Our Role in Switzerland
The importance of banks for the continued development and growth of the economy is demonstrated by our activities in our Swiss home market. As the “Bank for Entrepreneurs”, we offer a broad range of products for corporate clients of all sizes and for institutional clients, as well as private individuals in Switzerland. We give them access to our wide-ranging expertise in the areas of private, corporate and investment banking. This interdisciplinary approach allows us to act as a strategic partner, supporting entrepreneurs and their companies, as well as multinational companies domiciled in Switzerland, throughout their lifecycle.
Today, Credit Suisse works with a large number of entrepreneurs to help meet their wide-ranging daily needs. In addition to products satisfying their core financial needs, we also offer tailored solutions for complex financial matters – from forward-looking pension planning to sophisticated corporate succession planning and financing. In this context, we are committed to offering entrepreneurs the best possible support in the complex management of private and business assets. Our advisory approach addresses both the private and operational financial interests of entrepreneurs and thus offers holistic solutions from a single source.
Serving more than 100,000 companies or around 1 in 3 businesses in Switzerland, Credit Suisse is a highly trusted financial partner to Swiss corporate clients. They mainly comprise small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that generally have no direct access to the capital markets and are therefore often reliant on bank loans to fund working capital and/or investments. One of our goals is to support these companies with a fair, competitive and risk-adjusted lending policy. We are committed to providing our Swiss corporate clients with needs-oriented advice and the best possible support, and we advise them on strategic decisions to help them run their businesses effectively. At the end of 2019, Credit Suisse had over CHF 163 billion of loans outstanding in Switzerland, including mortgages and loans to private companies, the public sector and private clients.
Supporting the political system in Switzerland and beyond
In our Swiss home market, we not only engage in an open dialogue with policymakers that involves the regular exchange of information and ideas but also actively support the functioning of the Swiss “militia” system of politics, where Swiss citizens assume roles in political bodies at federal, cantonal or community level alongside their regular professions. Consequently, most members of the Swiss Parliament are not professional politicians and parties do not receive state funding.
Credit Suisse helps to strengthen this system of politics by making financial contributions available to political parties at the federal level that request funding, irrespective of their political agenda and position. This financial support does not give rise to any obligations for the political parties that receive it. The only factor that influences the support given by Credit Suisse is the number of parliamentary mandates held by each party at the federal level and in the cantons: To be eligible, a party must have at least five seats in the Federal Assembly (Swiss Parliament). This transparent approach – based on objective criteria – enables Credit Suisse to make a politically neutral contribution to support the work of the parties in performing the functions of the state. Credit Suisse makes a maximum of CHF 1 million of financial support available each year for this purpose. This support is exclusive to Credit Suisse’s home market.
In the European Union, Credit Suisse does not make any financial contributions to political candidates or parties. The bank constructively engages with EU policymakers on relevant financial services topics through legislative consultation processes and other channels. It discloses EU-related advocacy spend on an annual basis in the European Commission’s transparency register and abides by the EU’s Code of Conduct.
In the US, Credit Suisse does not itself make any direct financial contributions to candidates or political parties. However, like many other companies and organizations in the US, it offers employees the option of making their own voluntary private donations through a Political Action Committee (PAC). Employees can support candidates running for US Congress but not presidential candidates or specific political parties. These PAC donations take the form of a general contribution to the political system. The PAC then distributes the combined employee donations to members of relevant committees or districts, ensuring that the funds are shared evenly between Democratic and Republican candidates.
Holders of public office
In Switzerland, Credit Suisse offers working time arrangements to employees who hold an elected public office alongside their role at the bank. These employees can devote up to 20% of their working hours to a public role while receiving their full salary from the bank – irrespective of their party affiliation and views. Each year, Credit Suisse’s Public Affairs and Policy department organizes a meeting for the more than 300 employees who hold an elected public office. This annual event enables them to learn more about current policy issues that may be relevant to their day-to-day work as well as to their activities as elected representatives. It also gives them an opportunity to engage in discussions with their colleagues and Credit Suisse’s top management. In 2019, the event centered around the Swiss “militia” system of politics. After a welcome speech by Peter Derendinger, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Credit Suisse (Schweiz) AG, the event featured two keynote speeches and a panel discussion with subject matter experts and policymakers – giving participants an insight into different aspects of the Swiss approach to politics.
Read the brochure Switzerland and Credit Suisse
Risk capital for growth and innovation
Credit Suisse Entrepreneur Capital AG was founded in May 2010 as a 100% subsidiary of Credit Suisse (Schweiz) AG. It provides venture and growth capital to small and medium-sized enterprises as well as entrepreneurs in order to foster entrepreneurship and to help strengthen Switzerland’s position as a center of innovation. Recent success stories include investments in the innovative travel booking technology firm Nezasa AG and Schulthess Maschinen AG, a leading Swiss manufacturer of washing machines and tumble dryers. In the area of fintech, an investment was made in AlgoTrader AG, which has created an innovative algorithmic trading software system.
By the end of 2019, Credit Suisse Entrepreneur Capital AG had provided CHF 142 million of capital to 58 companies – helping to create and preserve jobs in Switzerland.