Credit Suisse on the brink



dmg media (UK)


EFFORTS to stabilise the global banking system intensified today as crisis-hit Credit Suisse’s future hung in the balance. The Swiss bank, which employs about 5,000 staff in London, is up for sale – with rival Swiss lender UBS looking to bid for all or part of the stricken bank. US investment giant BlackRock has also reportedly drawn up plans for a takeover. Experts say any deal would need to be clinched before financial markets open tomorrow to prevent further panic selling. The fate of the bank matters because it is one of 30 global banks that are deemed to be ‘systemically important’ – or too big to fail. The only British banks in that league are HSBC, Barclays and Standard Chartered. More than £400billion was wiped off the value of global bank shares last week after the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank in the US. In his Budget last week, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said rules introduced since the 2008 financial crisis meant the UK banking system ‘remains safe, sound and well-capitalised’. He also highlighted last week’s sale of Silicon Valley Bank’s UK arm to HSBC, which had protected ‘customers’ deposits at no expense to the taxpayer’. A potential rescue of Credit Suisse would cap years of turmoil at the 167-year-old bank. It has been dogged by a string of scandals and multi-billion dollar losses. The bank took an £8billion hit in 2021 following the collapse of specialist finance firm Greensill Capital.