediary rules. I have recently had inquiries about US citizenship from financial institutions, however, and am waiting for the account-closure shoe to drop…
Maybe this poll would capture more data from international participants if there were translations and accessible links in French, German, etc. ? After all, it appears that so far, many actual forced account closures and denial of service are happening in countries where the official language is not English.
And perhaps another poll could capture the experiences reported here at Canadian banks or investment houses – asking for citizenship id. – so, not closures per se, but anticipating FATCA, asking for prohibited place of birth information. Giving us a picture of which banks (ex. TD, RBC) have jumped the gun.
I think we need more branches and options in the poll, more than PollDaddy seems to allow. I would need the raw data not just the summary made by the poll software, that way could rework the statistics in any way fit via Excel or whatever.
Any idea on better poll software because I really don’t feel like trying to code something new?
Maybe you could just pose the questions in a post here. We can copy and paste them into a comment and add our YES and NO answers to each. The data collected could then be recorded on a spreadsheet. It would be helpful to monitor the changes in the answers over a period of time as a heads up for everyone (i.e. post the survey again in say 3 months time for the original respondents to do again with a separate survey for new respondents). So far my American husband has had no problem with his bank but then it isn’t one of the big major banks in Canada.
The spreadsheet might be set up something like this …
First Column: Questions (e.g. Have you been questioned re: your place of birth (POB) at your bank? Have you been refused a new bank account because of POB? Have you had bank accounts closed because of POB? etc.) followed by columns of YES or NO answers
First Row: Respondent’s name (I’d use Spouse of Em since he is the American)
Second Row: Country of residence
I was also contemplating this for a while but you beat me to it 🙂
I think EM is on the right track by using comments to collect data and them transfer them
to an Excel file which could be accessed jut like the renounce and relinquish
information. We just have to try to keep the data listed in the comments in a
specific order. Maybe something like this:
Name;County of birth;Country of residence; Dual citizen (yes or no); Accts closed (name of bank); Mortgage declined (name of bank).
Lady Godiva;USA;Switzerland;yes;UBS;Berner Kantonal Bank
If we all use ; to separate the input it will be easier to transfer to an excel file.
What do you all think?
Bank Coop, a fair-sized retail bank in Switzerland, publicly mentioned on July 17, 2012 that it decided in June to end its banking relationships with Americans, numbering around 250. (See end of paragraph 1):
@Innocente as to the article in Cash.ch, I get the vague impression, from the context of the paragraph, that the 250 clients were non-domiciled in Switzerland. “Neugeld” would seem to refer to large capitalization in this context (private banking / investment banking). If the 250 clients included domestic Swiss clients, I think I would have heard by now, as they would have no trouble sending 250 letters in 3 weeks, and I know plenty of people that use this bank.
At any rate, there seems to be no particular mention of the decision (Juni = June) on their website under the page with the terms for current accounts. http://www.bankcoop.ch/fr/index/privatkunden/konti/privatkonto.htm Privatkonto refers to retail banking in this context, not private banking.
Again, refusing current accounts to Swiss residents for reasons of origin or ethnicity would be a violation of Art 261bis CPS, subjecting the offender to a 3-year prison sentence and fines. The penal code article is supplementary to the protections against discrimination inscribed in the CONSTITUTION. If anybody who is bone fide resident in Switzerland does have their account closed, read the bank the riot act, and involve the police and the prosecutor’s office immediately. If these authorities do not act, they would be in open rebellion against the constitution, and their names should be immediately published all over the Internet.
We shall not allow Nuremberg laws and Kristalnacht against suspected US Persons in 2012. It would start with exclusion from commerce and banking, then it would continue with the ghetto, the concentration camp, sondereinsaetze then the gas chambers. We shall not allow even the first step in this process. The world should have learned from WWII and it still let the same sort of things happen in the Balkans and elsewhere in the 90’s. We cannot let even the first steps of such a process to start. NEVER AGAIN! There will be no negotiation on this.
