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Credit Suisse shares soar after the bank secures a $54 billion lifeline

The company logo is seen at the global headquarters of Swiss bank Credit Suisse in Zurich, Switzerland.
Arnd Wiegmann
/
Getty Images
The company logo is seen at the global headquarters of Swiss bank Credit Suisse in Zurich, Switzerland.

Updated March 16, 2023 at 10:21 AM ET

Shares of Credit Suisse jumped Thursday after saying it would borrow up to $54 billion from Switzerland's central bank, an emergency step intended to prop up investor confidence in the troubled European bank.

Credit Suisse shares had plunged on Wednesday, prompting stock markets to fall in the U.S. and around the world, amid rising concerns about the stability of the global banking system after U.S. regulators were forced to rescue Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank on Sunday.

Credit Suisse's troubles, however, were distinct from the two collapsed U.S. lenders. The European bank had already been reeling after a succession of scandals and poor decisions that several CEOs have failed to address over several years.

The lender also recently acknowledged there had been potential problems with the way it reported its financial position as recently as last year, and its shares then plunged on Wednesday after the chairman of its biggest shareholder, Saudi National Bank, said it would not increase its nearly 10% investment.

But Credit Suisse found a reprieve for now after saying late on Wednesday it would borrow up to 50 billion Swiss francs, or about $54 billion, from the Swiss National Bank after the central bank had earlier said it was willing to provide support if required.

Shares of the Swiss lender rose more than 20% in European trading.

Caution persists about global banks

Credit Suisse's woes come as the failures of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank have raised concerns about the financial health of the U.S. banking system despite assurances from President Biden and administration officials.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will testify before the Senate Finance Committee later on Thursday and is set to say the U.S. banking system is "sound" and to assure depositors their money is safe, according to prepared remarks.

Credit Suisses's plunge on Wednesday had sparked fears that the concerns about the U.S. financial system were spreading to other parts of the world.

Although Credit Suisse's shares are trading at a fraction of where they once were, it's still considered one of just a select number of banks that are considered to be important to the global financial system given its worldwide presence and its deep involvement in international trading.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Willem Marx