The decade's most triggering comedy
The Swiss investment bank, the eighth-largest in the world, had identified several “material weaknesses” with respect to risk assessment strategy in an annual report. Saudi National Bank announced in an interview with Reuters that the fund would not buy more shares in the Swiss financial institution beyond its current 10% stake.
Shares in Credit Suisse declined more than 16% on Wednesday morning. The company’s stock price has decreased by about 84% over the past two years.
Saudi National Bank purchased its share of Credit Suisse after the company initiated a $4.2 billion capital raise last year meant to improve performance and risk management. Customers of Credit Suisse withdrew some $119 billion in the fourth quarter of last year amid the risk and compliance failures.
The dismal report released by Credit Suisse said that performance last year was “significantly affected by the challenging macro and geopolitical environment with market uncertainty and client risk aversion,” fostering an “adverse impact on client activity across all our divisions.”
Credit Suisse Chairman Axel Lehmann dismissed the possibility that his firm would need government assistance to remain solvent in an interview with CNBC. “We are regulated, we have strong capital ratios, very strong balance sheet,” he told the outlet. “We are all hands on deck. So that’s not the topic whatsoever.”
The plummeting share price of Credit Suisse occurs days after Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), one of the largest financial institutions in the United States, collapsed amid depositors rushing to withdraw their funds. SVB announced a $1.75 billion share sale after the company suffered heavy losses from the liquidation of a $21 billion bond portfolio, raising concerns among venture capital firms and startups with ties to the company about the safety of their assets.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation now directs holdings maintained by SVB, which California state regulators closed on Friday, to strengthen “public confidence in our banking system” by guaranteeing all deposits. The majority of SVB customers maintained deposits higher than the $250,000 threshold typically insured by the FDIC. Similar actions were taken for Signature Bank in New York, which was closed on Sunday.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, and FDIC Chairman Martin Gruenberg said in a joint statement that the banking system “remains resilient and on a solid foundation, in large part due to reforms that were made after the financial crisis that ensured better safeguards for the banking industry.” They vowed that “no losses” associated with the collapse of SVB would be “borne by the taxpayer.”
Banks typically invest a large portion of their deposits, meaning they cannot return all of their customers’ assets if they demand the funds in large numbers. SVB had invested in long-term Treasury securities and corporate bonds, which lost value amid rising interest rates induced by central bankers’ efforts to reduce inflation.