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Spouse wants Joint Account with Foreign National

I have a joint account in the USA between a USA citizen and a foreign national. I have recently married a woman from out of the country. I am trying to add her to my checking account, but the bank will not allow me to do it. They are telling me that I can open an account in her name, since I have power of attorney, but she has to have a separate account, and they will not allow a joint account either. They are stating that this is because of the Bank Secrecy Act. They are indicating that accounts of foreign nationals are monitored by the government, and this monitoring would be a violation of my privacy rights since I am a resident/citizen. Is there a way to go around this, I mean I am willing to waive my privacy rights. I want the two of us to have a joint account, not two separate accounts. Is this possible?


Unless your wife bears the burden of being listed by the Office of Foreign Assets Control as a specially-designated national subject to asset blocking, it's puzzling why the bank objects, unless it simply does not wish to have an account that is partly owned by a foreign national. The allusion to privacy rights is completely inappropriate. It seems that the bank is misinterpreting the application of the Bank Secrecy Act.

The bank, of course, can decide with whom it will have a deposit account relationship. If you and your wife wish to have a joint account and the bank isn't cooperating, try contacting another bank.

Published on 5/28/09