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Credit Suisse. Entrepreneurial from the start.

It all began with Swiss railroads in 1856. When the country needed to finance the expansion of its rail network, the forerunner to Credit Suisse was founded. We have since turned into an integrated bank operating in more than 50 countries around the world.

Credit Suisse's story stretches back to July 5, 1856, when the prominent politician, business leader, and pioneer Alfred Escher founded "Schweizerische Kreditanstalt." The original purpose of the new bank known as SKA was to finance the expansion of the railroad network as well as the further industrialization of Switzerland. Fourteen years later, the bank's first foreign representative office opened up in New York. In 1905, the bank's first branch outside Zurich opened in Basel following the acquisition of Oberrheinische Bank.

What started off as a Swiss investment bank turned into a success story spanning over the next century and a half, with Credit Suisse gradually evolving into a leading global provider of financial services.

This development has been achieved through strong organic growth, supplemented by a series of significant mergers and acquisitions such as that of the US investment bank CS First Boston in 1990, the Swiss private bank Bank Leu in 1990, Switzerland's fourth largest bank – Volksbank – in 1993, the Brazilian wealth manager Hedging-Griffo in 2007, and Morgan Stanley's wealth management businesses in Europe, Middle East, and Africa in 2013 to cite a few of the more recent deals.

This has involved the amalgamation of very different cultures, philosophies, and spheres of specialist knowledge, which has resulted in the creation of a strong integrated bank. As of 2006, the bank began operating as a globally active integrated universal bank providing comprehensive solutions to our clients in private banking, investment banking, and asset management.

Our story in pictures

The founder of modern Switzerland

Alfred Escher not only founded Credit Suisse, but also the federal polytechnic ETH Zurich, the insurer Swiss Life and the Northeastern Railway

Driving innovation

If there is one constant in the story of Credit Suisse, it is a track record of continual innovation. In true pioneering style, we have shaped many of the countless innovations to hit the financial markets over the past one and a half centuries, and have quickly adapted others for our own use. For example, we were the first large Swiss bank to establish a direct telex connection with New York in 1951. We continued our pioneering role in the Swiss market by opening the first drive-in bank (1962), and launching both the first telephone banking service (1993), and the first internet banking platform (1997).

But our company's history has been shaped by much more than just technological innovations. In the areas of product management, training and development, marketing, and social commitment, Credit Suisse can look back on a long tradition of leading the way for others to follow. As different as the innovations were, they ultimately served a similar aim. In nearly all cases, this was to meet the needs of clients in an even more rapid, professional, and comprehensive way. And it is already clear today that this driving force will also fuel many a future innovation at Credit Suisse.

Our innovations through the years