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Both my wife and I are US citizens. We opened a joint checking account with Wells Fargo bank in US in 1991. We moved back to our home town (Taipei, Taiwan) after I retired in 2009.

During the past 12 years or so, we never had any serious problem with them except we had some problem changing our address after we moved within Taiwan a few times(we are renting).

Recently, we received an e-mail from them saying that they have a new policy that we must close our account unless we can provide them with a US residential address.

We have friends in US. Sometimes we used their address to buy stuff that the seller said they only deliver to domestics address. But, using their address for banking is very risky. It's not that we don't trust them. It's that we can't trust anyone when quite a bit money is involved. Also, my wife and I don't actually live in their address.

I know there are US banks that take customers with foreign address. They are Bank of America, Citibank and HSBC. Also I know there is a credit union, State Department Federal Credit union which accepts customer with foreign address.

We currently have account with one of the banks above (not the credit union). Citi bank is going to close Asian branches (except Hong Kong and Singapore). This leaves us only one bank on the above list and the credit union that we may be able to apply for a new account.

I intend to open another US bank account with foreign address to replace Wells Fargo and deposit around several tens of thousand dollars. My question is, does Wells Fargo have the right to force us to close the account? Or, should we ask Wells Fargo to reconsider their new policy?

P.S. We file Fed tax returns every year over 50 years. We also file FBAR. Both IRS and Treasury Dept. know our address and give us refunds. We also file 1040 Schedule B (even we had < USD$200 interest. Because We live abroad, so we file schedule B based on the rule. Also, we have tax refund every year. We always tell IRS to direct deposit the refund money to Wells Fargo. We also receive the rescue fund from Trump and Biden from direct deposit into our Wells Fargo account.

I found an interesting article on Internet, Wells Fargo will no longer open accounts for non-resident; How will it affect Expats living abroad. This article proves that I am not the only one who is impacted by Wells Fargo's policy.

P.S. I asked a question on Expatriates.SE in a different way almost a week ago. There was only one answer on Expat.SE, but later deleted. So, I posted it here. Since this question was closed on this site, I edited out the product/service recommendation

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  • Maybe you can use an international account like wise.com (no advertising intended). You get a US account with it and I found it to be very east to shuffle money around. I have no idea whether it works from Taiwan though. – Hilmar Jul 21 at 11:56
  • @Hilmar I checked it. It sounds more like PayPal, please correct me if I am wrong. It's not exactly what I want. I have some 401K money, I need to withdraw certain amount every year. However, I want to put into a bank so I can withdraw some of it to spend, the rest stay with the bank. I already have another US bank to receive pension and social security benefit. I don't want to put all the money into one bank. Thus the question. Thanks again. – scaaahu Jul 21 at 12:08
  • Why don't you want to put all the money in one bank? It would seem like the obvious solution. Or transfer your money through the other bank to a non-US bank - keeping it in US dollars if you want. – DJClayworth Jul 21 at 13:13
  • What bank are you using for day-to-day transactions in Taiwan? – DJClayworth Jul 21 at 13:27
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    @DJClayworth It's more complex than you think. #1 They charge you fee for every transfer. #2 Exchange rates vary. Also, I don't need all the monthly income to live in Taiwan. The major reason I moved back to Taiwan is because they have national health insurance. USD$40 a month, including all the office visits and drugs. I can save some money every month. When my wife reaches the age to be eligible for Medicare, we probably move back to US. Also, this is probably a bad time to transfer money from US to Taiwan. Taiwan dollar is very strong. I am waiting for a better time. – scaaahu Jul 21 at 14:13