Retracing a number of news from the last few days Swissinfo comments on the ambiguous situation of the banks in the US Program and their choice of categories. The media states that “While some banks have formed a clear picture of where they stand in the so-called ‘non-target letter’ program, others are still weighing up the cost of registering versus the risk of being caught by the US Department of Justice (DoJ) with their trousers down”.

The move from one category to the other, e.g. Category 2 to 3, or out of the US Program is a dangerous game. Alexander Troller, a lawyer at the LALIVE, told swissinfo.ch that “Withdrawing from category 2 after conducting such analysis is a logical step. There is a theoretical risk that the US authorities will not agree and could still prosecute them, unless of course they move to category 3 and obtained a non-target letter”. What is more dangerous, he adds, is that “Certain banks may have decided not to register in the program on the basis of a cost-versus-risk assessment”. The DoJ previously warned that banks could face serious sanctions if they do not admit their errors and are subsequently caught.

The clients find themselves in the middle of this crisis. It has consequences on US citizens living and working in Switzerland as well as on dual Swiss/US citizens. They all became unwanted customers.

The article also retraces the source and major developments of the US Program together with its impact.