I am a U.S. citizen. I have previously worked and lived in Austria and had offers to work there again. Austria has very strict banking secrecy laws. They cannot reveal a person's bank account details, even to the Austrian government, except with a warrant. They certainly won't share an account holder's detail with a foreign government. However FATCA requires that any foreign banks held by U.S. citizens be reported to the IRS. Since the banks can't and won't comply with this U.S. law, they are refusing Americans bank accounts and closing current ones.

What are the banking options for those of us in countries where local law prohibits banks from doing business with Americans because of FATCA?

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    Not sure if it really helps you but things seem to be moving. IIRC Austria also announced last week (together with Luxembourg) that they were ready not to use their veto against new EU rules on this. – Gala Mar 28 '14 at 11:41
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    WSJ report of the above – Karlson Mar 28 '14 at 13:01
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    @Karlson Ah, yes, that's what I was thinking about, thanks! Unfortunately, I haven't been to find anything in English on the other thing, the deal between Austria and the US to implement FATCA. – Gala Mar 28 '14 at 14:15
  • Privacy is one thing... But money is money... – Karlson Mar 28 '14 at 14:46
  • Related article: npr.org/blogs/parallels/2014/02/20/275937138/… – Flimzy Mar 29 '14 at 2:00

My experience in Indonesia is that the most important factor is finding a bank without a US presence. For example, the major banks here are either Australian (some of which have a US presence) while others have no US presence (Bank of Central Asia, for example). Of course it is different here because of the strong trend towards localization, but the basic matter is that banks without a US presence are not bound by US law.

The US law cannot bind a party without a presence or nexus to the US. Now from what I have read, this is affecting big banks particularly (Barclays, Fidelity, etc), which often do have an important nexus with the US, but smaller banks may be concerned as well.

If you can keep your current accounts open it looks like the best option is to shop around, focusing primarily on smaller local banks, especially if you have a good relationship with those involved.

But this is a real problem. See http://money.cnn.com/2013/09/15/news/banks-americans-lockout/

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    FATCA punishes banks regardless of presence by taxing their US operations. I don't think there are many banks without any transactions in the US. – littleadv Mar 29 '14 at 21:57
  • @littleadv I'd hazard a guess that neither Cuban nor Iranian banks have a US presence, at least at the moment given the sanctions regimes in place! – Gagravarr Mar 30 '14 at 11:25
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    @Gagravarr Yes. That's why Visa/Mastercard cards don't work in these countries. I cannot imagine any EU bank not being a part of at least one of these networks. – littleadv Mar 30 '14 at 19:23

I am an expat and have several brokerage accounts at TD Ameritrade using my foreign address. They fully support this, including tax sheltered accounts such as Roth IRA and Traditional IRA for overseas addresses.

  • The question is about bank accounts (current accounts) – Douglas Held Mar 13 '17 at 14:28

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