How to Transfer an IRA to Another Bank

By: D. Laverne O'Neal

Sometimes the business of managing your various accounts can grow tedious, not to mention time-consuming. Keeping track of multiple statements, online and off, from numerous institutions can feel burdensome. Moreover, you might sour on the investment choices of your original IRA trustee and want to switch to a new institution. Transferring an IRA from one bank to another may be done via a direct, or trustee-to-trustee, transfer. Alternatively, your bank can write you a check, and you can convey the check to the new institution yourself.

Direct or Trustee-to-Trustee

Step 1

PIck up or download the paperwork for opening an IRA from the new bank. The application requires your basic identifying and contact information, including your birth date and Social Security number. The form might also request your investment choices and initial contribution amount. You will need to designate one or more beneficiaries to receive the account assets after your death. Sign the forms and turn them in to the new bank.

Step 2

Instruct the original trustee to make a direct transfer of your IRA assets to the account at the new bank. To transfer your assets as is, without their being liquidated, request an in-kind transfer. Otherwise, the original trustee will have to liquidate the funds before making the transfer. Fill out any forms required for the liquidation and close the account.

Step 3

Check in with the new bank after five business days to confirm the transfer. If it has not been completed, contact the original trustee to find the source of the problem.

By Check

Step 1

Get the IRA opening forms from the new bank. Provide your name, address, phone number, as well as your birth date and Social Security number. Designate one or more beneficiaries, sign the paperwork and convey it to the new bank.

Step 2

Tell the original trustee that you want to transfer the IRA. Complete IRA closing forms the trustee provides and pay the closing fee, if required.

Step 3

Ask the trustee to write you a check for the liquidated funds.

Step 4

Deliver the check to the new bank by hand, by courier or by mail within 60 days of receiving it. Certified mail, with a return receipt, is the most secure postal route.


  • If you do not transfer the check to the new bank by the 60-day deadline, the IRS considers the withdrawal of funds a distribution. You will be liable for any taxes and penalties that apply.

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About the Author

D. Laverne O'Neal, an Ivy League graduate, published her first article in 1997. A former theater, dance and music critic for such publications as the "Oakland Tribune" and Gannett Newspapers, she started her Web-writing career during the dot-com heyday. O'Neal also translates and edits French and Spanish. Her strongest interests are the performing arts, design, food, health, personal finance and personal growth.

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