‘Monster’ bank must not become too big to save


t’s hard to get emotional about banking (unless the emotion is anger, of course).

In Switzerland they see it different. Credit Suisse was a national icon, a champion. People either backed it or UBS as the Liverpool and Manchester United of the bank league.

It was tribal and competitive. And now it’s over — UBS won.

The surprisingly bitchy Swiss business media has been cruel about Credit Suisse for years, and with reason. But that is only because they regarded its travails as a national embarrassment.

They were no happier about the deal that saw CS subsumed into UBS for what will surely turn out to be a bargain basement amount of money.

“A zombie is gone but a monster is born,” read the headline in the Neue Zuercher Zeitung, often seen as the voice of the establishment. Staff confessed to being shocked by developments.

No country is so reliant on banking for its economy. Britain is second on the list and a long distant second at that.

The concern now must be that the banking is in the hands of one gigantic institution, which means competition must be hit.

Green Party lawmaker Gerhard Andrey said that Credit Suisse is “such a visible institute”.

“This puts us in a very difficult situation as a country,” he said.

In time, once the CS bit of the new monster is tidied up, surely banking authorities should mandate that parts of the bank is sold off. UBS and Credit Suisse were always too big to fail. The risk must be that they become too big to save, whenever future disaster strikes.

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