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Credit Suisse-owned bank brand disappears in savings drive

The number of banks in Switzerland has fallen to over 500 different brands in the 1990s to 246 at the end of last year. Keystone / Steffen Schmidt

Switzerland’s second-largest bank will ditch its subsidiary, Neue Aargauer Bank (NAB), as part of plans to save CHF100 million ($110 million) in annual costs. Credit Suisse group plans to reduce its number of branches from 146 to 109 and prioritise its digital services.

This content was published on August 25, 2020 - 12:29
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Credit Suisse said in a statement on Tuesday that  job cuts are “inevitable” as it merges NAB’s activities within its centralised Swiss operations. The group-wide reorganisation could result in up to 500 posts being cut, André Helfenstein, CEO of Swiss Universal Bank and Credit Suisse Switzerland later told journalists. But some new posts are likely to be created, he added.

NAB currently has 530 employees, 30 branches and manages some CHF19 billion in customer assets, with the same amount issued in mortgage loans.

Neue Aargauer Bank, which traces its roots back to 1812, was bought by Credit Suisse in 1994 at the height of a Swiss mortgage lending crisis. Until now, it has retained its brand and has been able to operate independently within the group.

But Credit Suisse now says it is not cost effective to duplicate services and products with separate staff and management teams at both NAB and Credit Suisse Switzerland. 

The cost of merging NAB fully into Credit Suisse is set at CHF75 million. The bank said in July that its latest group-wide restructuring exercise would cost up to CHF400 million in one-off expenses.

In its statement on Tuesday, Credit Suisse says it will invest further in its Swiss customer service centre and launch a new range of digital banking services in October.

The number of bricks and mortar bank branches (for all banks) has already fallen from 5,546 in Switzerland in 1990 to 2,552 at the end of last year.

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