Resubmitted Complaint on Housing Discrimination to HUD

Submitted to HUD.gov

————————————————————-

I filed a complaint on housing discrimination on the 23rd of July but never received a response and was later told that the complaint had vanished.

I’m an American citizen living in Switzerland and many banks are refusing to refinance my mortgage in response to pressure being applied against them by the US government.  According to US federal law, the US government is forcing housing discrimination upon innocent Americans who live in other countries.

It is my understanding that HUD only helps Americans in the 50 States and US territories while ignoring Americans who live overseas.  Yet, since the US government is causing Americans abroad to suffer from housing discrimination, HUD needs to help all American regardless of where they may live in the world.

Eritrea, North Korea and America are the only nations which double-tax the personal income of their citizens regardless of where they live in the world.  Yet, unlike Eritrea and North Korea, America is the only nation in the world which pressures banks to harm its citizens with housing discrimination, while turning its back on its citizens and refusing to aid them from the harm of its actions.  Since the US government insists that it must double-tax its citizens while pressuring banks to refuse to finance their homes, it certainly cannot be too much to ask for HUD to be prepared to assist Americans abroad who are suffering from housing discrimination resulting from US policy.

———————————————————-

Received the following response:

Thank you for your HUD-903 complaint regarding your belief that your civil rights have been violated. Please be assured that the issue you have raised is very important to us. Unfortunately, the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) does not have jurisdiction to handle complaints outside of the United States.

STATUTE – It is the policy of the United States to provide, within constitutional limitations, for fair housing throughout the United States.

Sec. 802. [42 U.S.C. 3602] Definitions

(g) “State” means any of the several States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or any of the territories and possessions of the United States.

FHEO administratively enforces federal statutes, executive orders and regulations designed to afford all persons an equal opportunity to live in housing of their choice and to participate in HUD-assisted programs and activities without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, religion, familial status (families with children under 18), disability, or age.

Letter to Staff of Congressman Vern Buchanan, requesting recommendation to renounce US citizenship

Sent via email (since, I’ve updated the latest bank situation in this post)
———————————————————————-
Dear staff of Congressman Vern Buchanan,
I’m a middle class American citizen and US veteran registered to vote in your district, who has been living abroad in Switzerland since 2001. I moved to Switzerland to escape unemployment in the US during the Dot-Com crisis. In 2006, I was lucky enough to be able to get a mortgage to finance a condo which will need to be refinanced in February next year.
In the last few months, the situation here has deteriorated dramatically. Several weeks ago, I walked from one bank to the next only to be told that they will not refinance my mortgage simply because I am a US citizen, even though I am also a Swiss citizen. GE Moneybank, an American bank, also stated that I may not open an account with them simply because I am an American. Currently, the following banks have informed me that they will not refinance the mortgages of Swiss-US dual citizens in Switzerland:
  • GE Money Bank (US bank.  Doesn’t finance mortgages but refuses to provide banking services to Americans)
  • Raiffeisen (might finance Swiss citizens who live in the States)
  • Bank Coop
  • AXA Bank
  • Migros Bank (unless the minimum account balance is $250’000 or the mortgage is above $700’000)
  • NAB
  • Valiant Bank AG
  • Rothschild Bank AG (probably not, but unsure)
  • SwissLife (investment products, mortgages)
  • Hypothekarbank Lenzburg (see signature on every web page)
  • Swissquote Bank
  • FinanzZentrum Jungfrau AG
  • Vontobel (Doesn’t finance mortgages, but US persons are prohibited from accessing the web page)
  • Bank Sarasin, finances under the condition that the mortgage is matched with assets (US persons are prohibited from accessing the web page)
  • Julius Baer (refuses to provide financial services to US citizens, but may refinance a mortgage for dual citizens with a minimum investment of 500’000)
  • Zuger Cantonal Bank
The following banks have not yet decided if they will finance the mortages of Swiss-US dual citizens in Switzerland:
The following banks have stated that they will still provide some services to Swiss-US dual citizens, for now, but many refuse to provide banking services to American citizens in Switzerland:

