Final Days at Credit Suisse Were Marked by a $69 Billion Race for the Exits

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Credit Suisse said on Monday that clients had withdrawn nearly $69 billion in the first quarter, underscoring the spiraling troubles the embattled Swiss bank faced that forced a fire sale to its archrival, UBS, in March.

In its final financial report as an independent company, Credit Suisse — which lost 1.3 billion Swiss francs, or $1.46 billion, in the first three months of the year — said that it had suffered “significant net asset outflows,” particularly in the second half of March.

Those came as investors feared for the health of the troubled 167-year-old lender, sending its stock plunging and forcing the bank to borrow billions from the Swiss central bank to shore up confidence in its finances. Shareholders had been on edge about Credit Suisse for months, worried about its viability amid losses and a series of scandals and financial missteps.

But the Swiss government ultimately forced the firm to sell itself to UBS for $3.2 billion. The transaction — the highest-profile bank deal since the 2008 financial crisis — was one of the most drastic efforts to calm markets amid the turmoil set off by the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank in mid-March.

While client withdrawals at Credit Suisse have since slowed down, they have not yet reversed, suggesting that UBS has its work cut out as it prepares to absorb its stricken competitor. Meanwhile, Credit Suisse still has 108 billion Swiss francs worth of debt from the Swiss National Bank, though it had repaid 60 billion during the quarter.

In Monday’s announcement, Credit Suisse also said that it had ended a $175 million deal to buy the boutique investment bank of Michael Klein, a longtime deal-maker and a former board member. That acquisition was part of a complicated financial turnaround plan that involved merging Credit Suisse’s investment bank with Mr. Klein’s, eventually spinning out the combined business.


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