Responsibility Economy & Society

Economy & Society

Credit Suisse and its employees have been working with selected partner organizations around the world for many years to help address social challenges and improve the living standards of disadvantaged people.

Our Role in the Economy and Society

By operating responsibly and efficiently, we create value for our clients and shareholders worldwide. At the same time, we make an important contribution to the functioning of the economy through our banking activities and play a constructive role in society.

As a global financial institution, Credit Suisse is closely interconnected with the economy and society and has responsibilities towards a wide range of stakeholders. Our primary function is to act as a reliable financial partner to our clients, providing services and advice to meet their individual needs. At the same time, we make a direct contribution to the economy in our role as a financial intermediary, bringing together lenders and borrowers of capital around the world – from companies and public sector bodies to private individuals and institutions. This includes supplying businesses with the capital they require to expand their activities and drive innovation, thus helping to foster economic growth and job creation.

Dialogue with Regulators – International Reforms and Regulatory Developments

International Coordination of Regulatory Measures

To maintain financial market stability while ensuring a level playing field for international financial centers, it is essential for regulatory measures to be coordinated globally. This is especially critical in view of the cumulative effects that stricter bank regulations can have on the economy. For example, the restriction of banking activities as a result of higher regulatory requirements can stifle economic growth, with negative consequences for the labor market. Credit Suisse strives to balance the interests of its shareholders and the concerns of the regulatory authorities, legislators and other stakeholders within society, while focusing on the needs of clients.

"Too Big to Fail"

The fact that Credit Suisse has never had to turn to the government for support at any point in our history of 160 years demonstrates that we are able to conduct our business activities by maintaining a solid capital base and sound risk appetite and proactively meeting the demands of investors and regulators. In recent years, we have actively contributed to efforts to develop a solution to the "Too Big to Fail" issue and strengthen system stability. We basically share the public view that it should be possible for even systemically relevant financial institutions to fail without having to resort to bailouts that are funded using taxpayers' money.

Under legislation approved in September 2011 and revised in the summer of 2016, Switzerland imposes significantly higher capital requirements on its big banks than those prescribed by the international standards. Credit Suisse supports these measures because we recognize the responsibility that we have toward society in our role as a major bank. However, in order to preserve the international competitiveness of the Swiss financial center, it is necessary for national regulation to take into account the specific features of the liberal Swiss economy while at the same time ensuring compatibility with global regulatory developments.

Too Big to Fail

Explained in a Few Steps

Credit Suisse as a Client and Contractual Partner, and Supply Management

Credit Suisse also makes an indirect contribution to the economy in a variety of ways, including in our role as a consumer. In 2015, we purchased a total of CHF 7 billion of goods, services and licenses from suppliers around the globe. We are committed to conducting our business in an ethical, legal, and socially and environmentally responsible manner. The relationships that we build with our supply partners help to guarantee the quality and value of the products and services we source and are also a means of ensuring that they assume their corporate responsibilities appropriately.

Supplier Code of Conduct

We require suppliers to meet strict standards in areas such as business ethics and integrity, employee health and safety or environmental protection, as defined in our Supplier Code of Conduct (PDF).

Supply Management Values

Credit Suisse values integrity in all our dealings. The Supply Management core values form the basis on which we build the relationships with our supplier community.

Supplier Selection and Engagement

We want to work with suppliers who share our values to deliver excellent services to our clients. We establish and maintain relationships with small local and large international suppliers, selected on meritocracy.

Supplier Diversity Program

Credit Suisse cares about establishing relationships with small and medium sized businesses who are often underrepresented in supplying the needs of major corporations. A diverse supply base helps Credit Suisse provide flexible, innovative and best quality solutions at the best price.

Credit Suisse as a Taxpayer

Our role as a taxpayer is another way in which we contribute to society and ultimately to the economy. Over the past five years, Credit Suisse has paid an annual average of CHF 0.8 billion in corporate income tax worldwide. The bank is also subject to other taxes that are not related to income, which totaled around CHF 0.6 billion in 2015 alone.