  • Basler Cantonal Bank (refuses to provide financial services to  US citizens)
  • Vaud Cantonal Bank (waives foreign account fees for Swiss citizens living or working abroad)
  • Aargauische Cantonal Bank (closing the accounts of US persons)
  • St. Galler Cantonal Bank (closing the accounts of US residents)
  • Zürcher Cantonal Bank (does not finance mortgages for Swiss citizens who live in the US)
  • Credit Suisse (refuses to provide financial services to  US citizens)
  • Hyposwiss Privatbank (As long as W9 is completed)
  • UBS (Baden branch, but American citizens are being denied banking services)
  • Postfinance (does not provide credit to Swiss citizens living in America). It’s partners, Valiant and Münchener Hypothekenbank don’t want US persons.
  • SwissLife (insurances)
  • AMFIE (according to CERN)
  • Credit Mutuel in St. Genis-Pouilly (according to CERN)
  • VP Bank (Lichtenstein, will have cut all ties to US customers by the end of 2012 but will finance mortgages for dual citizens if they invest around 50+k)
I have written my representation in the States on this issue, but they did not respond and took no action. I feel terribly unrepresented. Obama, Romney, Senator Bill Nelson and Vern Buchanon ignored the situation and took no action. Yet, the cause of the situation is US policy. Swiss banks are responding to US pressure.
In the United States, it is a federal crime to deny a person a mortgage based on their national origin, and yet the US government is pressuring banks to deny American citizens mortgages simply because they are US persons. I created a complaint with HUD on housing discrimination, but HUD deleted my complaint (see attachment). I called the Veterans Administration but was told that they do not help veterans who live overseas.
Yet, I’m not the only American citizen who is suffering from US policy. The US embassy in Bern stated that I was one of the lucky few who still has a bank account. I am in contact with two other American citizens who are being denied by banks the ability to refinance their mortgage. This problem is not only limited to Switzerland and is likely only going to get worse around the world.
I’ve blogged the letters to my representation and summarized the responses here: https://expatami.wordpress.com/
Americans abroad have been fighting to improve the situation for decades, but the situation has only grown worse. Since my representation has not responded, I am not going to wait for my representation to do nothing. Thus, I am working my way up my chain of representation to request a letter of recommendation to renounce my US citizenship. Sadly, this is the least that I can request, the most that America is willing to provide its citizens living abroad and it is the only way that I can ensure that my mortgage will be refinanced in February.
————————————————————————
Was informed on the 4th of September that the matter would be discussed, but heard nothing since.

Letter to Communication State Secretary for International Financial Matters

Dear Communication State Secretary for International Financial Matters,

In the United States, it is a federal crime to deny a person a mortgage based on their national origin.  Currently, America is pressuring Swiss banks to deny American citizens mortgages based on their national origin.  I understand this as being a federal crime in the United States.  The Swiss government is responding to this American federal crime by supporting and defending ist practice, encouraging Swiss banks to also deny Swiss citizens mortgages since the US government insists that the Swiss government must also be a partner in crime.

Why thus is the Swiss government being criminal against Swiss citizens in defense of US federal crimes?  Is it to much to ask for the Swiss government to advise the US government that it is not only criminal to deny Swiss  citizens mortages based on their national origin, but also criminal to deny US citizens mortgages based on their national origin, according to US law?

Raiffeisen personally told me that it will not refinance my mortgage simply because I am a Swiss citizen who lives in Switzerland who is double-taxed by the US government.  Yet, today it was printed in the news that Raiffeisen informed a Swiss citizen living in the US and taxed by the US government that it might refinance his mortgage even though he is not taxed by Switzerland.  So, a Swiss citizen in Switzerland is being denied a mortage for their Swiss property while a Swiss citizen living in the US might be able to refinance their Swiss property in Switzerland?  The only difference with this situation is that Switzerland does not double-tax its citizens, unlike the US.

How is this supposed to make sense? How can this be justified?  Please explain this logic because neither I nor anyone in this world can understand this.  I fail in comprehending why the Swiss government would rather discriminate against Swiss citizens than to request for the US government to stop violating its own laws.

Sincerely,

[ExpatAmi]

—————————————————————–

No response

Can America solve its international address problem? Nope.

Submitted to MittRomney.com

————————————————————–

Dear Romney,

A good problem to solve that others say can’t be solved and is politically beyond repair in the US of A, is your contact page.  It doesn’t allow for Americans living overseas to enter in the address where they live which is not in America.  If such a simple problem cannot be solved, then can any problem be solved?  Nope.