…Basler Kantonalbank (BKB) konnte zudem in den
vergangenen sechs Monaten nicht zuletzt dank dem zinsgünstigen “Sparkonto Plus”
deutlich mehr Kundengelder anziehen. Erstmals konnte die Bank die Schwelle von
10 Milliarden Franken überschreiten. «Wir sind sehr stolz auf diesen
Neugeldzufluss», sagt CEO Andreas
Waespi im Video-Interview. Auf Neugeld aus den USA verzichtet die Bank
allerdings; im Juni hat auch die Bank Coop entschieden, sich von ihren US-Kunden
zu trennen. Davon betroffen seien rund 250 Kunden, sagt Waespi
Ironic that these announcements of exclusion of suspected US Persons come shortly after the Swiss government announced negotiations with the US to lighten the implementation of FATCA as well as the annoucement of the supposed new IRS amnesty for persons abroad (again, what the IRS proposes is still not acceptable, but shows that they may continue gradually to back down).
@Jefferson D. Tomas:
I agree that the terms US customers and US customer relationships are unclear in the article. In the video interview, it is stated that the 250 US customers includes many Swiss, but what that precisely means is also not clear.
In February, the Aargauische Kantonalbank, under pressure from its owner, Canton of Aargau, announced that Americans must exit the bank. (The below article uses the terms US citizens and US customers somewhat interchangeably). There were apparently 300 Americans with around 2 mille (0.2%) of the assets. It looks like this policy is aimed at reducing their risk from US Persons to the lowest possible level.
Note this comment: “Laut Dellenbach werden wohl nur die UBS, Credit Suisse und allenfalls
Vontobel US-Recht anwenden können. Alle anderen Schweizer Banken werden
sich folglich früher oder später von ihrer amerikanischen Klientel
To vent a bit, I am very tired of the US politicians who bash Switzerland and seem to think it is a land of milk and honey where everyone drives BMWs, Mercedes and Ferraris. I work for a rather normal company in Switzerland. The most prevalent brand of car in our parking lot is probably Peugeot, followed by Renault and then I would say Opels and Korean cars. The employees generally bank at the Postfinance and several regional banks, where fees are lower than the international banks. Similar to the rest of Switzerland, we once estimated that 1/3 of the employees own their own home and the other 2/3 rent.
Switzerland does several things well:
1) Government spending: it generally has balanced budgets, at the Federal and cantonal levels, while having much more reasonable taxes than its neighbors.
2) Direct democracy: the frequent referendums ensure buy-in by the people of important decisions and is a check on excesses by the politicians. Referendums do not always get it “right” but it is the law since the people have decided.
3) Pension plans: in addition to requiring that employers offer pension plans to almost all employees, pension plans are required to be fully funded. As a result, almost all pension funds are defined-contribution, a less-dangerous variety.
4) Health insurance: residents of Switzerland must carry health insurance. Insurance companies cannot discriminate based on prior health conditions.
5) Skills: Although Switzerland is criticized for a low rate of university graduates, the dual-education apprenticeship programmes ensure that almost everyone has marketable training in something. Apprenticeship training is also beneficial to learning soft skills, such as, getting out of bed and arriving at work on time, learning how to behave at work, answering the telephone properly, etc. Mandatory military or civilian service also ensures that Swiss males are further trained.
6) Consumer credit: what a shame, but it is hardly available. There is a law that prohibits consumer lending if it could lead to the borrower becoming overly indebted. (The US GE Money Bank appears to be doing all possible to lend money to consumers. Perhaps the Swiss should indict GE for criminal conspiracy, etc.)
I keep a 10’000’000 German Reichsmark note from 1923 and a 1932 Swiss 5 Franc coin in a frame on the wall. The Reichsmark is not worth anything and the 5 Franc coin, which I received as change several years ago, is the same coin used today.
@Innocente I agree with the positive things you say about Switzerland.
I do not like this momentum of banks refusing customers. About Aargau, we still cannot be sure that Swiss residents are being discriminated against. If all the banks are doing it, eventually PostFinance might follow suit, and then what is one supposed to do?
When will the compentant authorities wake up and realize that by allowing these things to happen, they are degrading Swiss constitutional values?