Forums / Property Investing / Overseas Deals / Newbie question – which US bank to open an account with?

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  • Profile photo of sabrinasabrina
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    @sabrina
    Join Date: 2012
    Post Count: 5

    Hi All,

    I'm looking at opening an US bank account so I can buy some investment properties over there. I'm just wondering what US bank(s) are you with or recommend? The key features I'm looking for are
    1. Easy money transfer in and out of US
    2. Low fees
    3. Good online banking system

    Happy to hear any advice since I'm very new with all this.

    Thanks in advance,
    Sab

    Profile photo of Pat007Pat007
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    @pat007
    Join Date: 2012
    Post Count: 71

    Not sure about the individual banks myself, but there is more you'll need to know about setting up a bank account and LLC if you are not living in America.

    http://myusapropertynightmare.wordpress.com/

    Covers many of the relevant topics and is worth a read.

    Profile photo of Texas Cash Cow Investments AustraliaTexas Cash Cow Investments Australia
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    @texas-cash-cow-investments-australia
    Join Date: 2011
    Post Count: 71

    Sab,

    Are you planning on visiting the USA to open the bank accounts ? If not you will find it hard to get one opened from Australia. From experiences that my clients have suffered during the process…I would say Wells Fargo would be one to stay clear from.

    Profile photo of worldinvestorworldinvestor
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    @worldinvestor
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    Post Count: 297

    I set up personal bank account  when I was in Atlanta.

    My lawyer set up my bank account for my first LLC. I have since opened several bank accounts for various LLCs myself from Australia, I have a contact person, happy to pass this info on if interested.

    I am with Wells Fargo, I must say I think the US systems are miles behind Australian banking systems, don't understand this. TCC is probably right as far as Wells Fargo goes, but I am told that US banks in general are hopeless.
     
    I am visiting Atlanta again in the next 6 weeks and will be setting up another bank account, want a bank that is affiliated to Australia, can anyone help with this question?  Thanks

    WI

    Profile photo of sabrinasabrina
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    @sabrina
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    Hi Pat, thanks heaps for the link! Awesome infos on the site, I have learnt a lot from it. It seems like Bank of America is not a good choice. Do you invest in the US? what bank do you use?

    Hi TTC, yes I am planning to head to the US at some stage. Thanks for the tip. What are the main areas that you clients are having problems with Wells Fargo?

    Hi WC, thanks I'm interested in the contact you have. Where is the person based? Maybe PM me if you prefer? As for the banks affiliated to Australia, so far I have heard of HSBC & Commbank USA (not sure if you'd call that affiliation). I don't know a whole lot about them though.

    Profile photo of Pat007Pat007
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    @pat007
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    In regards to HSBC not sure how they perform as a bank, but i have emails from them outright stating that the branches they have in America are actually seperate from the branches here (not one entity).. so i cannot for example:  fill in the paperwork here and have them fax it to their American office for processing.

    Essentially you face the same hurdles with international banking despite them being a "global" bank.

    As for myself, im looking to invest in the USA, but have issues finding a sufficient deposit given that i cannot really get a loan from here (in Oz) for a property over there and they have a higher requirement in terms of LVR  percentage. so im in the same boat really.. taking the time to read and research while trying to solve that problem.

    Profile photo of KimberlyKimberly
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    @kimberly
    Join Date: 2010
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    I'm looking at going wit Citibank based on personal recommendation.

    However my question is whether or not anyone has been able to setup a bank account without physically being in USA?

    Thanks, Kim

    Profile photo of Richard TaylorRichard Taylor
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    @qlds007
    Join Date: 2003
    Post Count: 12,010

    Hi Kim

    The answer is simple = NO.

    Cheers

    Yours in Finance

    Richard Taylor | Mortgage Broker helping investors build their wealth thru property
    http://www.mortgagecapitalaustralia.com.au
    Email Me | Phone Me

    0-40 Properties in a decade with a unencumbered portfolio value in excess of $40M. Ask me for a copy of my API Interview.

    Profile photo of lawsjslawsjs
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    @lawsjs
    Join Date: 2002
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    Citi were worse than useless for me. BofA are my ‘main’ bank, but mindless fools when you you actually need some banking assistance. Wells set me up an account and were helpful, but it became too hard for me to ‘reset’ all my loan payments – I closed the account. I now have a private bank who I am slowly making the change to, but they also have their own set of problems – like won’t let me sign in on computer (or a country!) that their system doesn’t recognise!! Same laptop, different country – sign in (in my very best Thai) CANNOT!

    My advice (and I think even though you probably won’t understand why and might think I am being silly) is to set up an account with someone at a bank you yourself walk into and meet someone you feel comfortable with. You need _someone_ who knows _you_ personally.To do anything else will create ‘problems’ when you need something slightly outside the box – and when dealing with the US banking system I can promise you that almost anything you expect will (or should) happen almost certainly won’t. There are now US banks who deal with aliens quite well, but please find a person you like – the bank itself is less concerning, the people in it make the difference. In general US banking is like entering a 1960’s time warp:)

    Post 9/11 do not even THINK about setting up an account without being there and having your passport.