Sincerely,

[ExpatAmi]

—————————————————————

No response and no action undertaken to solve the problem

Requesting letter of recommendation to renounce US citizenship from State House candidate Liz Alpert

Submitted to votelizalpert.com

——————————————————————

Dear Liz Alpert,

I’m a US citizen living abroad who is registered to vote in your district.

Currently, the following banks are refusing to refinance my mortgage simply because I am a US citizen, as a result of US policy:

Raiffeisen, Bank Coop, AXA Bank, Migros Bank, NAB, Valiant Bank AG, SwissLife, Hypothekarbank Lenzburg, Swissquote Bank, FinanzZentrum Jungfrau AG

I have contacted VA loans and the US Department of Housing on housing discrimination but was told that they don’t help American veterans living abroad.  HUD even deleted my complaint.

While it is understandable that the US government will not help Americans who do not live in America, it is not understandable that the US government pressures banks abroad to refuse to refinance the mortgages of American citizens.

I realize that you may feel that you are busy with your campaign in dealing with local issues, but campaigns are excellent opportunities to demonstrate that one recognizes everyone whom one is fighting to represent and that one is also willing, capable and active in fighting for their rights even prior to being elected.

As such, I am requesting from you a letter of recommendation that I renounce my US citizenship.  If you have any better suggestions, then let it be heard.

Sincerely,

[ExpatAmi]

—————————————————————————————

No response

Requesting letter of recommendation to renounce US citizenship from Congressman Vern Buchanan

Submitted to house.gov/buchanan using Swiss address in street address and Florida zip code

——————————————————————

Dear Vern Buchanan,

I just finished speaking with Keith Fitzgerald’s staff on this important issue.  I’m a US citizen living abroad who is registered to vote in your district.

Currently, the following banks are refusing to refinance my mortgage, as well as that of two other Americans, simply because we are US citizens and as a result of US policy:

Raiffeisen, Bank Coop, AXA Bank, Migros Bank, NAB, Valiant Bank AG, SwissLife, Hypothekarbank Lenzburg, Swissquote Bank, FinanzZentrum Jungfrau AG

I’ve written my representation concerning issues facing American citizens living abroad, and received no response.  I also contacted VA loans and the US Department of Housing on housing discrimination but was told that they don’t help American veterans living abroad.

While it is understandable that the US government will not help Americans who do not live in America, it is not understandable that the US government pressures banks abroad to refuse to refinance the mortgages of American citizens.

As such, I am requesting from you a letter of recommendation that I renounce my US citizenship since such is currently the only means that I can refinance my mortgage with many banks.  If you have any better suggestions, then let it be heard.  Keith Fitzgerald’s staff claimed that they would take unspecified action on this if they had your job, and thus I’m writing to you to see which action you may be willing to take.

Sincerely,

[ExpatAmi]
———————————————————–

No Response.  Received an unpersonalized, generic automated e-mail response, but that’s more than nothing.

Requesting letter of recommendation to renounce US citizenship from Congress candidate Keith Fitzgerald

Submitted to http://www.gofitzgo.com/contact

—————————————————————————————

Dear Keith Fitzgerald,

I’m a US citizen living abroad who is registered to vote in your district.

Currently, the following banks are refusing to refinance my mortgage simply because I am a US citizen, as a result of US policy:

Raiffeisen, Bank Coop, AXA Bank, Migros Bank, NAB, Valiant Bank AG, SwissLife, Hypothekarbank Lenzburg, Swissquote Bank, FinanzZentrum Jungfrau AG

I’ve written you as well as my representation in the US concerning issues facing American citizens living abroad, and received no response.  I also contacted VA loans and the US Department of Housing on housing discrimination but was told that they don’t help American veterans living abroad.

While it is understandable that the US government will not help Americans who do not live in America, it is not understandable that the US government pressures banks abroad to refuse to refinance the mortgages of American citizens.

As such, I am requesting from you a letter of recommendation that I renounce my US citizenship.  If you have any better suggestions, then let it be heard.

Sincerely,

[ExpatAmi]

—————————————————————————————

No response.  Called and left a message on 29.8.2012 11am  A staff member returned the call.  I explained the situation to him and he felt that Keith Fitzgerald would be interested in taking action after being elected but didn’t have any time right now.  I expressed concern that there was currently no indication that Keith Fitzgerald would address the matter after being elected and that expats are accustomed to not being represented.  My spouse advised to take the issue directly to Obama.

