Borderless banking: Not just for rich guys any more

Myths endure because the stories seize our imaginations and never let go. For instance, there's the enduring story of the hitchhiker who is picked up and leaves a wallet behind, and the driver who returns it to the house soon learns that his passenger died in a car accident years ago.

And there's the tale of the young couple out on a date, parked along an old countryside road. The music on the radio is interrupted by a local newscaster with a terse warning: "A dangerous convicted murderer has escaped from an asylum for the criminally insane. He has a hook attached to his right hand..." And, of course, when the couple returns to the young woman's house, they find attached to the outside of her car door -- a bloody hook.

There's Bigfoot, the Bermuda Triangle and that crazy myth that offshore bank accounts are used by sinister bad guys.

OK, that last one is true to a large extent, but the stigma is so strong that it often prevents good and honest people from opening accounts.

That's why Lloyds Bank, based in the United Kingdom, has been on an active campaign, trying to spread the word that it's perfectly okay to get an offshore bank account. Are they doing this because everyone who works there is kind and benevolent souls? Well, possibly -- I'm sure they're all nice people -- but they also just happen to be in the market to sell you an offshore carrier account.


And they'd like to remind people that offshore banking isn't illegal, and it's not just for rich people. If you're retiring abroad, or if you simply travel overseas a lot, or if you plan on buying or selling property overseas, then it can make a lot of sense. In other words, if you deal in a lot of different currencies, borderless banking is a trend that's time has come.

It also may be a wise idea to consider an offshore banking account if you're a resident of another country and living in the United States. And according to Lloyds Bank, one fifth of our workforce across the United States is from another country. And they're legally here. We're not including the ones who sneaked through the back door.

Anyway, I think I made my case -- offshore carrier bank accounts are perfectly legal and a smart idea for some people. Hopefully, I've made the public relations guy for Lloyds Bank happy. Don't get me wrong--I wanted to write this article. The fact that the PR guy's name is Knuckles, and that he threatened me with bodily injury if I didn't write nice things about offshore carrier accounts is completely beside the point.

Geoff Williams is a business journalist and author for C.C. Pyle's Amazing Foot Race: The True Story of the 1928 Coast-to-Coast Run Across America (Rodale).

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