2010 Awards for excellence: Best Global bank
With its successful execution on a new strategy, and high returns on a low-risk model, Credit Suisse is arguably the best-run bank in the world today.
Best Global bank: Credit Suisse
Also nominated: Barclays, HSBC and Santander
There’s a widespread belief that Credit Suisse was the bank that reacted best to the financial crisis that began in the autumn of 2007. It’s broadly correct. Few, if any banks, were as aggressive in selling down positions in distressed assets and exiting business lines that now look like a relic of the past.
But Credit Suisse was simply accelerating a strategy that it had formulated even before the crisis hit. That strategy – of a client-focused, capital-intensive, low-risk model – is one that many other banks are now trying, at least in part, to emulate.
"Back then [in 2008, after the Lehman Brothers collapse] there was far from an industry-wide consensus that our strategy was right," says Paul Calello, chairman of Credit Suisse’s investment bank. "But we were determined to persevere, getting rid of the more complex positions and reducing our risk."
Doing so paid big dividends in 2009. Credit Suisse had reduced its dislocated asset balance from SFr99 billion ($91.4 billion) in the third quarter of 2007 to around SFr5 billion in Q1 2009.