How Credit Suisse has evolved over 167 years
ZURICH (Reuters) – Credit Suisse is to borrow up to $54 billion from the Swiss central bank to bolster liquidity and reassure investors after its shares slumped on fears of contagion from a banking crisis in the United States.
The Zurich-based bank, with deep roots in Swiss business and society, is in the middle of a restructuring to rebuild after a string of scandals, losses and management upheavals.
Here is how Credit Suisse has developed over 167 years:
Politician and business leader Alfred Escher founds Schweizerische Kreditanstalt (SKA) to finance the expansion of the railroad network and promote Swiss industrialisation.
SKA opens first foreign representative office in New York.
The bank moves into new headquarters on Zurich’s Paradeplatz; its first branch outside Zurich opens in Basel nearly three decades later.
First Boston becomes the first publicly held investment bank in the United States.
SKA creates Swiss American Corporation (New York) to focus on the underwriting and investment business.
SKA takes over White, Weld and Co AG in Zurich from U.S. investment bank White Weld, and renames it Clariden Finanz AG.
SKA gets a licence as a full-service bank in New York.
Chiasso Affair money-laundering scandal leads to a historic loss and spurs the bank’s transition to an international financial group.
SKA becomes the first Swiss bank with a seat on the New York Stock Exchange via its SASI unit; CS Holding is set up as a sister company of SKA to hold stakes in industrial companies.
CS Holding buys a 45% stake in First Boston as part of a rescue deal, and renames it CS First Boston; the two had first linked up a decade earlier to operate in the London bond market.
CS Holding becomes SKA group’s parent company.
The group takes a controlling stake in U.S. investment bank CS First Boston and buys Bank Leu, a Swiss private bank.
The group buys Volksbank, Switzerland’s fourth-largest bank, and a year later buys Neue Aargauer Bank.
A reorganisation turns CS Holding into Credit Suisse Group and drops the SKA name; it also buys insurer Winterthur, a strategic partner.
The group buys the asset management business of Warburg, Pincus & Co, followed by the purchase of Wall Street firm Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette (DLJ) a year later.
A reorganisation creates two units: Credit Suisse Financial Services and Credit Suisse First Boston; two years later it splits into three units by adding Winterthur.
Credit Suisse and CSFB merge and stop using the Credit Suisse First Boston brand name.
The group divests Winterthur to French insurer AXA.
The group merges four private banking units and a securities trading company into Clariden Leu.
The bank survives the global financial crisis without needing a state bailout, unlike rival UBS.
The group absorbs Clariden Leu and merges private banking and asset management into one division.
The group buys Morgan Stanley’s wealth management businesses in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.
The group realigns under CEO Tidjane Thiam into three wealth management units supported by two investment banking divisions.
In February, a scandal over the bank’s covert surveillance operations leads to Thiam’s departure.
In March, U.S. investment fund Archegos implodes, saddling Credit Suisse with a $5.5 billion loss.
The same month it has to freeze $10 billion in supply chain finance funds linked to insolvent British financier Greensill Capital, which it had marketed to clients as low-risk products.
Antonio Horta-Osorio resigns as chairman less than nine months after joining the bank, after breaching COVID-19 quarantine rules. Alex Lehmann replaces him.
The bank names restructuring expert Ulrich Koerner as CEO to replace Thomas Gottstein and announces another strategic review.
Announces a sweeping plan to refocus on banking for the wealthy, including a 4 billion Swiss franc ($4 billion) capital raising, a headcount reduction of 9,000 jobs by end-2025, and separating out its investment bank to create CS First Boston.
Saudi National Bank says it will buy shares giving it a stake of as much as 9.9%.
Credit Suisse’s 2022 annual report identifies “material weaknesses” in internal controls over financial reporting.
The bank also said customer outflows had stabilised but “had not yet reversed”.
The Swiss bank’s shares drop by as much as 30% after its largest shareholder Saudi National Bank said it could not provide more support because of regulatory constraints.
Credit Suisse secures a $54 billion lifeline from the Swiss central bank to shore up liquidity, the first major global bank to get emergency funding since the 2008 financial crisis.
The Swiss authorities provide assurances that Credit Suisse has met “the capital and liquidity requirements imposed on systemically important banks”.
(Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by Edmund Klamann and Alexander Smith)