The ailing Credit Suisse wants to take “measures to preventively strengthen” liquidity – and borrow up to 50 billion francs. Germany’s finance minister is trying to calm down.
The ailing major bank Credit Suisse wants to borrow up to 50 billion francs (around 50.7 billion euros) from the Swiss National Bank (SNB). The institute announced this in an ad hoc announcement early in the morning. “Resolute measures to preventively strengthen” liquidity would thus be taken.
This additional liquidity would support Credit Suisse’s core business and clients, it said. The planned bond is “fully secured by first-class assets”. The bank’s shares temporarily fell by more than 30 percent to a record low yesterday in Zurich.
No indication of a direct risk of infection
The SNB and the Swiss Financial Market Authority Finma had previously announced that they would provide the financial institution with liquidity if required. There is currently no evidence of a direct risk of contagion for Swiss institutions due to the problems of US banks, it said.
The major bank also said it had made two cash offers for US dollar and euro denominated senior notes totaling approximately CHF 3 billion. According to the announcement, bank boss Ulrich Körner said: “With these measures, we are strengthening Credit Suisse as part of our strategic change in order to create added value for our clients and other stakeholders. We thank the SNB and Finma for implementing our strategic change.”
On Wednesday evening, Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner emphasized the stability of the German credit system in view of the uncertainty in the banking sector. “The federal government is in constant and intensive exchange with everyone involved,” said the FDP chairman on the ARD program “Maischberger”. “With the Bafin, we have an efficient financial supervisory authority, and we have the Bundesbank, which also has a tradition of political stability. We can therefore say very clearly: the German credit system – private banks, savings banks, cooperative institutions – is stable. And we also ensure that further.”
Bank stocks under pressure due to US regional banks
Credit Suisse had already tried yesterday to reassure bank customers. It is a “very well capitalized bank,” emphasized the head of Credit Suisse Switzerland, André Helfenstein, in an interview with the Swiss broadcaster “Blick TV”. The price slump is due to the fact that the bank stocks are under pressure because of the problems of US regional banks.
The collapse of several regional US banks recently triggered uncertainty in the banking sector. This was particularly evident on Wednesday at Credit Suisse, which was already ailing. The bank’s shares fell in Zurich by more than 30 percent at times to a record low of 1.56 francs (1.59 euros) and closed at the end of trading with a decline of more than 24 percent.
Also on Wednesday, the Chairman of the Saudi National Bank, Ammar Abdul Wahed Al Khudairy, categorically ruled out additional support in an interview with Bloomberg TV. The bank is a major shareholder in Credit Suisse, which last year reported a loss of 7.3 billion Swiss francs and massive withdrawals from client assets of 123 billion.
The bank was founded in 1856. According to its own information, it has more than 50,000 employees.