Credit Suisse Company History Timeline


The history of Credit Suisse dates back to July 5, 1856 when a young politician and businessman Alfred Asher established Schweizerische Kreditanstalt in Zurich.

In 1856, Switzerland’s federal constitution was only eight years old and there was little industry in the country as the shift from an agricultural to an industrial economy had just begun.

Credit Suisse Group, which began as a commercial bank in 1856, at a time when Switzerland was first embracing the industrial revolution, is Switzerland's largest bank and one of the ten largest financial services companies in the world.


CS posted its first and only loss ever in 1867.

Credit Suisse posted its first and only loss ever in 1867.


The bank helped develop the Swiss monetary system and, by the end of the Franco-Prussian War in 1871, Crédit Suisse was the largest bank in Switzerland.


Credit Suisse played a substantial role in the economic development of Switzerland, helping the country develop its currency system, funding entrepreneurs and investing in the Gotthard railway, which connected Switzerland to the European rail system in 1882.


Credit Suisse had its first unprofitable year in 1886, due to losses in agriculture, venture investments, commodities, and international trade.


Credit Suisse had gained its first branch in 1905 when it took over the Basel branch of Oberrheinische Bank.

The first branch outside of Zürich was opened in 1905 in Basel.


The founding of the Swiss National Bank in 1907 and the growth in foreign investment by Swiss banks sowed the seeds for Switzerland’s eventual role as the banking capital of the world.


After World War I, Crédit Suisse continued financing the electrification of the country and, in response to a coal shortage, helped finance the national railroad’s conversion to electricity in 1924.


1940: The first foreign branch opens in New York.


The big banks also came under heavy criticism for the way they dealt with accounts that had been opened before 1945 by victims of the Holocaust--the so-called dormant accounts issue.


In true pioneering style, Credit Suisse has shaped many of the countless innovations to hit the financial markets over the past one and a half centuries, and has quickly adapted others for its own use. For example, Credit Suisse (or Schweizerische Kreditanstalt / SKA as it was then known) was the first large Swiss bank to establish a direct telex connection with New York in 1951.


In 1959, with the opening of a representative office of the then CS SKA, Credit Suisse set a footprint in Brazil.


Cooperation with White Weld began in 1962 when Credit Suisse purchased the investment bank's Zurich subsidiary, White, Weld & Co.


With the emergence of a free gold market in 1968, Crédit Suisse became a major gold-trading house and, through its acquisition of the precious metals refinery Valcambi S.A., in Ticino, a manufacturer of ingots and coins.


AG, which was subsequently renamed Clariden Finanz AG (and later still Clariden Bank). In 1970 Credit Suisse and White, Weld set up a holding company for Clariden called WW Trust.


Bank Leu, which catered to the wealthy in Switzerland, became the centerpiece for Credit Suisse's private banking business, which also included Clariden Bank serving customers in North and South America, and the northern European activities of Bank Hofmann (which had been acquired in 1972).


The bank also experienced a major scandal in 1977 when authorities began investigating a fraudulent banking and foreign exchange trading scheme at the company’s Chiasso branch involving more than $1.2 billion.


In 1978, White, Weld & Company dropped its partnership with Credit Suisse after it was bought by Merrill Lynch.


However, he also oversaw one of the greatest financial disasters in the company’s history, a $150 million issue bought by the company in 1980.


125th Anniversary of Crédit Suisse: An Historical Survey, Zurich, Crédit Suisse, 1981.


The losses resulted in the resignation of several top executives and left the current chairman, Rainer Gut, second in line following the retirement of Chairman Otto Aeppli in 1983.


At the beginning of 1984, three CSFB executives defected to Merrill Lynch, taking seven others with them.


The final defection came in 1986, when von Clemm resigned quietly after 16 years with the company to devote more time to outside interests.

By 1986 the bank's assets were $46 billion, and somewhere between $75 and $150 billion more were under active management by the bank--well ahead of the estimated $50 billion under the management of the leading American bank in the field, Citicorp.


The stock market crash of 1987 hit CSFB and First Boston particularly hard.

In 1987, the Group acquired the blue chip London stockbrokers Buckmaster & Moore.


There were also reports in mid-1988 that the syndicate was opening its ranks to smaller, more flexible banking houses in an effort to broaden its market share of new issues, which is up around 70%.


Meanwhile, Credit Suisse had been reorganized in early 1989.

1989: CS Holding becomes the publicly traded umbrella holding company for Credit Suisse, the group's stake in CS First Boston, and other group interests.


1990: Credit Suisse bails out troubled First Boston, pumping in $300 million in equity and gaining majority control of the firm.


In 1993 Credit Suisse outbid UBS for a controlling stake in Switzerland's fifth largest bank, Swiss Volksbank in a $1.1 billion deal.


Meantime, in 1994, Credit Suisse acquired Neue Aargauer Bank, the largest regional bank in Switzerland.

1994: The group enters into a strategic alliance with Swiss Re.


1995: The group enters into a strategic alliance with Winterthur Insurance, the number two Swiss-based insurance company.


Later in 1996 Credit Suisse made its first moves toward divesting its controlling stake in Electrowatt, which promised to focus the group further on its core financial services businesses.

