For many US stock investors, having a US bank account makes many things very convenient.

The ICBC USA provides bank service to Mainland China residents. Some ICBC branches in Mainland China provide witness service for opening ICBC USA account.

About ICBC USA

The formal full name of ICBC USA is the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (USA) N.A.. It is an independent legal entity owned by the ICBC 80%, and Cathay 20%.

The ICBC USA provides consumer banking and commercial banking. It has branches in some states, not all.

Account Opening

Visiting Branches in US

Its branches in USA do not open account for customers holding US Visa (Type: B). It requires a US cell phone number, and an address in US, as well as identity documents for long-term stay in US.

Witnessed by ICBC Branches in Mainland China

Witnessed Account Opening in Shanghai

The ICBC Shanghai Municipal Branch Second Reception Hall provides the witnessing service for open ICBC USA personal account.

The applicant may visit the branch for several times, the first of which is for makeing an appointment; the second of which is for filling forms, and submitting materials; and the others of which are for further steps (if any).

ICBC Shanghai Municipal Branch Second Reception Hall
Address: 88 Jimo Road, Pudong New Area, Shanghai
Phone Number: +86 (21) 5888-5888

There are different banking laws and regulations in different states in US. Before visiting the branch the second time, you should decide which branch (of ICBC USA) you want to open account in and keep customer relationship with.

Materials

Having decided your branch, you can bring your materials to the witnessing branch. The account opening witnessed by branches in Mainland China requires many materials.

  • Current Passport (only P.R.China Passport is accepted)
  • Passport with the Valid US Visa (if the US Visa is not on the current passport)
  • Current P.R.China Resident Identity Card
  • Address Proof from a Governmental Organization in 2 months
    State-owned financial institutes (like ICBC, BoC, etc.), public utility companies (like State Grid Shanghai Municipal Branch, Shanghai Municipal Water Supply Group Co Ltd, etc.), social security institutes (like Shanghai Municipal Medical Insurance Centre, Shanghai Municipal Housing Fund Management Centre, etc.), and other similar ones are considered as governmental organizations.
  • Cell Phone Number in Mainland China

There are many pieces of forms to fill. All forms should be filled in English. The banker (commonly a customer relationship manager) would help you.

The master copy of the address proof will be taken by the branch.

After the previous steps, you many take the forms as well as cash 200 Chinese Yuan to the bank counter, and submit to the teller. The teller will collect cash and materials for his process. Then you can take the materials back to the customer relationship manager.

To and For

After one week or two, the branch (of ICBC USA) you selected commonly would reply to the branch in Mainland China.

If there’re questions, just answer them. I strongly advise that you wirte your answers in English tidily on paper, bring the paper to the branch, and sign your name and date on the paper in front of the banker. Then the banker will sign and stamp on it, then scan, and send to ICBC USA by e-mail with Lotus Notes.

Above process may be repeated several times. Every time there may be different questions.

Success

If there’s no more concern by the branch (of ICBC USA), your account will be opened. The customer relationship manager will notice you, and provide the account information.

ICBC USA requires the customer deposit at least 500 US Dollars into the checking account within 60 days, or the account would be closed. If the balance is less than 500 US Dollars, the service fee 15 US Dollars per month will be charged.

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (USA) N.A.
ABA Rounting Number / Fedwire Number: 026010948
SWIFT BIC: ICBKUS3NXXX
Address: 202 Canal St., New York, NY 10013 USA

USD Correspondent Bank Information:
Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, New York Branch
SWIFT BIC: ICBKUS33
CHIPS Number: 1459
Address: New York City, NY, USA

Further Steps

Activation of the Online Bank

After 2 or 3 working days, just remember to check your e-mail (especially the junk mail folder). If you have not received the account and the password of the online bank, just call your branch (of ICBC USA) enquiring them, during their working hours.

The account and the password will arrive very quickly, in two separated e-mails.

Non-US customers cannot transfer money off the US on online bank or mobile bank, please note.

Fund Transfer into the New Account

Just remember to buy at least 500 US Dollars spot exchange, and transfer to your new account.

I strongly recommend the ICBC Express (工银速汇). There’s no any fee. ICBC (in Mainland China) charges no fee on the mobile bank. ICBC USA does not charge any fee for inward funds from any member bank of the ICBC group.

Full Services

Debit Card and Cheque

You may have realized that till now there’s no debit card or cheque. Yes, you’re right. You can collect your debit card and cheque by visiting your branch (of ICBC USA), which your customer relationship is kept with, in person.

No worries, if you can’t get them soon. In my personal experience, there’s no effect on my account, even though I have not got them after more than two years since opening the account.

Fund Transfer through ACH

No matter inward or outward, fund transfer is supported well. If you need to transfer money into and out from the ICBC USA account through ACH, congratulations that ICBC USA supports them very well. No matter what the other party is, a securities agency, a credit card issuer, a bill payment vendor, or even another bank account holder.

For US stock investors in Mainland China, it’s really very great to have a ICBC USA account to transfer money to US without any fee, and send to the stock account through ACH.

Notices and Tips

Important Things

As a foreign bank in US, the ICBC USA is regulated very strictly, so it does businesses very carefully.

Keep your account information secret, especially your account number, card numbers, account type, and identity document information. In US, account number and card number are sensetive information.

Don’t use their account for commercial transactions. All commercial transactions shall be done between parties who are companies or non-company organizations, and no personal bank account is allowed to use for.

Don’t deposit or withdraw a large amount of cash. The US goverment regulates cash transactions very strictly. Banks commonly do not approve frequent or large cash transactions, and report doubtful situations positively.

Don’t transfer fund out to or accept money from other persons. Fund transfers between different people is dangerous, especially frequent, uncycled, or large transactions, or transactions with many different people.

Don’t try to avoid tax using their account. Nowadays, goverments of different countries cooperate to fight against tax avoidance using overseas financial accounts more seriously.

Tips

Keep Account Active

I strongly advise that you keep your account used every quarter. You can transfer some money into the account, or transfer money out, to keep the account active.

Free Cross-border Fund Transfer

If you need to transfer money out off the US, I recommend a method. I have a US stock account in the Interactive Brokers (“IB”). IB can collect money from my ICBC USA checking account through ACH. After 45 days since the money arriving at IB, the fund can be exchanged to HKD and withdrawn to a bank account in Hong Kong. There’s no any fee.

If you need to transfer money out off the US directly from the ICBC USA, you may visit the branch to apply for it in person.

If you have any questions, just feel free to leave a message here.

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