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Credit Suisse says only a few customers are closing accounts

The head of Credit Suisse’s Swiss division says that only a few clients are actually closing accounts at the bank. His comments after the troubled bank reported high customer fund withdrawals globally.

“Some clients have withdrawn part of their funds, but only very few have actually closed their accounts,”  the CEO of Credit Suisse’s Swiss unit, André Helfenstein, said in an interview published in the SonntagsZeitung and Le Matin Dimanche. “We have only lost around 1% of our asset base in our asset base in our Swiss division.”

He added that the bank was profitable in Switzerland itself: pre-tax profit stood at more than CHF1.2 billion ($1.27 billion) for the first nine months of the year. “And this despite declining financial markets and rising interest rates, which make business more difficult,” he said.

A split of the bank into Swiss and international divisions was not under discussion, Helfenstein stressed. And nor was the sale of the private client and assess management businesses, he added.

Global problems

Helfenstein’s comments came after the bank last Wednesday issued a profit warning for the fourth quarter of up to CHF1.5 billion – and signalled hefty global client withdrawals. Shareholders also signed off on a capital hike of CHF4 billion.

Credit Suisse has suffered a string of setbacks in recent years by being on the wrong end of soured business deals and courtroom battles. Management is attempting to stop the rot with a radical overhaul of the bank’s operations and strategy

At the end of October, Credit Suisse announced a major restructuring that will see 9,000 jobs being slashed worldwide – 2,000 in Switzerland – and the sale of investment banking operations.

More: SWI certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative

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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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