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Credit Suisse to shift focus from branches to digital banking

Credit Suisse to shift focus from branches to digital banking

ZURICH: Credit Suisse said on Monday (Aug 26) it would invest hundreds of millions of francs in digital services and other parts of its Swiss division by the end of 2021 and said it no longer needed a bigger branch network in its home market than its rivals.

Banks across Europe have been closing branches and cutting tens of thousands of jobs as customers go online and banks seek to save on their bricks-and-mortar costs.

“The achievement of long-term success will not depend on having the biggest branch network in the future,” Thomas Gottstein, head of Credit Suisse’s Swiss Universal Bank (SUB) unit, said without elaborating on any branch closures.

“Instead, having the best digital offering – combined with access to advice from any location and the best service quality – will be the deciding factor,” he said in a statement.

The Zurich-based bank is creating a new business area, called Direct Banking, for retail and commercial clients, starting on Sep 1 while carving out its Swiss investment banking operations into a separately managed unit.

In total, investments “in the high three-digit million range” through 2021 will include boosting the Swiss unit’s digital offering, hiring client advisers, marketing and sponsorships, Credit Suisse said.

Beyond digital services, Credit Suisse said it planned increased telephone advisory services and “the provision of personal advice in the regional network of branches”.

More details about the new branch concept would be provided in the first half of 2020, the bank said.

Credit Suisse’s new Direct Banking would have about 1 million retail clients, 60,000 commercial clients, and more than 500 employees and would be run by Mario Crameri, Credit Suisse said.