How Credit Suisse has evolved over 167 years

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ZURICH, March 20 (Reuters) – Following is a timeline outlining the 167-year history of Credit Suisse Group , the Zurich-based bank that is being bought at a knockdown price by Swiss rival UBS after a string of scandals, losses and management upheavals.

1856

Politician and business leader Alfred Escher founds Schweizerische Kreditanstalt (SKA) to finance the expansion of the railroad network and promote Swiss industrialisation.

1870

SKA opens first foreign representative office in New York.

1876

The bank moves into new headquarters on Zurich’s Paradeplatz; its first branch outside Zurich opens in Basel nearly three decades later.

1934

First Boston becomes the first publicly held investment bank in the United States.

1939

SKA creates Swiss American Corporation (New York) to focus on the underwriting and investment business.

1962

SKA takes over White, Weld and Co AG in Zurich from U.S. investment bank White Weld, and renames it Clariden Finanz AG.

1964

SKA gets a licence as a full-service bank in New York.

1977

Chiasso Affair money-laundering scandal leads to a historic loss and spurs the bank’s transition to an international financial group.

1982

SKA becomes the first Swiss bank with a seat on the New York Stock Exchange via its SASI unit; CS Holding is set up as a sister company of SKA to hold stakes in industrial companies.

1988

CS Holding buys a 45% stake in First Boston as part of a rescue deal, and renames it CS First Boston; the two had first linked up a decade earlier to operate in the London bond market.

1989

CS Holding becomes SKA group’s parent company.

1990

The group takes a controlling stake in U.S. investment bank CS First Boston and buys Bank Leu, a Swiss private bank.

1993

The group buys Volksbank, Switzerland’s fourth-largest bank, and a year later buys Neue Aargauer Bank.

1997

A reorganisation turns CS Holding into Credit Suisse Group and drops the SKA name; it also buys insurer Winterthur, a strategic partner.

1999

The group buys the asset management business of Warburg, Pincus & Co, followed by the purchase of Wall Street firm Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette (DLJ) a year later.

2002

A reorganisation creates two units: Credit Suisse Financial Services and Credit Suisse First Boston; two years later it splits into three units by adding Winterthur.

2005

Credit Suisse and CSFB merge and stop using the Credit Suisse First Boston brand name.

2006

The group divests Winterthur to French insurer AXA.

2007

The group merges four private banking units and a securities trading company into Clariden Leu.

2007/2008

The bank survives the global financial crisis without needing a state bailout, unlike rival UBS.

2012

The group absorbs Clariden Leu and merges private banking and asset management into one division.

2013

The group buys Morgan Stanley’s wealth management businesses in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

2015

The group realigns under CEO Tidjane Thiam into three wealth management units supported by two investment banking divisions.

2020

In February, a scandal over the bank’s covert surveillance operations leads to Thiam’s departure.

In March, U.S. investment fund Archegos implodes, saddling Credit Suisse with a $5.5 billion loss.

The same month it has to freeze $10 billion in supply chain finance funds linked to insolvent British financier Greensill Capital, which it had marketed to clients as low-risk products.

2021

Antonio Horta-Osorio resigns as chairman less than nine months after joining the bank, after breaching COVID-19 quarantine rules. Alex Lehmann replaces him.

JULY 2022

The bank names restructuring expert Ulrich Koerner as CEO to replace Thomas Gottstein and announces another strategic review.

OCTOBER 2022

Announces a sweeping plan to refocus on banking for the wealthy, including a 4 billion Swiss franc ($4 billion) capital raising, a headcount reduction of 9,000 jobs by end-2025, and separating out its investment bank to create CS First Boston.

Saudi National Bank says it will buy shares giving it a stake of as much as 9.9%.

MARCH 2023

Credit Suisse’s 2022 annual report identifies “material weaknesses” in internal controls over financial reporting.

The bank also said customer outflows had stabilised but “had not yet reversed”.

The Swiss bank’s shares drop by as much as 30% after its largest shareholder Saudi National Bank said it could not provide more support because of regulatory constraints.

Credit Suisse secures a $54 billion lifeline from the Swiss central bank to shore up liquidity, the first major global bank to get emergency funding since the 2008 financial crisis.

The Swiss authorities provide assurances that Credit Suisse has met “the capital and liquidity requirements imposed on systemically important banks”.

At least four major banks, including Societe Generale SA and Deutsche Bank AG , restrict new trades involving Credit Suisse or its securities, according to five sources with direct knowledge of the matter.

After a frantic weekend of negotiations, UBS agrees to buy Credit Suisse for 3 billion Swiss francs ($3.23 billion) in stock and assume up to 5 billion francs in losses, in a deal engineered by Swiss authorities to avoid more market-shaking turmoil in global banking.

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