Will Credit Suisse be next to need bail out? Bank admits ‘material weaknesses’ in financial reporting controls as it battles to shore up $120billion in customer withdrawals following a string of scandals as shares sink to all-time low
- The bank’s share price fell five percent during early trading in Europe on Tuesday
- Credit Suisse CEO looked to quell doubts amid fears of a banking crisis after the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, saying: ‘Our SVB credit exposure is not material’
Credit Suisse has acknowledged ‘material weaknesses’ in its internal controls as the Swiss bank released its annual report on Tuesday, in the latest blow to the scandal-hit bank.
The annual report was delayed following queries from U.S. regulators regarding its books. The bank was supposed to publish its report last week but it postponed the release after a last-minute call from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission over revisions made to cash-flow statements for 2019 and 2020.
The bank’s ‘weakness’ was in its capability to design and maintain effective risk assessments in its financial statements, the report stated.
The bank admitted in the report that ‘the group’s internal control over financial reporting was not effective’ and ‘management has also accordingly concluded that our disclosure controls and procedures were not effective.’
Battered by a string of scandals, its customer outflows in the fourth quarter rose to more than $120 billion (almost 110 billion Swiss francs), putting it in breach of some liquidity buffers.
The latest woes for Credit Suisse come amid fears of a banking crisis perpetuated by the concerning health of midsized banks and the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank last week.
But speaking earlier today, the bank’s CEO Ulrich Koerner looked to quell doubts. ‘Our SVB credit exposure is not material’ he said, while insiders insisted the world’s seventh largest investment bank, headquartered in Zurich, is more highly regulated than SVB in the U.S. and is ‘conservatively positioned against any interest rate risks’.
On Tuesday morning, the bank’s share price fell a further five percent during early trading in Europe, culminating to a record low amid market turmoil.
Credit Suisse said its ‘weakness’ was in its capability to design and maintain effective risk assessments in its financial statements
Credit Suisse has endured a barrage of problems in recent years, including its exposure to the implosions of U.S. asset manager Archegos and UK firm Greensill in 2021.
The Swiss lender’s shares fell to new lows on Monday as investors fret over the health of the global banking sector following the sudden collapse of two U.S. regional banks.
In the annual report released Tuesday, the bank said that its ‘internal control over financial reporting was not effective’ for 2021 and 2022.
‘The material weaknesses that have been identified relate to the failure to design and maintain an effective risk assessment process to identify and analyze the risk of material misstatements in its financial statements,’ the report said.
Auditors PwC in the report included an adverse opinion on the effectiveness of the bank’s internal controls.
The auditor said: ‘Management did not design and maintain effective controls over the completeness and the classification and presentation of non-cash items in the consolidated statements of cash flows.’
The bank responded by stating it was in the process of compiling a remediation plan to address the ‘material weakness’. Credit Suisse said it would be ‘strengthening the risk and control frameworks, and which will build on the significant attention that management has devoted to controls to date’.
‘Additionally, we will implement robust controls to ensure that all non-cash items are classified appropriately within the consolidated statement of cash flows,’ it added.
But speaking earlier today, the bank’s CEO Ulrich Koerner looked to quell doubts. ‘Our SVB credit exposure is not material’ he said. He is pictured speaking in Zurich, Switzerland, October 27, 2022
On Tuesday morning, the bank’s share price fell a further five percent during early trading in Europe, culminating to a record low amid market turmoil
Following the long string of scandals, the bank was put in breach of some liquidity buffers when customer outflows rose to more than 110 billion Swiss francs ($120 billion) in the fourth quarter.
The bank previously said the picture had been improving and that it was seeing money returning to the bank.
CEO Ulrich Koerner at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January had said the bank was seeing money ‘coming back in different parts of the firm’.
On Tuesday the bank said ‘outflows stabilized to much lower levels but had not yet reversed’.
Scheduled for release last week, the annual report had been delayed following a request from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which had raised questions about the bank’s earlier financial statements.
Last week Credit Suisse said the SEC had called it regarding about previous revisions to consolidated cash flow statements for 2019 and 2020.
On Monday Swiss regulator FINMA warned it was seeking to identify any potential contagion risks for the country’s banks and insurers following the collapses of the U.S. banks.
‘The aim is to identify any cluster risks and potential for contagion at an early stage.’ it said.
Amid fears of a banking crisis after the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank – both the second and third largest bank failure in U.S. history.
President Joe Biden pledged on Monday to do whatever was needed to address the banking crisis precipitated by the collapse of the two lenders which forced regulators to step in with emergency measures to stem contagion.
President Joe Biden pledged on Monday to do whatever was needed to address the banking crisis precipitated by the collapse of the two lenders. He is pictured in San Diego, California on Monday
FINMA said it was also monitoring for any spill-over effects from the failure of another tech-focused U.S. bank, Silvergate Capital Corp, which said on Wednesday it was planning to wind down its operations and liquidated voluntarily.
The regulator said its supervisory activities were focused on the risk management of supervised institutions and on dealing with various scenarios.
Switzerland’s Federal Department of Finance said it ‘takes note of the reports on U.S. banks and the development of the stock markets’ but would not be further commenting on them.
The government department also pointed to FINMA’s role and said ‘FINMA is closely monitoring Credit Suisse as part of its supervisory activities.’
The Swiss National Bank declined to comment on the effect SVB’s collapse could have on Switzerland’s financial sector.
In a further reflection of investor concern about Credit Suisse’s outlook, the price of some of its bonds fell sharply, with some at record lows.
Struggling to recover from a string of scandals, Switzerland’s second-biggest bank has begun a major overhaul of its business, cutting costs and jobs and creating a separate business for its investment bank under the CS First Boston brand.
Last week it announced it was delaying the publication of its annual report following a call from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Has SVB collapse triggered a banking crisis?
Shockwaves from the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank pounded global bank stocks further on Tuesday as assurances from President Joe Biden and other policymakers did little to calm markets and prompted a rethink on the interest rate outlook.
Biden’s efforts to reassure markets and depositors came after emergency U.S. measures to shore up banks by giving them access to additional funding failed to dispel investor worries about potential contagion to other lenders worldwide.
Banking stocks in Asia extended declines, with big Australian banks ANZ, Westpac and NAB all down more than 2% and Japan’s banking subindex falling 6.7% in early trade to its lowest since December.
A furious race to reprice interest rate expectations also sent waves through markets as investors bet the Federal Reserve will be reluctant to hike next week.
‘Even if the collapse of several mid-tier banks doesn’t develop into a full-blown systemic crisis, it will more than likely trigger a credit crunch,’ said Paul Ashworth, Chief North America Economist at Capital Economics.
Traders currently see a 50% chance of no rate hike at that meeting, with rate cuts priced in for the second half of the year. Early last week, a 25 basis-point hike was fully priced in, with a 70% chance seen of 50 basis points.
With investors fearing additional failures, major U.S. banks lost around $90 billion in stock market value on Monday, bringing their loss over the past three trading sessions to nearly $190 billion.
Regional U.S. banks were hit the hardest. Shares of First Republic Bank tumbled more than 60% as news of fresh financing failed to reassure investors, and so did Western Alliance Bancorp and PacWest Bancorp.
Europe’s STOXX banking index closed 5.7% lower. Germany’s Commerzbank fell 12.7% and Credit Suisse slid 9.6% to a record low.
Biden said his administration’s actions meant ‘Americans can have confidence that the banking system is safe,’ while also promising stiffer regulation after the biggest U.S. bank failure since the 2008 financial crisis.
‘Your deposits will be there when you need them,’ he said.
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