As far as the saying goes in Europe, "having good credit means having no debt." For many, the concept of establishing credit history and managing debt in the US can be somewhat confusing and hard to grasp at a first glance.
As we previously covered in a past BAIA event (read event recap) in collaboration with Bank of the West in San Francisco, setting up a US bank account and applying for a credit card are the main banking issues for European residents who have no prior credit history. In the US, every time you ask for a loan, be it a bank loan, car loan, or mortgage, the bank/lender will ask you for your credit history, which essentially defines your credit worthiness (i.e. your ability to pay back your debt). Without prior credit history, the process of applying for a credit card or loan can become much more cumbersome. Having said that, the first step is to apply for a credit card and over time build your credit history!
Without further ado, Thierry Gabadou, Head of International Clientele, Bank of the West, and Vincenzo Mitolo, AVP Business Development - Southern Europe, International Clientele, Bank of the West and BAIA Governance Member, have an important announcement that we believe is a step forward in helping European residents get started on the right foot forward in building their financial future in the US, through a great credit card program for expatriates. (Full disclosure: Bank of the West is a BAIA Corporate Sponsor. Learn how your company can become a BAIA sponsor).
An Opportunity to Build Your Financial Future
Each year, thousands of people arrive in the U.S. with work visas – from engineers and marketing professionals who were transferred from a subsidiary to U.S. headquarters (L1), to specialists in their own field (H1-B) and dreamful entrepreneurs waiting eagerly to start their new adventure (E2). Almost upon arrival, some new residents learn for the first time that credit scores and credit history – which can be low or non-existent for many – are crucial to finding their financial footing in the U.S.
“As an immigrant who moved to the U.S. thirteen years ago, my family and I personally experienced many of the financial challenges faced by new residents today,” said Thierry Gabadou, head of the International Clientele group at Bank of the West. “For many expatriates, having good credit means having no debt. The concept of how to manage debt is new to them, and sometimes not easily understood.”
Demand for specialized foreign workers in U.S. metropolitan areas is high—particularly in areas that fall within Bank of the West’s 19 state footprint. In Brookings Institution’s report on top metropolitan areas with the highest H-1B demand, California ranks near the top with Los Angeles, The Bay Area, San Jose and San Diego regions placing second, third, fourth and fifteenth on the list respectively.
“I’m proud that Bank of the West, as a subsidiary of an international group with a significant number of expatriates, not only understands this cultural issue but can act on it to provide much-needed financial solutions to immigrants. It personifies our unique approach: a local relationship bank with global clout,” said Andy Harmening, Senior Executive Vice President, Regional Banking Group at Bank of the West.
A Credit Card for Expatriates: Straightforward, Optimistic & Entrepreneurial
Bank of the West announced its credit card program will now offer unsecured credit cards to expatriates who may have no or limited credit histories in the U.S, yet meet certain work visa, employment and financial requirements. It is a significant expansion of a credit card program currently offered to international clients of Bank of the West’s parent, BNP Paribas. “I couldn’t be more pleased with the growth of our International Clientele group,” said Gabadou. “It demonstrates that the Bank’s modern western values – straightforward, optimistic and entrepreneurial – are the same values that expatriates want in a banking partner,” he continued. “It also reflects the power of our relationship with BNPP – and how the relationship translates into real benefits for our clients.”
For information on credit cards, banking tips & advice, feel free to contact Vincenzo Mitolo, BAIA Governance Member and AVP Business Development - Southern Europe, International Clientele, Bank of the West at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Any comments? We'd love to get your feedback for the BAIA community and share how members have overcome the big obstacle in establishing a credit history in the US.
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