Hi all of you out there! Some news which may be of use:
"Bancorp" of Wilmington Delaware has dumped all its non-US customers as of May 1, 2004 - including me! I had an account with them, and they simply informed me a month ago, that they are closing all non-US accounts. So, forget about Bancorp.
I'm doing a lot of research now to find a new bank, and this is what I found:
Chase - they want a very high - in the thousands of $$$ - permanent minimal balance to avoid paying high monthly fees. But they still accept non-US clients.
Wells Fargo - they claim to accept non-US checking accounts, but all my attempts to contact their IPB (International Personal Banking) dept. by email and phone, failed until now.
Valis International - they once used to open US bank accounts for non-US residents, but now they have teamed up with an Illinoios (?) Savings & Loan bank, Mt Morris S&L. You can open an account there, but need a minimum non-interest bearing balance of $5,000 to avoid their high monthly fees. And the Debit Card is not free.
Pacific National Bank Miami - they appear to accept international customers. Minimum balance $1,000 which sounds reasonable. I asked them some questions a few days ago, and await their response with much interest.