Trade & Invest In America

Navigating basic banking in the US

By Robert Sloposky, group director and senior vice president, Signature Bank

“My client needs to establish a bank account in the United States.” 
“I am looking for a lender to assist with a residential mortgage, but I am having trouble because my client does not have a credit history in the U.S.” 

Do these basic client needs sound familiar to you? Signature Bank can assist with these financial services and many more with an almost seamless delivery that attorneys can now add to the suite of services being offered to international clients seeking a presence in the United States. Signature Bank has been named as one of the Best Banks in America by Forbes for seven consecutive years; as the 2017 Best Commercial Bank in the United States by International Banker; as a 2017 Top 3 Best for Private Banking Services by the National Law Journal; and the Bank has won numerous other accolades while providing a full range of financial services to the international community year after year.

At Signature Bank we have a solid history in serving a wide variety of the very unique needs of international clients, but here we will focus on checking accounts and assistance with procuring consumer residential first mortgages.

A checking account at Signature Bank allows a client check writing privileges worldwide as well as a debit card that is free of service charges across the globe. Clients may open an account without visiting one of the Bank’s US financial centres in person. Clients can make wire transfers into the account from abroad, and they can use Signature Bank’s Foreign Exchange Desk to affect currency exchange transactions. A monthly account statement is sent to the client at the address of their choosing. A personal banker is assigned to each and every client providing a single point of contact for all of their client’s banking needs.

In the US, homeownership has a tradition of serving as a source of individual pride and has long been looked at as a primary driver of the accumulation of wealth. The amortisation of principal debt resulting in equity growth and real estate’s potential to increase in value have both led to this wealth creation. For these reasons, the residential first mortgage has remained one of American banking’s most popular lending products. However, with no established credit or job history, non-US citizens often have difficulty securing a residential mortgage. Signature Bank can assist by working alongside strategic, specialist partners to help international borrowers to secure a standard 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage at competitive market rates. Certain conditions will apply to the loan-to-value and there is escrowing of mortgage payments, which is how the credit and work history issues can be overcome. We encourage clients that are interested in US homeownership to have a consultation with a Signature Bank representative who can review the mortgage process and program in detail.

Signature Bank is well versed in assisting international clients, we stand ready to assist in any way that we are able, and we wish great success to our readers in their journeys to wherever life leads them.

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