Credit Suisse to reduce reliance on branch network, invest millions in digital

Credit Suisse to reduce reliance on branch network, invest millions in digital

Credit Suisse is reducing its reliance on branches in its home market and instead pumping several hundred million francs into digital services.

Following a trend seen throughout Europe and North America, Credit Suisse is making significant changes at its Swiss Universal Bank (SUB) to tackle a new environment shaped by growing pressure on margins, digitisation, new rivals and evolving, tech-focused customer needs.

SUB CEO Thomas Gottstein says: "Maintaining the status quo was not an option - not least because we believe that the achievement of long-term success will not depend on having the biggest branch network in the future.

"Instead, having the best digital offering - combined with access to advice from any location and the best service quality - will be the deciding factor."

To achieve this, around one million retail customers and 60,000 commercial clients will now be serviced by a new Direct Banking business headed up by former IT and operations chief Mario Cramer. Investment banking will be a separate unit.

The bank has not given details on any branch closures but plans to invest "high three-digit million range" in its client business - especially in digitalisation, hiring for client advisory roles, and in marketing - by the end of 2021.

The focus on digital services is not only about saving money but also increasing market share, with Credit Suisse acknowledging that it lags in retail banking, especially among younger people.

Despite the move away from branches, the bank stresses that it will "place an even greater emphasis on personal contact options" including through expanded telephone advisory services.

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