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Credit Suisse launches new global brand

Credit Suisse is sailing into the future with a new brand, logo and strategy. Credit Suisse

Switzerland's second-largest banking group, Credit Suisse, on Monday launched a single global brand, with a changed logo reflecting its new strategic direction.

The bank said the move was aimed at integrating its units, lowering costs and boosting sales.

Credit Suisse says it is combining its investment banking, private banking and asset management businesses to bring together all its know-how and expertise.

It is also intended to provide clients with a more flexible approach to their needs and give them better access to the bank’s full range of products, services and solutions worldwide, says the company.

CS argues that the new brand reflects a bank that combines the dynamism and strength of a leading financial institution with the stability, discretion and experience of a Swiss bank with a long history.

This year CS marks the 150th anniversary of its founding by Swiss railway pioneer and politician Alfred Escher in 1856.

International focus

“Our new brand is an expression of our international focus, our heritage and our objectives,” commented Credit Suisse CEO Oswald Grübel.

“The implementation of a single brand name underscores the fact that we are making our bank’s entire expertise available to our clients globally via a single source and that we have a strong and unified presence in the market.”

Monday also marked the beginning of a global advertising campaign to complement the launch of the brand.

To celebrate the launch, Credit Suisse buildings in Zurich, London, New York, Hong Kong and Singapore will be illuminated for one week.

Reacting to the rebranding move, Klaus Stöhlker, a Zurich-based marketing and communications expert, said the launch of a new corporate identity had to be linked to internal restructuring.

“You can only rebrand when you have really changed the bank internally and I think that Grübel has not yet finished this work,” Stöhlker told swissinfo.

“The integration of First Boston is perhaps on its way, but is far from being finished. But he wants to give a sign that this is the only way.

“The multibrand strategy was a huge mistake that cost the shareholders billions of Swiss francs, and today Grübel and chairman Walter Kielholz want to get into secure waters.”

Retail banking

At the weekend, Kielholz told the Neue Zürcher Zeitung newspaper that Credit Suisse would not pursue retail banking outside Switzerland even though the business may well boom in the coming years.

“Admittedly, one can ask whether retail banking will not have the biggest growth potential, also in Asia. But even if that were the case, we would not follow such a strategy,” he said.

But he indicated that the bank could still change its view, saying that strategic room for manoeuvre would increase further as its earnings improved.

Kielholz also gave another reason for the one bank, one strategy approach now being taken.

“The multi-brand strategy simply didn’t allow us to use synergies. The philosophical and emotional differences were too great. You were either a First Boston man or a Private Banker, and the Private Banker never really liked the First Boston man.”

He argued that this compartmental way of thinking could not be overcome by simply talking about the problem.

swissinfo with agencies

Credit Suisse or originally Schweizerische Kreditanstalt (SKA) was granted a license to operate as an industrial and commercial bank on July 5, 1856.
The move helped transform Zurich into Switzerland’s most important banking centre and a magnet for business.
SKA was to play a major role in financing the rail network, particularly the Gotthard line, and in the industrialisation of Switzerland – particularly in electricity production.
The driving force behind the bank was railway pioneer and politician Alfred Escher.

Credit Suisse has not published details of how much its new “one bank” strategy is costing, but a double-digit million Swiss franc figure is being spent on the campaign.

The CS group formally abandoned the separate Credit Suisse First Boston brand on January 1.

The new CS logo includes two small sails as a reminder of the clippers once used as a trademark for the independent First Boston group.

Rival UBS – Switzerland’s largest bank – instituted its one brand strategy soon after buying the United States stock brokerage firm Paine Webber in 2000.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR