Bye bye Credit Suisse - An era of over 160 years comes to an end

Bye bye Credit Suisse - An era of over 160 years comes to an end

Founded in 1865, one of Switzerland's two big banks, Credit Suissse (CS) is history in 2023. UBS buys CS for 3 billion francs. The Confederation takes over guarantees of 9 billion francs.

The banking landscape in Switzerland is subject to constant change. This is also the theme of the current exhibition "Banks in transition: from counters to apps" which opened August 2022. The latest example of change is Credit Suisse. Now there is only one mega big bank, instead of two as before. The corresponding chapter "Banking Landscape Switzerland" in the exhibition must therefore be rewritten.

The exhibition "Banks in transition: from counters to apps"

The exhibition will remain until the summer of 2024 - the SKA share from 1912 is also on display ( video in German).

Over the past 20 years, the face of Swiss banks has changed significantly. Where once the personal contact in the branch office used to be a priority, banking has now arrived on the smartphone. Which leads to several questions: How do we pay, save and invest -  today and in the future? Which institutions do we trust? The exhibition shows the origins of the Swiss banking system up until the Swiss financial center takes shape, and contrasts them with the current, digital trends in banking: from counters to apps. A selection of original historical securities will be used to showcase the types of Swiss banks, as well as global tech companies that are steadily driving digitization in the financial sector. 

If the curators of the exhibition had wondered before the opening whether Credit Suisse would still exist at the end of the exhibition, the answer came sooner than expected; an era comes to an end in 2023. Reason enough to describe once again here the share of Credit Suisse's predecessor, the Schweizerische Kreditanstalt share, which is in the exhibition.

The Schweizerische Kreditanstalt (SKA)

In the beginning is the railway: In 1856, Alfred Escher’s Schweizerische Kreditanstalt (SKA, today: Credit Suisse) is founded. Its goal is to fund the development of the railway infrastructure. The project is a resounding success. Shares worth a total of CHF 3 million are issued, but within the first three days, subscriptions amount to a total of CHF 218 million. This lays the foundation for the Financial Center in Zurich and the SKA quickly becomes Switzerland’s largest commercial bank. Starting in 1870, it expands to New York, other international locations follow.

From the SKA to CS

In 1989, the SKA is integrated as a subsidiary into CS Holding. With the aim to consolidate various holdings, the latter was initially created in 1982 as an affiliate company to SKA. In 1997, CS Holding becomes the Credit Suisse Group. In 2023, CS will be taken over by Switzerland's second major bank, UBS.