ZurichThe numbers were better than expected: The Swiss bank Credit Suisse earned CHF 749 million in the first three months of the year. That was eight percent more than in the same quarter last year and more than expected by analysts. "In a difficult quarter, we made a profit for the fifth consecutive quarter," said bank chief Tidjane Thiam. The three-year restructuring paid off for the bank.
But where there is light is also shadow: while the Swiss in asset management earned more despite the difficult environment, the profit in investment banking declined. For the European competitors, who present their quarterly balance sheets in the coming days, the signs from Zurich are mixed.
The business of Credit Suisse was very volatile: After a difficult January and a slight recovery in February, followed by a strong March, bank chief Tidjane Thiam is quoted. Revenues at Credit Suisse fell four percent to around CHF 5.4 billion.
However, the Swiss were able to reduce the costs even more, so that the bottom line profits are higher. Bank boss Thiam has repeatedly defended this pattern in the past. His credo: The bank does not rely on earnings growth at any price, but on cost discipline.
Over the past three years, the Franco-Ivorian manager has scaled down investment banking and expanded asset management, following the strategy of Swiss rival UBS. The first quarterly figures after the end of the restructuring evaluates Thiam now as proof that his strategy works.
In fact, international asset management is proving to be a driving force. Here, the bank was able to increase its pre-tax profit by eight percent to 523 million francs compared to the first quarter of last year. By contrast, pre-tax profits fell in the home market of Switzerland and in the Asia-Pacific business.
The trading division, called Global Markets, returned to profit after two lossy quarters. Here, the pre-tax profit was around $ 283 million. While income from equities remained broadly stable, they declined in bond trading.
The slump in bond trading could also make itself felt in the rival Deutsche Bank, which presents its figures on Friday. The Frankfurters are in a strong position in the discipline. In investment banking and capital markets, Credit Suisse was even in the red. The bank speaks of a "difficult business environment", the loss before tax is 94 million dollars.
For the full year, Credit Suisse continues to aim for a profit of around four billion Swiss francs. The outlook for the second quarter remains cautiously optimistic. While Credit Suisse continues to speak of "geopolitical and macroeconomic concerns", "we believe its impact has already weakened and customer confidence is gradually reversing."
The arch rival UBS, which presents its figures on Thursday, had already warned its shareholders in March before a lot of numbers. The first quarter was one of the worst quarters of recent years, warned UBS CEO Sergio Ermotti at an investor conference.
Also in the American rivals the first quarter was disappointing. Although the Wall Street Institutes earn much more than the European competition, but the weakness of stocks and bonds and the slowdown in IPOs, the major US banks were clearly felt.