Responsibility Responsibility in the Economy & Society
Credit Suisse, our clients and employees have, for many years, been committed to fostering inclusive growth by addressing socio-economic challenges. Together we support selected partner organizations with funding and professional expertise to enable social and humanitarian projects around the world.
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 as a global bank is to be a reliable and professional partner to our clients around the world, offering them a range of financial products and services to meet their individual needs. In this context, we also perform functions that are viewed as systemically relevant, including deposit-taking and lending. Credit Suisse plays an important role as a financial intermediary, bringing together borrowers and lenders of capital globally – from companies and public sector bodies to private individuals and institutions. We supply businesses with the capital resources they need to expand their activities and finance innovation, thus helping to drive 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.
Adapting to the New Regulatory Landscape
The global implementation of extensive regulatory reforms continued in 2017 with the aim of further reinforcing the stability and integrity of the global financial system. At Credit Suisse, we consider it important to actively help shape these new standards. For example, we have been working consistently with regulators, international standard-setting bodies and the finance industry for a number of years to help address the Too Big to Fail (TBTF) issue. Credit Suisse generally supports the Financial Stability Board (FSB) standard for Total Loss-Absorbing Capital (TLAC), which introduces an internationally valid minimum standard for global systemically important banks. In Switzerland, the ordinances on the implementation of the TLAC standard entered into force mid-2016.
Credit Suisse made significant progress in 2017 in evolving the Group's legal entity structure to address the TBTF issue. As part of our implementation efforts, we continue to hold regular consultations with the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority FINMA (FINMA) and other regulators. In line with this work and in order to provide operational continuity of resolution-critical support services, Credit Suisse Services AG, the service company parent, became operational in Switzerland in July 2017, with the transfer of employees, net assets and our Business Delivery Center in Poland from Credit Suisse AG. In addition, several branches of Credit Suisse Services AG were registered abroad and became operational in the course of 2017. The launch of service companies means that if one or more business entities were to fail, critical support services could continue to operate in a resolution period.
Credit Suisse as a Client and Contractual Partner
Credit Suisse makes an indirect contribution to the economy in a variety of ways, including in our role as a consumer. In 2017, we purchased a total of CHF 5.9 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.
Our various suppliers play an integral role in helping us to provide superior financial services to our clients around the world. We look for suppliers who epitomize quality, best value for money, sustainability, and innovation. 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. More information on Credit Suisse's relationship with our suppliers can be found at: credit-suisse.com/suppliers.
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 0.6 billion in corporate income tax worldwide. The bank is also subject to other taxes unrelated to income, which totaled around CHF 0.4 billion in 2017 alone.
Our Role in Switzerland
The importance of banks for the development and growth of the economy is illustrated by our activities in our Swiss home market. We are dedicated to serving private, corporate and institutional clients in Switzerland. Credit Suisse is a trusted financial partner to around 100,000 companies or around 1 in 3 businesses in Switzerland. 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 2017, Credit Suisse had around CHF 158 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 16,490 employees based in Switzerland, we are also one of the country's largest employers.
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.
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 seven years, SVC – Ltd. for Risk Capital for SMEs has performed pioneering work that produced positive overall results. It has provided a total of CHF 108 million of venture capital to 44 companies during this time to help create or preserve jobs in order to sustainably strengthen Switzerland as a center of industry. Success stories include TradePlus24 Ltd., a fintech specialist lender that offers a simple new way for companies to increase their working capital and lend against their global accounts receivable in a fully automated way, and ScanTrust, which aims to put an end to product piracy with a copy-proof QR code. Both firms are now well prepared to further grow their business with the support of SVC – Ltd. for Risk Capital for SMEs.
Combating Youth Unemployment
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 8800 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 them targeted support – from advice on choosing a career or completing job applications to successful interview techniques. In this way, the association can help young people to avoid the financial and social challenges of long-term unemployment. In 2017, Check Your Chance successfully launched the first national helpline 0800 GO4JOB in order to establish early contact with young people at risk of unemployment and with their parents and teachers.
billion Swiss francs is Credit Suisse's volume of outstanding loans in Switzerland at end-2017
of our employees around the world volunteered to help charitable causes