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Does anyone have experience with SBI (state bank of india) accounts opened in newyork/chicago branch?

I was thinking of following advantages:
1. Get benefits of high(er) interest rate, 8-10% for a 1-2 year fixed deposit (CD)
2. Get quick/easy access to money in India

I am assuming the account should be NRO, correct me if I am wrong. Are there any obvious disadvantages or anything that I should be worried of?

Thanks in advance.

Member Summary
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Opened a NRE and NRO account with SBI in Chennai in Oct 2010. Filled all the necessary forms with required documents. No... (more)

Looking4Value (Feb. 14, 2011 @ 1:27p) |

why not just buy a emerging market bond fund like PCY or EMB the returns/yields are above 6%

manuvns (Feb. 15, 2011 @ 3:09p) |

Can you kindly clarify on how (if at all you plan to) get the money back once you sell the property. If you can also kin... (more)

kogerk (Feb. 16, 2011 @ 11:47p) |

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Has anyone tried an App-O-Rama with this. Bump.

Not with SBI but tried with ICICI. IF you have NRI account then you can open it online. That is called as NRO Fixed Deposit for 390 Days(8.5% rate). However to my knowledge there is 30% TAX deduction on them.

With NRO, you cannot convert money back to US $'s. So if that is not a concern, go for it.

One thing to watch out with these type of accounts is "dormancy" issues. RBI sets up some rules around that and is a pain if you are not actively using that account (like at once in 18 months) (Not for fixed deposits though).

Don't forget the currency risk. Personally, given all the inflation in India right now, if you left your money in US $, you are more likely to make as much as the fixed deposit rate!

PrincipalMember said:   Don't forget the currency risk. Personally, given all the inflation in India right now, if you left your money in US $, you are more likely to make as much as the fixed deposit rate!

there is also the flip side, what if dollar collapses, just as a argument.

PrincipalMember said:   With NRO, you cannot convert money back to US $'s. So if that is not a concern, go for it.

One thing to watch out with these type of accounts is "dormancy" issues. RBI sets up some rules around that and is a pain if you are not actively using that account (like at once in 18 months) (Not for fixed deposits though).


that reminds me: I have a dormant citi india account. Anyone here have mpre details on these "dormancy" issues/ contact info

Let me put it in a different way to Indian members, what are you guys doing to safeguard yourself from impending monetary disaster or the dollar collapse?
- buy land in india?
- move cash to indian banks?
- buy more gold/silver?

or nothing?

buy lan property in India seems to be the most resonable safeguard to me. That being said, I don't have any RE property in India for the fear of mafia undertaking of RE when the owner is away.
BTW, SBI is still a PITA.

what's the best fixed rate rupee denominated CD that can be opened online??

I'm a NRI that will be applying for the OCI, but living here... Any tax consequences in India? Do they 1099 here?

I was thinking of ICICI NRO FD of 390 days for 8.25%.

SBI-NY is pretty good and helpful, unfortunately there isnt much they can do beyond verifying your application/signature. Now the SBI branches in India that is another story. They have not lost any of their old habits. I had DW take the application personally and it was a nightmare. Took her the whole day and lot of run around. This was in their "specialized" NRI bank. I have not used the account much since, but DW did mention a lot of horrible things she saw going on (not nri specific, just people getting runarounds)

I have used SBI-NY for money transfers and they're pretty good.

dp1 said:   Let me put it in a different way to Indian members, what are you guys doing to safeguard yourself from impending monetary disaster or the dollar collapse?
- buy land in india?
- move cash to indian banks?
- buy more gold/silver?

or nothing?


thanks for the great comments everyone. i am also specifically interested in hearing about what you guys are doing in case sh!t hit fans out here..!!

Crap can hit the fan anywhere, and in a global ecomony if one fan feels the sh!t, soon other fans will too! India and US are not isolated.

And shifting risk doesn't mean you have averted the risk. Similar risks exit in India also.

All I can say is diversify!

- NRO account are subjected to TDS which eats away your interest (8.35% will become ~6% which is not bad).

- Don't know if you HAVE to file taxes in India. Or don't know if you can get TDS back if you file taxes in India.

- You should honestly report this interest on your 1040 also (some banks like Citibank send 1099INT as well). (May not be subjected to additional taxes, if there was TDS).

