Credit Suisse said on Thursday that it plans to borrow as much as $54 billion from the Swiss central bank to improve its liquidity after the lender’s shares plunged to a new low.
The bank will also access a “short-term liquidity facility” and will buy back about $3 billion in debt, it said in a statement released on its website.
Credit Suisse, a 166-year-old institution, ended Wednesday fighting for its life. Its shares tumbled 24 percent on the SIX Swiss Exchange, hitting a new low, and the price of its bonds dropped sharply as well. The cost of financial contracts that insure against a default by the bank spiked to their highest levels on record.
After European markets closed on Wednesday, the Swiss National Bank and Finma, the country’s financial regulator, issued a joint statement certifying Credit Suisse’s financial health and saying the central bank would backstop the bank if needed. Hours later, Credit Suisse said it planned to borrow 50 billion Swiss francs from the Swiss National Bank.
The immediate catalyst for a perilous drop in the bank’s stock price was a comment by Ammar al-Khudairy, the chairman of the Saudi National Bank, which is the bank’s largest shareholder. In a televised interview with Bloomberg News, Mr. al-Khudairy said that the state-owned bank would not put more money into Credit Suisse.
Credit Suisse has been battered by years of mistakes and controversies that have cost it two chief executives over three years. These include huge trading losses tied to the implosions of the investment firm Archegos and the lender Greensill Capital; they also include an array of scandals, from involvement in money laundering to spying on former employees.
The firm has embarked on a sweeping turnaround plan, which includes thousands of layoffs and the spinoff of its Wall Street investment bank. But investors have questioned whether continuing losses and client departures — the firm lost about $147 billion worth of customer deposits in the last three months of 2022 — have endangered that effort.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.