Opening a Bank Account

Learn how to open and maintain a University bank account (domestic and foreign).


Before proposing that an internal bank account be opened, a school/department/center should:

  1. Read the University Bank Account Policy and use the Commonly Required Bank Account Docs to gather documentation that will be required by the Office of the Treasurer.
  2. Send a Treasury General Request Form to the Office of the Treasurer attaching a completed Bank Account Request Form. Within the body of the email, please include the following information:
    • The request should be signed by a senior business officer. 
  3. The ultimate decision to open a bank account is at the discretion of the University’s Trustees, EVP for Finance, or Treasurer. The Office of the Treasurer will work with the school/department/center to collect additional documentation as needed and, if approved, will open the account.
  4. Once the completed request and documentation are received from the department/school/center, some of the responsibilities of the Office of the Treasurer include:
    • Investigating bank presence and gather initial country requirements for new or re-purposed bank account(s) (in coordination with school/department/center).
    • Facilitate a conference call (once legal entity structure and residency are known) with global bank relationship/local bank partners and NY/local CU employees to discuss and agree on documentation requirements/timing/expectations.
    • Coordinate the required bank account documentation (driven by the legal entity structure by country and in accordance with CU policies) and oversee the opening of the account(s).
    • Send a test transaction to the new account(s) to ensure operational effectiveness.

In accordance with the University’s by-laws, bank accounts may only be opened and closed by the authorization of the University’s Trustees. This authorization has been formally delegated to the Executive Vice President of Finance and to the Treasurer.

Accordingly, Columbia University Departments may not establish a University bank account without first obtaining written approval from the EVP of Finance or Treasurer. This condition applies to all University bank accounts, in the U.S. and other countries, including those held by related entities.

Bank Account Policy

Please refer to the Bank Account Policy to review requirements for opening, closing, updating, and maintaining Columbia University bank accounts. 

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