In 1996, Credit Suisse restructured as the Credit Suisse Group with four divisions: Credit Suisse Volksbank (later called Credit Suisse Bank) for domestic banking, Credit Suisse Private Banking, Credit Suisse Asset Management, and Credit Suisse First Boston for corporate and investment banking.


In August 1997 Credit Suisse Group made a great leap forward in the insurance sector when it announced the acquisition of Winterthur Insurance for about US $9.51 billion.

At the same time, Credit Suisse began to provide banking services by telephone.In 1997, the bank undertook several important transformations including the renaming of CS Holding as Credit Suisse Group.

In early 1997, the Big Three banks agreed to set up a SFr 100 million (US $70 million) humanitarian fund for the victims of the Holocaust.


By 1998 the group had, in large part, completed this divestment, having retained only a 20 percent stake in Watt AG, the former energy division of Electrowatt.

When the Russian economic crisis erupted in 1998, CSFB had a huge exposure and ended up with a $1.3 billion loss from its activities in Russia, leading to a loss for the year of $154 million.


In 1999 Japan's Financial Supervisory Agency temporarily suspended the financial-products division's license to operate in Japan for "window dressing", the practice of selling derivatives that are often used by bank clients to hide losses.


In May 2000 Gut handed over the chairmanship to Mühlemann, who remained chief executive as well.

2000: Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, Inc., United States-based investment bank and asset management firm, is acquired.

Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette was purchased for $11.5 billion in 2000.


In mid-2001, as these scandals began unfolding and the red ink began to flow, the head of Credit Suisse First Boston, Allen D. Wheat, was relieved of his position and replaced by John J. Mack.

Late in 2001 the unit's precious metals trading business and its Australian and New Zealand retail brokerages were sold off.


In January 2002 CSFB reached an agreement with United States regulators whereby it would pay $100 million in fines to settle these allegations.

In July 2002 Oswald J. Grübel, the former head of the group's successful private banking operation, was placed in charge of the financial services unit.

Additionally, at the same time, the bank opened its own Internet banking service called “Direct Net”. It was the first Internet banking in Switzerland.The Credit Suisse Group was once again restructured in 2002.

In 2002 the bank was consolidated into two entities: Credit Suisse First Boston for investments and Credit Suisse Financial Services.


Then in April 2003 CSFB was part of a landmark $1.4 billion settlement between ten Wall Street firms and the New York Attorney General, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and other regulatory agencies.

Credit Suisse then became 100% owner of Valcambi SA, but, in 2003, the owner had changed.


Credit Suisse restructured again in 2004 under what it calls the "one bank" model.


In 2006, Credit Suisse acknowledged misconduct for helping Iran and other countries hide transactions from US authorities and paid a $536 million settlement.


Credit Suisse operates a process which since 2007 uses RepRisk, a Swiss provider of ESG Risk analytics and metrics, to screen and evaluate environmental and social risks of risky transactions and due diligence.


The Brazilian government investigated 13 former and current Credit Suisse employees in 2008.

Since the financial crisis in 2008 share prices of Credit Suisse and other Swiss banks including UBS have remained mostly stagnant or flat.


In 2009, Yellowstone Club founder Tim Blixseth sued Credit Suisse when the bank attempted to collect on $286 million in loan debt during Yellowstone's bankruptcy proceedings.

The investigation led to arrests that year and in 2009 as part of a larger crackdown in Brazil.


In fact, this financial monster, with assets of 1.03 trillion Swiss francs (December 31, 2010), doesn't have its own production facilities for making gold bars.


In September 2012, the Swiss government gave banks like Credit Suisse permission to provide information to the US Justice Department for tax evasion probes.

In November 2012, Credit Suisse's asset management division was merged with the private banking arm.


Separately, in 2013, German authorities began to probe Credit Suisse, its private bank subsidiary Clariden Leu, and its regional subsidiary Neue Aargauer Bank for helping German citizens evade taxes.


In February 2014 it agreed to pay a fine of $197 million after one of its businesses served 8,500 US clients without registering its activities, leading to suspicion as to whether it was helping Americans evade taxes.

Following the crisis, Credit Suisse cut more than one-trillion in assets and made plans to cut its investment banking arm 37 percent by 2014.


On 10 March 2015, it was announced that Tidjane Thiam, the CEO of Prudential would leave to become the next CEO of Credit Suisse.

The merger of global investment banking operations under Credit Suisse First Boston and the acquisition of Winterthur Insurance, one of the biggest Swiss-based insurance companies. It is active in investment banking, capital markets and financial services.Today, the Credit Suisse Group is a holding company, after the reorganization of 2015, consisting of the following divisions:Swiss Universal Bank that provides all major banking services in Switzerland.


In September 2016, Brian Chin was appointed Chief Executive of Global Markets and joined the executive board of the bank.


On 23 August 2019, Credit Suisse announced the formation of a new "direct banking" business unit under their Switzerland division (Swiss Universal Bank, SUB), focusing on digital retail products.


In July 2020, Thomas Gottstein, the new CEO of the company, announced restructuring; it was influenced as a result of the trading surge in Q2 of 2020, amid the COVID-19 pandemic.


"Credit Suisse ." International Directory of Company Histories. . Retrieved June 21, 2022 from

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Credit Suisse may also be known as or be related to Credit Suisse, Credit Suisse Asset Management LLC, Credit Suisse Global High Yield Fund, Inc., Credit Suisse Group AG and Credit Suisse Securities LLC.