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Client assets at Swiss banks tumbled in 2008

The value of assets deposited in Swiss banks shrank by more than a quarter last year as the global financial crisis took hold.

Figures released by the Swiss National Bank (SNB) show total deposits fell by SFr1.41 trillion ($1.21 trillion) to SFr3.82 trillion, the lowest level since August 2005.

Assets from foreign customers shrank by SFr882 billion, as pressure grew against Switzerland's offshore banking activities, while the value of domestic funds fell by SFr531 billion, according to the SNB's monthly statistical bulletin.

The statistics did not break down the figures by institution or differentiate between customer withdrawals and erosion of value due to volatile market conditions.

Foreign private customers saw the highest proportional drop in assets - 36 per cent - leaving SFr671 billion in Swiss vaults. That is the lowest deposit amount from foreign private customers since the end of 1998.

Assets held by foreign institutional customers dropped 23 per cent to SFr1.386 trillion.

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