GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Foreign clients made up a record percentage of the total number of customers with complaints against Swiss banks in 2011, according to the Swiss banking ombudsman, Hanspeter Häni.
The complaints, which come at a time when banks are attempting to drop American clients amid a US crackdown on tax evasion, represented 38 percent of all complaints in 2011, up from 37 percent of the total in the previous year. Foreign clients disapproved of dissuasive higher fees for opening new accounts, as compared to those that Swiss residents are charged.
Complaints from clients with “US status” show a growing area of contention for banks.
A number of banks not currently involved in US probes into the existence of undeclared accounts have introduced blanket bans, forbidding US citizens to open accounts in their institutions.