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Credit Suisse makes digital push as it closes down branches

Switzerland’s second largest bank is replacing bricks and mortar with digital. Credit Suisse

Credit Suisse is taking on so-called challenger banks with a new digital service for customers, including a debit card with no foreign transaction fees. The bank is closing down branches across Switzerland and is converting others into a “digital bar” concept.

Switzerland’s second largest bank unveiled its new CSX banking app on Thursday with specific features aimed towards younger clients. It is part of a wider drive, announced in the summer, to save costs and address a trend towards digital banking.

Part of Credit Suisse’s strategy to save CHF100 million ($109 million) involves closing down 35 of its 146 bank branches in the country. This follows a trend of branch closures from all banks, resulting in a fall from 5,546 branches in Switzerland in 1990 to 2,552 at the end of last year.

At the same time, digital banking has become more popular with several newcomers offering cheaper services than traditional banks. Credit Suisse says its CSX and CSX Young apps will bring down banking costs and will eventually include investment, pension and mortgage services.

It faces competition from foreign challengers like Revolut and N26 and home-grown digital banks such as Neon.

Credit Suisse also unveiled a new look for its remaining branches, which will soon be called Digital Bars. These will combine advice on digital banking with consultations via video-conferencing and co-working spaces at each location.

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SWI – the international service of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC). Since 1999, has fulfilled the federal government’s mandate to distribute information about Switzerland internationally, supplementing the online offerings of the radio and television stations of the SBC. Today, the international service is directed above all at an international audience interested in Switzerland, as well as at Swiss citizens living abroad.
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