Credit Suisse is to close 37 retail branches in Switzerland as part of restructuring programme driven by a surge in online and mobile banking during the pandemic.
The Swiss bank says job cuts are "inevitable" resulting from a merger of its Neue Aaargauer Bank subsidiary in northern Aargau canton with the main Credit Suisse business. The effort will slim the Swiss branch network to 109 outlets from 146 by the end of the year.
"In the last two years alone, use of online banking at Credit Suisse has grown by approximately 40%, while the use of mobile banking has more than doubled," states the bank. "The Covid-19 crisis has further accelerated these trends. In contrast, the number of visits to branches has been declining for years."
The bank also unveiled plans to concentrate more on clients who have more complex advisory needs and expect individual advice, and on those who primarily conduct their banking digitally and with the support of telephone services.
To this end, it intends to introduce a new digital offering and a "future-oriented" branch concept at the end of October, making additional investments in advisory services and digitalisation
André Helfenstein, CEO Swiss Universal Bank and CEO Credit Suisse, comments: “Digitalisation is happening all around us and will continue to advance rapidly. As a leading universal bank, we ensure that we continuously adapt our offering to the evolving needs of our clients and deploy our resources in those areas with opportunities to generate profitable growth. The changes we are making to our branch network - while simultaneously investing in digital solutions and in advisory services for clients with more complex needs - represent a logical step forward.
The bank has not divulged how many jobs will be lost as a result of the overhaul - which is expected to generate savings of CHF400 million per annum - but says it is currently in consultation with the Staff Councils of NAB and Credit Suisse. E\rly reports suggest as many as 500 jobs will be ditched.