Lee Ann Obringer is a Staff Writer for HowStuffWorks and she has posted a really good introduction to the Swiss Banking system, its advantages, the history of the system, the laws applicable to you as a non-Swiss citizen, a high level explanation of how the accounts are setup and maintained, their privacy and the ease with which you too can set up your own account.
It’s pretty long but easy to skim to the parts that you’re interested in.
James Bond enters a Swiss bank in Spain and is frisked before he can meet with the banker. In the “Da Vinci Code,” a triangular-shaped key activates a robotic arm that pulls a safety deposit box from the wall in a Swiss bank in Paris to ultimately reveal the secret to Christianity. The funny thing is neither of these scenes would actually happen in a real Swiss bank.
Here’s the link to “How Swiss Bank Accounts Work“.