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Dispute between Swiss abroad and the banks

Whether living in Zimbabwe, USA or France, existing banking relationships were cut off after the financial crisis, regardless of how long they had existed before moving abroad, and regardless of their new homeland. But there are also problems when Swiss Abroad want to open a new account in Switzerland. The banks are now demanding high deposits or hefty fees.


«  » I can give you an example of Zimbabwe. In the second generation after decades, the account was terminated in a rude manner in cooperation with Credit Suisse «  »
Author: Remo Gysin
President Swiss Abroad Organization


Here, the Swiss Organization for the Swiss Abroad has achieved a signal-based breakthrough, says President Gysin. For example, Geneva Cantonal Bank offers a tailor-made package for Swiss Abroad with financial planning and investment advice.

The promises of systemically important banks

It is agreed that the account can also be opened after emigration, ie from the new home. The name of the new product: Expat-Banking. Florian Annoni of the Geneva Cantonal Bank says: « Under the umbrella of the new expatbanking, we have now combined these various competence centers, so that we have the opportunity to provide our customers with all the knowledge they need ».

The Swiss Abroad organization has also intensively negotiated with systemically important banks, says ASO President Remo Gysin. The result: Those Swiss expatriates who had an account or wanted to open one in Switzerland before emigrating would no longer have any difficulties for the bank in the future. The proof of this is still pending, says Remo Gysin. But he is confident. Systemically important banks include UBS, Credit Suisse, Postfinance, Raiffeisen and Zürcher Kantonalbank.

The achievement was a first step towards normalized banking relationships, meanwhile recognizes Jean-Paul Aeschlimann, who has traveled from Monpellier to the meeting of the Foreign-Swiss Council. But it would have to follow more steps, says Councilmate Sabine Silberstein. She has lived in Singapore for over 20 years. « We very much hope that the Geneva Cantonal Bank will take on a pioneering role and that the other banks will follow suit as soon as possible. But we are certainly not completely satisfied ».

Silberstein wants equal skewers for foreign and domestic Swiss. It also calls on banks to stop discriminating against Swiss Abroad. « If they have white money and a good reputation, they should be able to open an account with the bank of their choice, without the fees being three times as high as if they live in Switzerland ».

ASO falls on deaf ears with the Federal Council

Of that, the ASO is still far away. After all, she drew attention to her concerns through direct contacts with the so-called systemically important banks in Switzerland and at the same time continued the debate with political initiatives in parliament. So far, however, neither the Federal Council nor Parliament wanted to oblige systemically important banks to treat the almost 800,000 Swiss abroad equally, Swiss inland.


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