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Switzerland’s pride stained by banking troubles

March 2023
Switzerland’s image as a model of stability has been stained by troubles in its banking sector.

For ages, Switzerland has been known for its stable banking industry. The world’s wealthy people – criminal or law-abiding – have long seen Swiss banks as one of the safest places to stash cash and keep it safe.

That reputation has been damaged by the troubles of Credit Suisse, one of the world’s most prestigious banks catering to rich people.

For months, Credit Suisse had been struggling to repair management mistakes and negative headlines that hurt its finances and reputation.

so what?
A bank with financial problems makes everyone worry. Customers may worry that their deposits could disappear and investors may worry that the bank won’t produce good returns.

Because banks are central to all economic activity in society, governments tend to take measures to keep banks afloat. Critics argue that too often it’s tax-paying citizens who pay for the mistakes made by banks.

This month, Swiss authorities helped UBS, another bank, to take over Credit Suisse. The hope is that UBS will strengthen Credit Suisse’s finances and reinstate confidence in the banking sector.

Credit Suisse wasn’t an isolated event, though. Other banks around the world have been struggling in part as they navigate the rapid increase in interest rates in recent months.

For example, the US government recently was forced to intervene to support Silicon Valley Bank and First Republic Bank. Deutsche Bank in Germany has also raised concerns.

Reference shelf:
Credit Suisse Is No More. What Went Wrong? (Bloomberg)

Yellen tries to assuage investor fears as bank stocks slide (Reuters)

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