- There is another mandatory form in USA, if you account in another country. It needs to be sent to different place (then IRS) and deadline is June.

- It is very tough to maintain accounts, dormant or any simple issue like password reset, last name change, address change requires lot of efforts even with private banks like ICICI, Citibank, HDFC etc-etc which are suppose to have better customer service, so you can imagine with government owned SBI.

- Today you might be living in NY/CH and can approach them in person but what if you have to move, dealing with them over phone and email is waste of time.

- By no means want to scare you away but putting some scenarios.

- Money in NRO account can be brought back (10L/per year) but not directly, you have to invest (property/stock) it in India and then you can sell investment and bring it back. Disclaimer: make your research.

- Real estate is good choice only if you have someone who can take care of it. Land mafia is all over India and you will have tough time protecting your land/property from Mafia and tenants.

- No one knows future, whether rupee will go up or dollars, best is to split, if you feel one way or other.

There is a flat 20% tax for NRI's. No slab. You are charged tax from the first ruppee earned. So no exemption limit either.

And yes you have to file taxes in India (irrespective of whether there was TDS or not).

To report it on the US taxes also is good advise (even though no tax may be due in the US it is good to report it).

newbietx said:   There is a flat 20% tax for NRI's. No slab. You are charged tax from the first ruppee earned. So no exemption limit either.

And yes you have to file taxes in India (irrespective of whether there was TDS or not).

To report it on the US taxes also is good advise (even though no tax may be due in the US it is good to report it).
why is no tax due in US? You still need to pay the diff.

with expiry of the my 4% interest account in a 3 months I do not see much use for my money here. Savings from here onwards are going to family back home. They just retired and can use the money for a comfortable life and investment

If you open NRI accounts, you must file a FBAR to report them to the IRS if they're >$10k, and you must declare interest on your 1040 even if you don't get a 1099. Otherwise, this could be you:

New Jersey man indicted for tax evasion

I have NRE and NRO accounts with Citibank India. They send 1099 for both of them. On NRE Rupee Savings account its 3.5% interest and no TDS. On NRO there is 15% TDS but that is reported on 1099 and you can claim credit for that on your tax return as India and USA have double taxation avoidance treaty. I was told that its easy to repatriate the NRE money back to USA - One has to send a letter to Citibank and they will deposit the money in my US bank account. I have not tried getting money back from NRE Rupee Checking account. Also I was told by my relationship manager in India that I can repatriate the money from NRO deposit account but you have to go through more documentation and lot of RBI forms as such. I have not tried that either. I had talked with HDFC bank in India also and the NRE and NRO account model/process is the same across the banks.

vickh said:   PrincipalMember said:   With NRO, you cannot convert money back to US $'s. So if that is not a concern, go for it.

One thing to watch out with these type of accounts is "dormancy" issues. RBI sets up some rules around that and is a pain if you are not actively using that account (like at once in 18 months) (Not for fixed deposits though).


that reminds me: I have a dormant citi india account. Anyone here have mpre details on these "dormancy" issues/ contact info


Just send them a check for $100 and they will reactivate it. However, if you have Rs. 100/200 in the account, then don't bother - since the currency conversion on $100 will cost you more.

PrincipalMember said:   vickh said:   PrincipalMember said:   With NRO, you cannot convert money back to US $'s. So if that is not a concern, go for it.

One thing to watch out with these type of accounts is "dormancy" issues. RBI sets up some rules around that and is a pain if you are not actively using that account (like at once in 18 months) (Not for fixed deposits though).


that reminds me: I have a dormant citi india account. Anyone here have mpre details on these "dormancy" issues/ contact info


Just send them a check for $100 and they will reactivate it. However, if you have Rs. 100/200 in the account, then don't bother - since the current conversion on $100 will cost you more.



more than that... hopefully they don't have any dormancy fees??

dp1 said:   dp1 said:   Let me put it in a different way to Indian members, what are you guys doing to safeguard yourself from impending monetary disaster or the dollar collapse?
- buy land in india?
- move cash to indian banks?
- buy more gold/silver?

or nothing?


thanks for the great comments everyone. i am also specifically interested in hearing about what you guys are doing in case sh!t hit fans out here..!!


