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OSA survey for banks: What are the terms and conditions for Swiss Abroad?
The Organisation of the Swiss Abroad (OSA) has conducted a new survey among Swiss banking institutions. The results have now been published.
It is a subject that has played on the minds of Swiss Abroad for years now: Which banks in Switzerland can I open an account with, and on what terms? To give customers living abroad an overview of this matter, last autumn the OSA conducted its second survey since 2015. Twenty-one Swiss banks participated in the survey; UBS and Credit Suisse were not among them. They had been contacted but did not wish to take part.
Meanwhile, practically all of the banking institutions surveyed announced in the survey that they would be raising fees for foreign customers from 1 January 2017. By way of justification, they refer to the entry into force of the automatic exchange of information. The banks would have had to introduce new processes in order to meet their obligations under the agreement on the automatic exchange of information. With the exception of the online bank Swissquote, the banking institutions also ask that accounts be opened in person at the counter.
Since 2008, it has become increasingly difficult for Swiss Abroad to open a bank account in Switzerland and to hold one on similar terms to people residing in Switzerland. The OSA has therefore undertaken various measures over the past few years with the aim of resolving this problem. It has intervened with the banks directly, but also with the Swiss Bankers Association, the Association of Swiss Cantonal Banks, the Swiss Banking Ombudsman, the price regulator and the Federal Department of Finance.
Since, as private enterprises, the banks are free to decide who they want to conclude a contract with, finding a solution is no easy matter. The OSA will continue to strive to do so, however.
The survey results can be found in detail on our website at: aso.ch/en/consultation/living-abroad/swiss-banks