Credit Suisse to Borrow as Much as $54 Billion From Swiss Central Bank

The Swiss lender is fighting for its life, with shares at a record low and the cost to insure against a default the highest ever. The loan is an effort to avert further damage.

Credit Suisse to Borrow as Much as $54 Billion From Swiss Central Bank

Credit Suisse announced Thursday that it will borrow up to $54 billion from Swiss Central Bank to increase its liquidity following the plunge in shares.

It also announced that it will access a "short-term liquidity facility" and will purchase back approximately $3 billion of debt.

Credit Suisse, a 166 year-old institution, lost Wednesday's battle for its existence. Its shares plunged 24 percent on SIX Swiss Exchange, hitting an all-time low. The price of its bonds also fell sharply. The bank's financial contracts to insure against default soared to the highest level ever recorded.

The Swiss National Bank and Finma (the country's financial regulator) issued a joint statement on Wednesday that certified Credit Suisse's financial health. They also stated that the central bank would support the bank in the event of an emergency. Credit Suisse announced that it would borrow 50 billion Swiss Francs from Swiss National Bank within hours.

Ammar al-Khudairy (chairman of the Saudi National Bank), was the immediate cause for the bank's stock market plunge. He is also the largest shareholder. Bloomberg News interviewed Mr. al-Khudairy on televised television. He stated that Credit Suisse would not be financed by the state-owned bank.

Credit Suisse has suffered from years of mistakes, controversies and losses that have cost it two of its chief executives in the last three years. These include large trading losses due to the implosions of Archegos Investment and Greensill Capital. They also include a variety of scandals, including money laundering and spying on former employees.

The firm is implementing a comprehensive turnaround plan that includes thousands of layoffs as well as the spinoff its Wall Street investment bank. Investors have raised concerns that the firm's ongoing losses and client departures (the firm lost $147 billion in customer deposits over the last three months) could have jeopardized this effort.