    Profile photo of Texas Cash Cow Investments AustraliaTexas Cash Cow Investments Australia
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    @texas-cash-cow-investments-australia
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    Kim,

    You will find some groups will offer to arrange a bank account for you in the USA (for a fee or for paying members only)……9 times out of 10 it's Wells Fargo. Still haven't been able to ascertain why or how they do it….all about contacts they have I assume. Under the Patriot Act it is against the law to do what they do. Some I know have had their attorney arrange an account under a Power of Attorney I assume.

    Couldn't agree more with what Jeremy said though…..you really do need that personal relationship. Anything to do with US banking is like stepping back in time so be prepared. Have a read of this link

    http://www.usatoday.com/MONEY/usaedition/2011-05-26-electronic-payART_ST_U.htm

    now think back how long we have been able to do this in Australia and you might start to appreciate what we're talking about !!

    Profile photo of KimberlyKimberly
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    @kimberly
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    Profile photo of lawsjslawsjs
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    @lawsjs
    Join Date: 2002
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    Here Here Tx Cash Cow….

    Great article.

    US guys – in Aus and the rest of the ‘English’ speaking world (and I use the term from BBC America ‘we speak English:)’ ) this not a ‘lets get the US’ thread, it is about how incredibly frustrating it is to deal with a country that put man on the moon, invented the internet and yet seems only able to use the net to download porn.

    You don’t need to use naked girls pictures to send money, you can do it with bank account numbers!

    Profile photo of streamlineinvestingstreamlineinvesting
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    @streamlineinvesting
    Join Date: 2010
    Post Count: 171
    worldinvestor wrote:
    I set up personal bank account  when I was in Atlanta.

    My lawyer set up my bank account for my first LLC. I have since opened several bank accounts for various LLCs myself from Australia, I have a contact person, happy to pass this info on if interested.

    I am with Wells Fargo, I must say I think the US systems are miles behind Australian banking systems, don't understand this. TCC is probably right as far as Wells Fargo goes, but I am told that US banks in general are hopeless.
     
    I am visiting Atlanta again in the next 6 weeks and will be setting up another bank account, want a bank that is affiliated to Australia, can anyone help with this question?  Thanks

    WI

    Hi Worldinvestor,

    Could you pass on your contact? We’ve been trying to set up a bank account in the US for a while now. Our email is [email protected]

    Cheers,
    Lenny

    Profile photo of worldinvestorworldinvestor
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    @worldinvestor
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    Just emailed the contact, however this will only be useful if you are looking at Atlanta.

    Also, if you are using a lawyer to set up your LLCs they can set up your bank account, EIN etc.

    Cheers
    WI

    Profile photo of FreckleFreckle
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    @freckle
    Join Date: 2012
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    lawsjs wrote:
    like won’t let me sign in on computer (or a country!) that their system doesn’t recognise!! Same laptop, different country – sign in (in my very best Thai) CANNOT!

    Get this software

    http://hidemyass.com/vpn/

    It’ll solve that problem.

    The Freckle

    Profile photo of lawsjslawsjs
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    @lawsjs
    Join Date: 2002
    Post Count: 252

    I will look, thanks for the link but I doubt it. On the surface US banking systems are stupid, but they are technically not. In the case of logging onto Grandpoint it seems if they dont recognise the server as well as the PC’s own ID they treat the log in as suspicious. In otherwords things like peerguardian will self defeat – it has to recognise the numbers and ident to let you in, hiding anything is probably exactly what they are trying to stop. I’ll let you know though, thanks.

    Profile photo of streamlineinvestingstreamlineinvesting
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    @streamlineinvesting
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    worldinvestor wrote:
    Just emailed the contact, however this will only be useful if you are looking at Atlanta.

    Also, if you are using a lawyer to set up your LLCs they can set up your bank account, EIN etc.

    Cheers
    WI

    Thanks very much WI. We’ve struggled to open a US bank account for over a year now. We actually had one open and then the bank closed without informing us due to the Patriot Act. It’s just ridiculous.

    Profile photo of worldinvestorworldinvestor
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    @worldinvestor
    Join Date: 2011
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    Just googled "Patriot Act", too much for my little brain to deal with…..

    I know they can close your account if you do not have a minimum of $250 each month.

    As I mentioned have not had any issues, however will be going to Atlanta in May, will be organising cheque (check) book for each account, friend who recently came back mentioned that this was quite a saga, looks like a couple of hours to sort this one out.

    WI

    Profile photo of mattstamattsta
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    @mattsta
    Join Date: 2011
    Post Count: 604

    this forum thread talks about the hassle of dealing with a wells fargo owned bank too…
    https://www.propertyinvesting.com/forums/property-investing/overseas-deals/4344008

    Profile photo of lawsjslawsjs
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    @lawsjs
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    worldinvestor wrote:
    I know they can close your account if you do not have a minimum of $250 each month.

    As I mentioned have not had any issues, however will be going to Atlanta in May, will be organising cheque (check) book for each account, friend who recently came back mentioned that this was quite a saga, looks like a couple of hours to sort this one out.

    WI

    It took me a year to close a Wells account when it had $0 in it. I still get statements though:)

    Cheque books take days/weeks – not hours….

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