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The bank that lives on the edge

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The bank that lives on the edge

A superb piece in The Times today by Patrick Hosking on the near-permanent state of crisis at Credit Suisse, a bank that can’t get out of its own way.

Some of the choice lines: “If ever a bank seemed plain incompetent at weighing up risk, it would appear to be Credit Suisse.”

That’s despite dozens of risk committees and of course a chief risk officer.

More from Hosking: “Credit Suisse is like a cliff-top rambler who fanatically documents the hundreds of different ways he might stumble and fall off, instead of just keeping a sensible distance from the edge.”

All true. One of the things that bank is plainly measuring incorrectly, in terms of risk, is PR, (which is almost certainly not the fault of the PR people).

Customers must wonder what the PR risks are to them of doing business with a bank whose other clients keep being tainted by fraud.

From the outside, this bank has always seemed an oddity. A stodgy Swiss bureaucracy that at times liked to imagine it could mix it with the Wall Street big boys. Until this plan went, inevitably and like all the others, completely wrong.

What seems clear now is that one of the reasons it struggled to explain itself to the outside world was simply that it didn’t know what its purpose was really, something no amount of risk committees or mission statements is going to cover up.

It is confused, and looks it.

Press release of the day

This research from Nickel Digital Asset Management says most fund managers expect to see big companies keeping reserves of Bitcoin.

They will follow Tesla, Square and others in so doing, a “huge endorsement for Bitcoin” says Anatoly Crachilov, the CEO.


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