Choosing to open an account with a foreign bank may be beneficial for you. Banking services offered by foreign banks are comparable to those offered by U.S. domestic banks. Your need to open an account with a foreign bank branch may be driven by work-related needs or a desire to move some of your assets into offshore accounts.
Whatever your reasons or needs, there are some things you should look for when deciding to open a foreign bank account. These tips, although not a complete list of what you can do, should provide you with an idea of what to look for before you establish a foreign bank relationship.
Find a Foreign Bank with Domestic Branches
You should seek foreign banks who maintain a banking presence in the United States. That presence should be convenient for you should a need arise for you to visit the branch or meet with various personnel such as loan or trust officers. Such companies as Credit Suisse and Royal Bank of Scotland have a large U.S. presence and are indistinguishable from their U.S. counterparts.
•Banking with a foreign bank that has a U.S. branch allows you to have a local relationship with the institution and have access to professionals who are nearby and understand you needs.
•The bank will have an understanding of local bank customs.
•Opening an account with a foreign bank with U.S. branches will subject you to taxation on earning.
•Your account is not protected by any bank privacy protections if the branch is located in the United States.
You may consider establishing a relationship with a foreign bank via the internet. Using online banking offers you the ability to access your banking information via the web. This enables you to monitor transactions, make account transfers, access other banking services and ask questions without having to travel to a foreign country.
•Banking online with a foreign bank offers the same benefit of banking online with a U.S. bank.
•You have more control and convenience when monitoring and maintaining your foreign bank account.
•You may not have a facility to deposit checks directly or have to rely on delivery services to place funds into your account.
•You do not have a face-to-face contact to address should concern or issues arise with your account.
Understand the Political Climate
A most helpful hint when opening a bank account with a foreign bank is understanding the political climate in the foreign country. A country that offers you above average rates for your money but is in a constant state of political unrest offers you no more advantage than putting your money in a low yield certificate of deposit domestically.
•Understanding the political situation in a foreign country prevents you from having your assets seized or held unexpectedly.
•May prevent you from earning better than average returns on your money due to rumors or unsubstantiated reports.