I called GE Money Bank AG today and was informed that they do not provide banking services to Swiss citizens in Switzerland who are considered to be “US Persons”. GE Money Bank is a division of GE Capital which is a unit of General Electric, “an American multinational conglomerate corporation incorporated in Schenectady, New York and headquartered in Fairfield, Connecticut, United States”.
You are hereby confirming that you are a non-US person, i.e. that you are not a US citizen (sole, double or multiple nationality), that you do not possess resident alien status (for example because you are in possession of a Green Card or because you have regularly resided in the USA in the current year and the previous two years) and that in accordance with the provisions of US tax law you are the beneficial owner of the assets held by you and of the income generated by those assets. Insofar as a double taxation treaty exists between the USA and your country of domicile as a client, the bank will in principle accord you, as our client, a reduction of the US withholding taxes on income from US sources. In such a case, the bank is entitled to ask you to produce additional documentation.
GE Money Bank Savings (see info button to the right of “confirm that I am a non-US person.”)
Other banks that I have called so far who refuse to provide banking services to Swiss citizens in Switzerland considered as being “US Persons” are:
- GE Money Bank (US bank. Doesn’t finance mortgages, but refuses to provide banking services to Americans)
- Raiffeisen (might finance Swiss citizens who live in the States)
- Bank Coop
- AXA Bank
- Migros Bank (unless the minimum account balance is $250’000 or the mortgage is above $700’000)
- Valiant Bank AG
- Rothschild Bank AG (probably not, but unsure)
- SwissLife (investment products, mortgages)
- Hypothekarbank Lenzburg (see signature on every web page)
- Swissquote Bank
- FinanzZentrum Jungfrau AG
- Vontobel (Doesn’t finance mortgages, but US persons are prohibited from accessing the web page)
- Bank Sarasin, under the condition that the mortgage is matched with assets (US persons are prohibited from accessing the web page)
Banks which are stated that they were undecided are:
- Bank Thalwil (as of 28.08.2012, but US persons are prohibited from visiting their web site)
- Bank Linth (conditional, but their web site states that investments and other transactions are not for US persons)
- Alpha Rheintal Bank AG (only accepts regional customers, including maybe US persons)
- Julius Baer (refuses to provide financial services to US citizens, but I need to inquire on mortgages with dual citizens)
Banks which provide Swiss citizens in Switzerland banking services regardless of the fact that they are considered as being “US Persons” are:
- Basler Cantonal Bank (refuses to provide financial services to US citizens)
- Vaud Cantonal Bank (waives foreign account fees for Swiss citizens living or working abroad)
- Aargauische Cantonal Bank (closing the accounts of US persons)
- St. Galler Cantonal Bank (closing the accounts of US residents)
- Zürcher Cantonal Bank (does not finance mortgages for Swiss citizens who live in the US)
- Credit Suisse (refuses to provide financial services to US citizens)
- Hyposwiss Privatbank (As long as W9 is completed)
- UBS (Baden branch, but American citizens are being denied banking services)
- Postfinance (does not provide credit to Swiss citizens living in America). It’s partners, Valiant and Münchener Hypothekenbank don’t want US persons.
- SwissLife (insurances)
- AMFIE (according to CERN)
- Credit Mutuel in St. Genis-Pouilly (according to CERN)
Those denying banking services to Swiss citizens have no official statement of such. They are acting upon recent internal instructions which they will not release to the public. I was told that SwissLife has an official statement on the matter, and I found one on a mortgage application:
The customer is not a “US-Person”. That means, he/she is not a US citizen (single, double or multiple citizenship), that he doesn’t have the status of being a foreign resident (“resident alien”) , has (for example the possession of a “Green Card” or any regular stay in the USA in the current year or last two years).
SwissLife Mortgage Application
Both the US embassy in Bern and the Swiss Department of Finance stated that the action taken by the banks is legal and advised one to communicate the matter with US representation. After being informed that US politicians are not responding to Americans abroad, the US embassy in Bern recommended contacting the ACA lobby.
The US government writes that it is a federal crime to deny a US person a mortgage because of their national origin, and yet the US government is forcing this federal crime upon US citizens as a result of citizenship-based taxation.