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I am also an American living in the UK.

I understand that through some banks (e.g., HSBC, Citi), you can have an account that allows you to transfer funds between GBPs and USDs. I know nothing about the fees associated with such accounts.

Some stateside financial institutions do readily accept applications for new accounts from Americans with foreign addresses. Pentagon Federal is one of them. You do not have to be a government employee to join Pentagon Federal.

Because of the Patriot Act, you have to prove your identity and get verification of your social security number when you open a new account, and that's a bit of a problem for an American living overseas and without a recent credit history in the US. The problem, though, can be solved through the American Embassy in London. You can communicate with the Embassy via e-mail; they will tell you exactly how to do both things. For one of them, you have to make an appointment; for the other, you wait in line.
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