Letter to Vice President Joseph Biden

Dear Vice President Joseph Biden,

I’m an American veteran living abroad in Switzerland.  I’ve been doing my fair share of filing taxes and FBAR’s, but now the following banks are telling me that they will not refinance my mortgage simply because I’m a US person, as a result of US policy:

Raiffeisen, Bank Coop, AXA Bank, Migros Bank, NAB, Valiant Bank AG, SwissLife, Hypothekarbank Lenzburg, Swissquote Bank, FinanzZentrum Jungfrau AG

I’ve contacted the VA Home Loans and HUD, but both informed me that they will not do anything for Americans living overseas.

Thus, please call these banks and explain to them that US policy now has changed in such a manner that they no longer have any reason to deny US persons mortgages due to US policy.  As you must know, it is a federal crime in the US to deny a person a mortgage based on their national origin and thus it is certainly unacceptable that American citizens are being denied mortgages as a result of US policy.

If you are unable to call the banks to inform them that US policy changed, then please explain to the American people why the US government is causing unnecessary harm to  Americans living abroad.

Sincerely,

[ExpatAmi]

———————————————————————–

I got an email from Joe Biden through democrats.org, asking me to make a donation of $3 or more.

HUD Complaint on Housing Discrimination Vanished in thin air and VA Home Loans won’t do jack

On the July 23, 2012, I filed a complaint on housing discrimination with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.  On housing discrimination, HUD writes:

Housing discrimination based on your race, color, national origin, religion, sex, family status, or disability is illegal by federal law. If you have been trying to buy or rent a home or apartment and you believe your rights have been violated, you can file a fair housing complaint.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

In Switzerland, one has to refinance one’s mortgage every few years.  Yet, as a direct result of US policy, the following banks personally told me that they will not refinance my mortgage since I am a “US Person”:

  • Raiffeisen
  • Bank Coop
  • AXA Bank
  • Migros Bank
  • NAB
  • Valiant Bank AG
  • SwissLife
  • Hypothekarbank Lenzburg
  • Swissquote Bank
  • FinanzZentrum Jungfrau AG

Concerning my mortgage history, the current lender wrote:

All experiences with [SwissPinoy] and the bank have been very positive.  There has never been a problem with any of their business relations.  We are very pleased with all of our dealings with [SwissPinoy].  Our experiences would indicate that there is a high degree of integrity and responsibility in the way [SwissPinoy] conducts their financial affairs.  Therefore, we consider them to be respectable, honest, trustworthy and of good standing and repute.  This data is based on actual data and experience.

The Swiss government informed me that banks have the legal right to deny individuals mortgages based on national origin.  However, since this action is the result of US policy, I filed a complaint with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.  After several days, I received no response and so I called HUD and was advised to call back in about 3 weeks.  Today, I was finally able to reach someone and was informed that my complaint was not on file.  It had vanished.  I explained that I’m probably the only US person in Switzerland who has a mortgage and was advised to resubmit the complaint.

HUD will only help Americans who are harmed by US policy in the 50 States and US territories.  Americans citizens who are harmed by the US government in other nations are ignored by the US government and left on their own.

 

Well, no worries.  I’m a US veteran and the US Home Loan program allows veterans to purchase their primary residence.

The VA Home Loan program allows veterans with qualifying income and credit to purchase a primary residence without putting any money down towards the sale price of the home, as long as that sale price does not exceed the appraised value of the home.
US Department of Veterans Affairs

So, I called VA to inquire if they would help me to refinance my mortgage since banks are refusing to lend me money simply because I’m a US veteran.  Well, the US Department of Veterans Affairs informed me that it does not help American veterans who are denied mortgages for being US persons as a result of US policy.  This shows that the US government is not only willing to harm innocent American citizens who served the country and are living abroad, but that it will then do nothing for them afterwards.

International Address concerning Americans abroad

The following letter was submitted through Junior Senator Marco Rubio’s contact page.

————————————————————————

Dear Junior Senator Marco Rubio,

I’m a Florida veteran and US citizen living abroad and I was wondering if your contact page could be modified so that Americans abroad can contact you using the address where they live?  You have an option for “Military Personnel” stationed outside of Florida, but what about Americans who live and work in other countries?

Regards,

[ExpatAmi]
———————————————————————–

No response