Credit Suisse Group AG began a make-or-break weekend as regulators urged it to strike a deal with Swiss rival UBS AG, with some rivals turning cautious in their deals with the bank.
Credit Suisse Group AG, a 167-year-old Swiss bank, began a critical weekend as regulators pushed for a merger with Swiss rival UBS AG. Credit Suisse CFO Dixit Joshi and his team held meetings on Friday to assess strategic scenarios for the bank amidst market turmoil triggered by the collapse of US lenders Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank.
The Swiss regulators have encouraged Credit Suisse and UBS to merge, but neither bank has shown any interest. Although regulators cannot force the merger, UBS and Credit Suisse boards were expected to meet separately over the weekend. Credit Suisse and UBS declined to comment on the issue.
The aftermath of the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank has led to mounting troubles for Credit Suisse, with at least four major banks, including Societe Generale SA and Deutsche Bank AG, restricting their trades involving Credit Suisse or its securities. However, Credit Suisse’s shares jumped 9% in after-market trading following a Financial Times report on the meetings.
Policymakers, including the European Central Bank and US President Joe Biden, have reassured investors and depositors that the global banking system is safe. However, fears of broader troubles in the sector persist.
US regional bank shares fell sharply on Friday, with the S&P Banks index plummeting 4.6%. Its worst two-week calendar loss since the COVID-19 pandemic shook markets in March 2020 has been experienced by the index.
As the situation worsens, policymakers are looking at greater banking sector oversight to hold banks and their executives accountable. Biden has called on Congress to give regulators more power, including imposing higher fines, clawing back funds, and barring officials from failed banks. Some Democratic lawmakers have asked regulators and the Justice Department to investigate Goldman Sachs’ role in Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse, according to the office of Representative Adam Schiff.
According to people familiar with the matter, regulators are considering retaining ownership of securities owned by Signature and Silicon Valley Bank to enable smaller banks to participate in auctions for the collapsed lenders.