Best bank for expats

We’re thinking of traveling to different countries for extended period of time while working as expats. We’re looking for a bank / brokerage to manage our finances while overseas. The qualities we’re looking for are:

  1. We’ll be making frequent wire transfers between US and other countries while abroad. The wire fee doesn’t matter too much, but we want to be able to wire-transfer large chunks of money (e.g. $100k).
  2. We won’t have an official address in US as we’ll be abroad. Are there any restrictions in doing so?
  3. We’ll also be trading stocks + ETFs.

I understand some banks offer private banking if your overall balance exceeds certain amount. Just wondering if y’all had better experiences with certain banks, etc. Thanks!

Self answering: if you have a brokerage account at Schwab, you can send international wire transfer directly from trading account to a bank account overseas. There’s no limit on transfer amount, and the fees run $15~$25 depending on method of transfer (online vs paper form).

Schwab does not charge a fee to receive a wire into your Schwab Brokerage or Schwab Bank Accounts.
Outgoing wires carry a fee of $25 per wire requested by paper form and $15 per wire requested online.

There are no limits to the number of wires or dollar amounts sent into or out of Schwab Brokerage or Schwab Bank checking accounts, but there must be adequate funds available to send outbound wires.

This isn’t so bad. The only catch is you need to initiate the wire from the trading account which isn’t a typical bank account – I do not know if some receiving banks may not like that.

If Schwab doesn’t meet all of your needs you might approach First Republic with your challenges and see what they offer. You can always link your brokerage account to a checking account there.

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Interactive Broker has quite a few international offices. I know for a fact they have an office in Hong Kong. It’s also very flexible in terms of fund transfers and trading. The trading account actually already has some banking functions. You can get a debit card from them that let you access the money in your trading account.