Hey - I just buy Apple stock - seems to be better than the things you have listed

Personally, I don't want to deal with Indian bureaucratic crap. I have so many bank accounts etc. in US and never once had to deal with moronic "your account is now dormant". If I am not going to live in the apartment in India, I personally wouldn't buy it. The last thing I would want is get entangled in any kind of issue with the authorities in India and then spend the remainder of my life bribing them to get it resolved while sitting here. Life is too short to deal with crap like that.

SBI - 20ish years ago, I had done some fixed deposits with them and it was great - so if anybody is doing fixed deposits with them, you should be fine. NRO - as I said earlier, have a plan on what to do with the money once the fixed deposit matures.

PrincipalMember said:   

Personally, I don't want to deal with Indian bureaucratic crap. I have so many bank accounts etc. in US and never once had to deal with moronic "your account is now dormant". If I am not going to live in the apartment in India, I personally wouldn't buy it. The last thing I would want is get entangled in any kind of issue with the authorities in India and then spend the remainder of my life bribing them to get it resolved while sitting here. Life is too short to deal with crap like that.

SBI - 20ish years ago, I had done some fixed deposits with them and it was great - so if anybody is doing fixed deposits with them, you should be fine. NRO - as I said earlier, have a plan on what to do with the money once the fixed deposit matures.



Agreed. i'm thinking applying for a OCI card so I don't have keep dealing with the babus for visas..

but they make you jump thru a 100 hoops. wish they'd streamline the process and let apply online with credit cards...

I would stay away for these reasons though I had SBI NRE account about 15 yrs ago and closed it a few yrs ago.

1) You will get 1099-INT form from banks so you are not really saving the "tax".
2) You need to report to US customs any money transfer over $10000.
3) Dealing with SBI is a pain in the butt even today ... I know from experience when I visited a Mumbai branch in June 2010 ( dad has an account with them for over 30 yrs now).
4) If US collapses it will have major repurcussions to India too as Indian economy is tied to US market. So I am pretty sure Rupee will head south too.

vickh said:   
Agreed. i'm thinking applying for a OCI card so I don't have keep dealing with the babus for visas..


Definitely do it man - I did my OCI application right after getting my US passport for exactly the same reason. The other thing is that the cost of Visas etc. will keep going up over time - so you do it one time and then you are done. Good investment - better than gold over time

By the way, couple of true stories and these are from January.

1. So I am going through the security checkpoint in Mumbai. They start giving hassle to this chap who had just bought some duty free liquor before the checkpoint. It was all sealed and everything. He had checked with an officer and the duty free shop to confirm that he won't have problems going through the security and he was assured that as long as things were sealed, he would be fine (I have no way to verify this - this is what he was saying to the security person). I don't really know what kind of seal it was - but based on the reaction of the security guards, it definitely felt like a tourist trap - get the suckers to buy expensive liquor and then confiscate and have a party! Painful to watch.

2. This was a real quirky one. So in Mumbai international airport, you can get free wireless. OK - I start connecting to wireless and it starts asking for mobile phone number. I didn't quite get the reason until the third screen. So the way it works is that you enter a mobile number and then those babu's send a text message to your phone to give you the validation code. So if you are a tourist who doesn't have world roaming, good luck in trying to take advantage of that free wireless. Leave it to bureaucrats of India to come up with a scheme which nobody else in the world seems to implement. After that, I flew into a few other international airports and none of them had this idiotic link between the wireless and the cell phone. In fact, the wireless worked great for me in Amsterdam (1 hour only). I was able to exchange messages with my family even though I didn't have any world wireless phone plan.

vickh said:   PrincipalMember said:   

Just send them a check for $100 and they will reactivate it. However, if you have Rs. 100/200 in the account, then don't bother - since the current conversion on $100 will cost you more.



more than that... hopefully they don't have any dormancy fees??


I just did this in Dec and I sent exactly $100. There were no dormancy fees. Account was activated soon after they received the deposit. I was really impressed with Citibank that they didn't give me any hassle about new ATM cards or PIN's or anything - it all just worked.

dp1 said:   Let me put it in a different way to Indian members, what are you guys doing to safeguard yourself from impending monetary disaster or the dollar collapse?
- buy land in india?
- move cash to indian banks?
- buy more gold/silver?

or nothing?


