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 are dedicated to serving private, corporate and institutional clients in Switzerland. We provide a broad spectrum of products and services – ranging, for example, from bundled product solutions for daily banking needs to more complex business succession planning or international business transactions. In addition, we offer our entire expertise from across investment banking and wealth management to serve both the corporate and private financial needs of entrepreneurs.
Credit Suisse is a trusted financial partner to more than 100,000 companies or around 1 in 3 businesses in Switzerland. The majority of Credit Suisse's corporate clients are 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 individual advice and the best possible support to help them run their businesses effectively, and we offer advice on strategic decision-making. In total, Credit Suisse had more than CHF 160 billion of loans outstanding in Switzerland at the end of 2018, including mortgages and loans to private companies, the public sector and private clients. Besides serving Switzerland's SMEs, Credit Suisse is also a longterm strategic financial partner to a number of multinational companies that are domiciled in Switzerland, providing them with a broad range of financial services and access to capital markets. In this way, we help to strengthen Switzerland's position as an attractive business location.
In our home market of Switzerland, we not only engage in an open dialogue with politicians 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, Swiss members of parliament are not professional politicians and the parties do not receive state funding. In order to support the functioning of this system, Credit Suisse offers working time arrangements to employees in Switzerland who hold an elected public office in their local community alongside their role at the bank. Employees in Switzerland who hold an elected public office are permitted to 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.
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.
Read the brochure Switzerland and Credit Suisse
Risk capital for growth and innovation
Credit Suisse Entrepreneur Capital AG (formerly SVC – Ltd. for Risk Capital for SMEs) was founded by Credit Suisse and the Swiss Venture Club in 2010. This Credit Suisse subsidiary invests venture capital in innovative small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and, since 2018, also in financial technology firms with growth potential. For eight years, Credit Suisse Entrepreneur Capital AG has helped to support and strengthen Swiss companies. It has provided a total of CHF 127 million of venture capital to 52 companies during this time to help create or preserve jobs in order to sustainably strengthen Switzerland as a center of industry. Recent success stories include its investment in the fintech firm Assetmax AG, one of the fastest growing IT platforms in Switzerland for independent asset managers and banks, as well as the medical technology company Ava AG, which provides physiological parameters for women to monitor their fertility and their health in general using an asso- ciated mobile app. Investments were also made in two innovative new drone producers, Wingtra and Perspective Robotics.
In February 2019, Credit Suisse announced plans to inject a further CHF 70 million of capital into its venture capital vehicle, bringing its total amount of capital to CHF 200 million.
Combating Youth Unemployment
Credit Suisse is a financial partner of the umbrella association Check Your Chance, which we launched in 2015 together with the SVC Foundation for Entrepreneurship and six Swiss non-profit organizations. Check Your Chance, which is also supported by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), is continuing the successful work of Credit Suisse’s Youth Unemployment Initiative and is an important partner for our bank in the area of youth development. In 2018, Check Your Chance welcomed two new members and now represents a total of 13 non-profit organizations. During the year, they provided assistance to around 3,100 young adults who were unable to find first-time employment after completing an apprenticeship or finishing a degree or who had not yet obtained initial professional training. Check Your Chance intervenes at an early stage to offer them targeted support – including providing advice on choosing a career or completing job applications. In this way, the association can help young people to avoid the financial and social challenges of long-term unemployment. Check Your Chance also offers 0800 GO4JOB, the first national helpline for young people who are finding it difficult to enter the world of work. Parents, teachers and other individuals who want to help these young people can also obtain support from 0800 GO4JOB / 0800 464 562.