search the forums, there are banks in US that will open your US based checking account for free, all you need is to fax/mail some tax forms, I can't remember exactly what, but there was a thread about it...
They're fine, the only problem its that their info@ its answered for a bunch of money who don't know how to read or write.
They sent me the ATM card 3 times to an incorrect address.
Finally, I told them to send it through Fedex to track it, but, guess what? they send it through regular mail one more time. So, I have to cancel another card, and finally I contacted to somebody who know read, and she sent it through UPS. All this process took + 2 months.
I have my bank account opened with hsbc usa for two months now. I used Easy Corp Ltd to get this account opened and it was done within one month. Maybe it can help... this is totally free banking with HSBC.