Marketplace, Wednesday, March 15, 2023
Europe’s Credit Suisse is in trouble. Could its problems infect the rest of the financial system?
By Mitchell Hartman
First, Silicon Valley Bank failed. Then, Signature Bank failed. Now, in Europe, Credit Suisse is teetering. On Tuesday, the Swiss bank reported it had found “material weaknesses” in its past financial reporting. The bank’s biggest investor — the Saudi National Bank — said it was not about to pony up any more capital to prop up its sagging balance sheet. On Wednesday, Credit Suisse shares took a beating. The bank has reportedly asked Switzerland’s central bank for support. And The Financial Times is reporting that the European Central Bank has asked lenders throughout the European Union to disclose exactly how much exposure they have to Credit Suisse….“Credit Suisse has been scandal plagued for the last few years,” added Karen Petrou at Federal Financial Analytics. The bank has a reputation “for flying very close to the edge, a number of serious scandals with fraudulent borrowers, terribly lax internal controls,” she said. Those problems may be unique to Credit Suisse. But in the current climate of fear and uncertainty, the CS saga has global investors worrying. “Any bank of its size that is so accident-prone is a very high-risk institution. And then people are looking again and very askance at other high-risk institutions,” Petrou said.