Investing in RE in big metros are very profitable. For Example, I bought a property in a mall in Mumbai in 2006. Total out of pocket expense was $249K. Property is rented out to Pentaloon Stores. After Taxes monthly rental income is $1500. And my property is appreciated to $550K now. But I have a family member in mumbai to act as a property manager. I would not advice to invest in RE in india if you do not have any local contacts.

va1234 said:   newbietx said:   There is a flat 20% tax for NRI's. No slab. You are charged tax from the first ruppee earned. So no exemption limit either.

And yes you have to file taxes in India (irrespective of whether there was TDS or not).

To report it on the US taxes also is good advise (even though no tax may be due in the US it is good to report it).
why is no tax due in US? You still need to pay the diff.


For most they may not have to pay any taxes in the US, due to the tax bracket and reciprocal tax agreement treaty. I don't imply to say that this is the case for everyone, hence the word "may".

RE in India is always tricky. But investing in apartments in the big metros with reputable builders should not be a problem. Land is a better investment but have to be very very sure of the authenticity, papers etc and also have family locally who can keep an eye on it and deal with any mess that may be encountered.

I don't have experience with the type of account you are inquiring about. The only advise I can provide is on my opening and closing a regular c. d. account at the New York branch. The service wasn't as upfront as many banks now have where someone comes over to greet you. It seems you have make yourself known, or take your place in order. All I can add is to allow much more time than you might have been expecting to allocate to the process. Opening the account, I was there probably an hour and a half, and they only copied my check for me, and my I. D. , ect, for them, took my application and mailed me everything later. Closing the c. d., I actually initiated the process with the CSR, then went out and came back as she told me it would be maybe an hour until my check would be ready. Allow extra time

jm41 said:   dp1 said:   Let me put it in a different way to Indian members, what are you guys doing to safeguard yourself from impending monetary disaster or the dollar collapse?
- buy land in india?
- move cash to indian banks?
- buy more gold/silver?

or nothing?


Investing in RE in big metros are very profitable. For Example, I bought a property in a mall in Mumbai in 2006. Total out of pocket expense was $249K. Property is rented out to Pentaloon Stores. After Taxes monthly rental income is $1500. And my property is appreciated to $550K now. But I have a family member in mumbai to act as a property manager. I would not advice to invest in RE in india if you do not have any local contacts.


where is this property? I was born and raised in Mumbai and have my parents/sister living there.. But i have not dared touch RE there just for fear of losing money and the mafia connection... I would be definately interested to know more... But RE is in a big bubble stage and stock market is falling...Just like here in US I think it will be difficult to maintain RE appreciation for many years coming.

Opened a NRE and NRO account with SBI in Chennai in Oct 2010. Filled all the necessary forms with required documents. No hassles. It took time but everything was done.
Had to nudge them over phone a couple of times to check the progress. Overall, it took about a couple of months since the day I mailed the documents from US. In several different return mail I got the pass book, debit card, online access information and PIN. I guess, this is to either ensure security or several different departments handle each of the requests.

Also, I had loaned a relative some money a few years ago. He returned the money and deposited that in the NRO account ( has the power of attorney). He is not paying any interest, but got some interest from the deposit since Oct 2010. Do I get any kind of 1099-INT for NRO? What do you do while filing taxes here in US. How do you factor in the exchange rate difference on the interest? From what I read in this thread, you get some sort of 1099-INT for NRE account.

Also you cannot open an NRE/NRO account here in US ( got this when I called the NY branch for the same). You need to open one with a SBI branch in India.
The one I used was a Foreign exchange branch, so I guess it was easier.

why not just buy a emerging market bond fund like PCY or EMB the returns/yields are above 6%

jm41 said:   

Investing in RE in big metros are very profitable. For Example, I bought a property in a mall in Mumbai in 2006. Total out of pocket expense was $249K. Property is rented out to Pentaloon Stores. After Taxes monthly rental income is $1500. And my property is appreciated to $550K now. But I have a family member in mumbai to act as a property manager. I would not advice to invest in RE in india if you do not have any local contacts.


Can you kindly clarify on how (if at all you plan to) get the money back once you sell the property. If you can also kindly clarify on tax related issues, it would be great! Thanks!



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