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U.S. Brokerage firms close accounts for US expats


ezpz
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The Banamex USA situation was very different as Citibank, the most recent owner, was closing those particular branches and did not provide a vehicle for transferring these branches accts to different branches.  Clients were therefore required to find a different US bank to deal with instead of Banamex USA.

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In the Guadalajara reporter it mentions Wells Fargo, so I sent them an email today and this is the response that I received from them:

Ms. Hensley, I realize your time is important, so I thank you for taking
the time to email us today regarding your Wells Fargo Custom Management
Checking account ending in XXXX. I can see how this would give you a
cause for concern and I would be alarmed as well.

I see in your email that you are concerned that since you do not live in
the United States your accounts with Wells Fargo will close. I would
like to apologize for the misunderstanding. Accounts may be closed by
the customer via phone, email, written request, or in person at a
banking location.

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1 hour ago, hensley said:

In the Guadalajara reporter it mentions Wells Fargo, so I sent them an email today and this is the response that I received from them:

Ms. Hensley, I realize your time is important, so I thank you for taking
the time to email us today regarding your Wells Fargo Custom Management
Checking account ending in XXXX. I can see how this would give you a
cause for concern and I would be alarmed as well.

I see in your email that you are concerned that since you do not live in
the United States your accounts with Wells Fargo will close. I would
like to apologize for the misunderstanding. Accounts may be closed by
the customer via phone, email, written request, or in person at a
banking location.

Boy that is really informative and reassuring is it not? 

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  • 5 months later...
On 2/5/2017 at 8:34 AM, Floradude said:

This is my worst nightmare.   My investments are with Merrill Lynch........                                           

Hey guys. Sorry to drag this up out of the catacombs. I am a new poster and somewhat recently retired and looking to put affairs in order for a possible overseas move. It was doing research on this that I discovered this forum and thread.  The one subject that is causing me some anxiety is what happens my financial accounts when I move. The internet is full of stories over the last few years of expats having their accounts closed and given very short notice in some cases to come up with a plan B. Last fall I sent internal e-mails to the two companies I do business with and one sent back a very detailed response saying I should have no problems. (To be clear, it is my intention to be very upfront with the people who have my accounts and not try and fool them about my country of residence) The other company, Merrill Edge, quickly responded that I would not be able to maintain my accounts if I moved overseas and that using a PO Box type thing wouldn't be satisfactory. There is a difference between Merrill Edge and Merrill Lynch and maybe Lynch is cool with it or has a program for it. I haven't researched that but feel if Merrill Edge is blowing me off, I would rather go elsewhere than migrate to Lynch. Current early research indicated Schwab and IB are cool with this and would even open up accounts for you while you are overseas. I want to get way out in front of this. My worst nightmare would be waking up in a foreign country with no access to my funds. I have never heard of this ever happening to anyone ever but I seem to always imagine the worst! Since almost half a year has gone by since this thread was active, are there any new thoughts on this subject? Any advice for a newbie in my situation? Thanks!

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8 minutes ago, Getting Older Gringo said:

Hey guys. Sorry to drag this up out of the catacombs. I am a new poster and somewhat recently retired and looking to put affairs in order for a possible overseas move. It was doing research on this that I discovered this forum and thread.  The one subject that is causing me some anxiety is what happens my financial accounts when I move. The internet is full of stories over the last few years of expats having their accounts closed and given very short notice in some cases to come up with a plan B. Last fall I sent internal e-mails to the two companies I do business with and one sent back a very detailed response saying I should have no problems. (To be clear, it is my intention to be very upfront with the people who have my accounts and not try and fool them about my country of residence) The other company, Merrill Edge, quickly responded that I would not be able to maintain my accounts if I moved overseas and that using a PO Box type thing wouldn't be satisfactory. There is a difference between Merrill Edge and Merrill Lynch and maybe Lynch is cool with it or has a program for it. I haven't researched that but feel if Merrill Edge is blowing me off, I would rather go elsewhere than migrate to Lynch. Current early research indicated Schwab and IB are cool with this and would even open up accounts for you while you are overseas. I want to get way out in front of this. My worst nightmare would be waking up in a foreign country with no access to my funds. I have never heard of this ever happening to anyone ever but I seem to always imagine the worst! Since almost half a year has gone by since this thread was active, are there any new thoughts on this subject? Any advice for a newbie in my situation? Thanks!

We just transferred all our retirement accounts to TD Ameritrade from Fidelity a couple of months ago because Fidelity doesn't like you to live outside the U.S.  TDA is fine with us living in Mexico.  We looked at Schwab as well, but ended up settling with TDA.  Both are fine with you living in Mexico.  (However, all of them DO restrict residency to certain countries. Luckily Mexico is cool.)