Our Role in Switzerland

The importance of banks for the development and growth of the economy is illustrated by our activities in our home market of Switzerland. Under the new organizational structure that we announced in October 2015, we established a Swiss Universal Bank division in Switzerland, where we are a trusted financial partner to approximately 100,000 companies or around 1 in 3 businesses. We are especially committed to supporting the export sector and we provide international payment operations, trade finance and other services that are essential to do business in the global marketplace. Supplying financial expertise and advice to the economy is another aspect of our work.

A number of activities that Credit Suisse performs in Switzerland are viewed as systemically relevant due to their importance for the functioning of the economy. They include deposit-taking and lending. At the end of 2015, Credit Suisse had around CHF 156 billion of loans outstanding, including mortgages and loans to private sector companies, the public sector and private clients. Credit Suisse is also a long-term strategic financial partner to a number of multinational foreign companies that are domiciled in Switzerland.

With around 17,400 employees based in Switzerland, we are also one of the country's largest employers. We play a key economic and social function by providing attractive career opportunities across the full spectrum of banking, paying appropriate compensation and offering development prospects for talented individuals.

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. These individuals 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.

Another important way in which Credit Suisse helps to strengthen the "militia" system in Switzerland and promote political diversity is by making financial contributions available to political parties that request funding, irrespective of their political agenda and position. This financial support does not give rise to any obligations among the political parties that receive it. The only factor that influences the support given by the bank is the number of parliamentary mandates held by each party at cantonal and federal level: 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 functions of state. Credit Suisse makes a maximum of CHF 1 million of financial support available each year for this purpose. This is a long-term commitment and is reviewed regularly. This support is exclusive to Credit Suisse's home market; the bank does not offer financial support to political parties in other countries. In the US, however, employees have the option of making voluntary private donations within the bank through a Political Action Committee.

Working with Swiss Business to Drive Growth

SVC – Ltd. for Risk Capital for SMEs was founded by Credit Suisse and the Swiss Venture Club in 2010. The Credit Suisse subsidiary invests venture capital in innovative Swiss small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with growth potential. For five years, SVC – Ltd. for Risk Capital for SMEs has performed pioneering work that produced positive overall results. It has provided a total of CHF 80 million of venture capital to 36 companies during this time with the aim of helping to create or preserve jobs in order to sustainably strengthen Switzerland as a center of industry. Success stories range from ASIC Robotics AG, a leading supplier of high-tech mechanical engineering solutions, to the personal care and cleaning products manufacturer Temmentec as well as the specialist baker Bäckerei Hug – all of which have expanded their business with the support of SVC – Ltd. for Risk Capital for SMEs. The amount invested usually ranges from CHF 1 million to CHF 5 million per firm. The portfolio companies, which are active in a variety of industries, currently employ 1,780 people. In addition, they hold more than 300 patents, reflecting their ability to innovate.

Youth Unemployment Initiative and Youth Barometer

Credit Suisse launched its Youth Unemployment Initiative in 2009 and invested a total of up to CHF 30 million in projects offering specific support to young people. In view of the success of these projects, which have helped more than 8,800 young people, we considered it important for these programs to continue after the original initiative ended in March 2015. Credit Suisse and the SVC Foundation for Entrepreneurship therefore worked with the initiative's partner organizations to launch a new association – "Check Your Chance" – in 2015 to transition the Youth Unemployment Initiative to an independent national platform that is supported by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). Check Your Chance and its members focus on helping young people to obtain professional training and integrate into the labor market. We have found that despite their efforts, thousands of young adults are unable to find first-time employment after completing an apprenticeship or finishing a degree. The longer this phase lasts, the more difficult it becomes for them to secure a job. The situation is equally difficult for young people who have not yet obtained initial training. This is where Check Your Chance can help: It intervenes at an early stage to offer targeted support to prevent young people from being confronted with the financial and social challenges of unemployment.

Reflecting our commitment to engaging in a dialogue with the younger generation, we conduct the annual Youth Barometer survey, which spans four countries on four continents. The results provide an insight into the lifestyle, problems and attitudes of young people aged 16 to 25. The latest Youth Barometer highlighted the extent to which young people act and think digitally, with over 85% describing the Internet as a significant or indispensable part of their lives. These findings give us a better understanding of the needs of our younger generation of clients and employees.


billion Swiss francs is Credit Suisse’s volume of outstanding loans in Switzerland at end-2015


of our employees around the world volunteered to help charitable causes