Team helps international college students navigate U.S. banking system

May 08, 2024
Group of students on a college campus
U.S. Bank has partnerships with 35 colleges and universities to provide students with access to financial education and banking services.

Campus Banking program serves students from around the world at universities across the United States

When students from other countries come to the U.S. for college, they often need to set up domestic bank accounts to pay their tuition and other expenses, and U.S. Bank has a team with years of experience assisting students from around the world.

Woman standing
Kari Martindale has managed the campus banking program for 24 years.

U.S. Bank has forged partnerships with 35 colleges and universities to provide students with access to financial education and banking services, said Kari Martindale, who has managed the campus banking programs for 24 years.

“I love serving students and have a blast doing it,” Martindale said.

Through those partnerships, U.S. Bank provides information and assistance at international orientation events, offers seminars on how banks in the United States operate differently than in other countries, how different accounts meet different needs for students and how the account-opening process works.

The international orientation events are generally held in August and January, the two times a year when schools see the biggest influxes of new students, Martindale said.

The majority of international students that open accounts with U.S. Bank come from India or China, she said, but U.S. Bank representatives are able to help students from countries across the globe.

“When international students open accounts, they typically don’t have to have a Social Security number but they are required to fill out IRS forms that can be confusing,” Martindale said. “The form will ask for their foreign taxpaying ID number and they may have no idea what that means. We’ve worked with students long enough to know that in India it’s a PAN and in China it’s an INN. We have a cheat sheet for every country so we always have guidance for any student.”

Installing online banking apps can be more complex for international students, and U.S. Bank campus banking teams are equipped to help with that as well, she said.

“Regardless of what country the students are from, everyone in this age group is very tech-savvy,” Martindale said. “Once we get them onto the app, they know how to use it.”

In her 24 years in campus banking, Martindale has helped drive a number of changes, she said, including petitioning for the addition of foreign language translation services on U.S. Bank ATMs.

“I will continue to advocate for international students and students in general,” she said.

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