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Why would we all feel warm and comfortable with the status quo ...change happens all the time and given the on going complexity of global affairs etc, there is good reason  "they" will continue to move the goal post. I guess if you want to sleep soundly every night maybe moving is not an option for you

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True enough in a harsh sort of way, but when it happens to anyone and his/her banking or investment arrangements...it's not a reason to give up and leave. It's a reason to find solutions.

Here's a suggestion for those whose who haven't found another as yet, and don't have one of those virtual U.S. addresses of a friend or relative: Check out American Citizens Abroad.  www.americansabroad.org     Options there.

 

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2 minutes ago, Mainecoons said:

The cause of this problem, FATCA, is slated for repeal or serious modification to exempt permanent residents of foreign countries.  We'll see if it actually happens and whether foreign banks become more expat friendly IF it happens.

https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/2054

 

Maybe I'm missing something, and I'm all in favor of getting rid of the FATCA problem which requires foreign banking institutions to report expats' banking info, but how is this connected to U.S. financial institutions not wanting to do business in the U.S. with citizens who live outside its borders?

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Good question.  Some answers here:

http://www.bankerinthesun.com/2016/09/why-us-banks-dont-like-american-expats/

Has to do with the Patriot Act and FATCA both, apparently.

Quote

Traveling abroad is an unparalleled experienced, but if you choose to live abroad long-term it’s best you know US banks don’t like American expats. They fear the repercussions of dealing with customers who remain abroad long-term as it exposes them to many unknowns and the prospect of terrorism financing. I can’t emphasize how laws like the Patriot Act or FATCA have really screwed over American expats. As a result of these laws, foreign banks have closed numerous American account holder’s accounts and US banks have closely followed suit.

 

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There is another solution that works well.

If you have a relative or trusted friend in the US, set up a joint account and use their address.  Then use 'Paperless' option to get your statements.

I use my daughter to receive some things that I don't people to know where I live.  She scans them and sends them email.

 

 

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17 minutes ago, jrm30655 said:

There is another solution that works well.

If you have a relative or trusted friend in the US, set up a joint account and use their address.  Then use 'Paperless' option to get your statements.

I use my daughter to receive some things that I don't people to know where I live.  She scans them and sends them email.

 

 

That solution requires participation by someone in the US.  Not everyone has that option.

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On 2/5/2017 at 11:02 AM, jrm30655 said:

Just set up a mail forwarder out of the states.  Sol & Luna, Handi Mail and iShop all provide that service for around $15 a month.  They all will accept packages also.

It is none of anyones business where you live.  The government do not own you, you own the government.

I tell the Mexicans where I live because I'm a guest in their country, but I no longer live in the US so it is not any of their business.  

 

I get a kick out of this idea that we are guests.  I don't think we are guests.  Guests are not made to pay for a visit or a stay. 

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5 hours ago, Zeb said:

I get a kick out of this idea that we are guests.  I don't think we are guests.  Guests are not made to pay for a visit or a stay. 

We are guests here.  The Mexican government has graciously allowed us to live here.  It can kick us out at any time.

I am constantly amazed that people come her and bitch that it is not like their home country.  It is a "foreign country" and the rules, regulations and customs are different.

If you don't like what goes on here, don't go trying to change it, just pack up and go somewhere else.

 

 

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8 hours ago, gringal said:

That solution requires participation by someone in the US.  Not everyone has that option.

There are operations in the US that will receive your mail, scan it and email it to you the same day.  Rather expensive but they exist.

There are also places like some RV parks that will forward mail and they are not generally known because they are so small.  

Also you can run an ad and have a private individual get your mail and forward it.

There are a million ways that you can stay invisible if you so desire.

About the only thing I get anymore of importance is a new credit card.  I get a ton of "You are approved for a credit card" and "Please send us money" junk mail.  Everything financial is now paperless.  

 

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The operations you refer to all must register with the USPS and thus are known as mail forwarders. Anyone, including banks or even Amazon can be privy to what you are doing. I know, we use one. I just tried to buy an ultrasonic pest repeller on Amazon and got the message that they could not ship to that address. My stepson's address 20 miles away was no problem. The RV park idea would probably work if you trust them to receive and forward.

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2 hours ago, pappysmarket said:

The operations you refer to all must register with the USPS and thus are known as mail forwarders. Anyone, including banks or even Amazon can be privy to what you are doing. I know, we use one. I just tried to buy an ultrasonic pest repeller on Amazon and got the message that they could not ship to that address. My stepson's address 20 miles away was no problem. The RV park idea would probably work if you trust them to receive and forward.

