(CTN News) – Credit Suisse was never realistically nationalized, according to former Swiss finance minister Ueli Maurer, quoted in the Swiss newspaper Sonntags Zeitung defending his response to the Swiss banking crisis.
There is a possibility that the state would suddenly have to run a globally active bank that is dirty in every corner of the world and deeply involved in legal cases. How would that work?” Maurer asked of a possible option the central bank has been reported as favoring.
As a result of Maurer’s hands-off approach to Credit Suisse in the lead up to the Swiss bank’s demise in December 2022, he has been criticized for saying it simply needed to be left alone for a year or two before it collapsed.
In June last year, UBS acquired Credit Suisse to form the largest Swiss banking and wealth management company in the world with a balance sheet of $1.6 trillion.
As Maurer said, “There was a chance that Credit Suisse could have handled the problem on its own,” he explained that a bank’s responsibility lies first with its management, then with the board of directors, then with its auditors, then with its financial regulator, and finally with the Swiss National Bank.
It is not likely that UBS would have faced bankruptcy in the near future and, in fact, “they got a great deal from UBS”, said Maurer, who was finance minister until the end of 2022.
“The bank (Credit Suisse) had such a large amount of equity that it was clearly evident that third parties were interested in acquiring the company,” he said.
Furthermore, Maurer also stated that he still wishes for Switzerland to have two large banks, but that the best solution would be for UBS to take over the bank in its entirety.
As a result, he said, he did not believe it would have been better for Credit Suisse to remain independent in this situation and with such a complicated history.”