If you truly want to disappear, run a small ad and look for an individual that will receive, open and scan your stuff.  You can probably find someone to do this for $20 a month.  What do you get of real importance anymore by mail?  Everything financial is "paperless".  If you get a credit card, they can mail or Fedex it.

I have 2 CC and I get a new one every 4 years.  Otherwise, all I get is "junk mail".  If it wasn't for the CCs, I'd close the mail drop.

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7 hours ago, jrm30655 said:

If you truly want to disappear, run a small ad and look for an individual that will receive, open and scan your stuff.  You can probably find someone to do this for $20 a month.  What do you get of real importance anymore by mail?  Everything financial is "paperless".  If you get a credit card, they can mail or Fedex it.

I have 2 CC and I get a new one every 4 years.  Otherwise, all I get is "junk mail".  If it wasn't for the CCs, I'd close the mail drop.

We use our mail drop primarily for packages, the letters are almost imaterial. They open and consolidate everything into one box saving all kinds of money on shipping.

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Since I started this thread, here is my update.  I have had NO changes with my Schwab International account and will stick with them, no problems.  They are perfectly aware that I have only my MX address and that is perfectly fine.  This is even more important to me now since I may never return to the US even for a visit the way things are going there now.  I did not get US health insurance in my retirement package.

Note: I have sometimes been unable to order from certain online businesses because of my card having a MX address.  There is now a conglomerate of online merchants called "borderfree" that also caters to people living outside the country, check it out.

I totally recommend the Schwab International account for expats.  They get that there are people living out of the country full time and cater to that clientele as well as foreigners who want to invest in US products.   I really like their phone customer service, always friendly and helpful.

With the International account, there are certain limitations about which US investments you can maintain or make, but I no longer "invest."   I feel that simply moving to MX and living full time in this economy has paid off well, especially in the past year with the peso devaluation.   

I believe the opening minimum is 25K but my elderly aunt opened the account for me so she could transfer some of her Schwab IRA money to heirs to avoid paying taxes on it, a winning strategy if you ask me!  When I moved here I cleared out my Wells Fargo (ugh!)  account and put everything in Schwab and all is well.  

 

 

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1 hour ago, ezpz said:

Since I started this thread, here is my update.  I have had NO changes with my Schwab International account and will stick with them, no problems.  They are perfectly aware that I have only my MX address and that is perfectly fine.  This is even more important to me now since I may never return to the US even for a visit the way things are going there now.  I did not get US health insurance in my retirement package.

Note: I have sometimes been unable to order from certain online businesses because of my card having a MX address.  There is now a conglomerate of online merchants called "borderfree" that also caters to people living outside the country, check it out.

I totally recommend the Schwab International account for expats.  They get that there are people living out of the country full time and cater to that clientele as well as foreigners who want to invest in US products.   I really like their phone customer service, always friendly and helpful.

With the International account, there are certain limitations about which US investments you can maintain or make, but I no longer "invest."   I feel that simply moving to MX and living full time in this economy has paid off well, especially in the past year with the peso devaluation.   

I believe the opening minimum is 25K but my elderly aunt opened the account for me so she could transfer some of her Schwab IRA money to heirs to avoid paying taxes on it, a winning strategy if you ask me!  When I moved here I cleared out my Wells Fargo (ugh!)  account and put everything in Schwab and all is well.  

 

 

" I believe the opening minimum is 25K but my elderly aunt opened the account for me so she could transfer some of her Schwab IRA money to heirs to avoid paying taxes on it, a winning strategy if you ask me!  When I moved here I cleared out my Wells Fargo (ugh!)  account and put everything in Schwab and all is well. "

Lucky to have such an auntie...........but for the rest of you folks, be aware of that amount needed to get started.

 

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21 minutes ago, gringal said:

" I believe the opening minimum is 25K but my elderly aunt opened the account for me so she could transfer some of her Schwab IRA money to heirs to avoid paying taxes on it, a winning strategy if you ask me!  When I moved here I cleared out my Wells Fargo (ugh!)  account and put everything in Schwab and all is well. "

Lucky to have such an auntie...........but for the rest of you folks, be aware of that amount needed to get started.

 

My aunt did not leave me 25K, much less than that, but somehow she was able to open the accounts.  However, that is karma.  My mother and her husband (not my father) made a killing on 2 houses they owned for 30 years in the SF bay area.  They were distant and never would discuss the will, which it turned out after they died, there was none.  So my brothers and I got screwed out of a lot of money because it went into probate and the other side got it, even though her husband had no children.  I found out about all this accidentally!  FYI, the very ordinary house my mother owned in San Jose would be valued at around $1MILLION today because of the super high wages and cost of living in Silicon Valley, home to FB, google, utube, apple, and more...

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