Bank rescue could cost Swiss taxpayers billions of dollars
Bank rescue could cost Swiss taxpayers billions of dollars

Bern: Switzerland's decision to rescue failed investment bank Credit Suisse could result in a significant financial burden for the country's taxpayers, according to Bloomberg calculations.

The Swiss government has pledged to absorb 9 billion Swiss francs ($9.7 billion) of bank losses (SNB), in addition to providing a 100 billion francs ($108 billion) public liquidity backstop from the Swiss National Bank.

According to Bloomberg, this translates to each of Switzerland's 8.7 million citizens paying 12,500 Swiss francs ($13,500) to defend the bank.

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The agreement also refers to a separate, non-government-backed guarantee of 100 billion francs from the Swiss Central Bank. The bank secured a 50 billion franc loan from the SNB last week, bringing the total amount of the rescue to 259 billion francs ($280).

The transaction would exceed UBS's 60 billion franc bailout from 2008 by a significant margin, becoming Switzerland's largest ever corporate rescue.

According to a former global bank CEO who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity, "The government has to explain to voters why they are putting citizens' money, taxpayers' money at risk, which is primarily used to service are putting themselves at risk to bail out the bank. The ultra-rich, doing some pretty extraordinary things with their investment bank, and paying people insane amounts of money relative to what the man in the street gets paid We do."

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Around 200 people demonstrated on Monday outside Credit Suisse's headquarters in Zurich to protest against the merger agreement, which has already angered the Swiss population. Some people threw eggs at the structure while chanting "eat rich".

According to analysts, the actual cost of the rescue may not be as high as specified in the agreement, and government inaction may cost Switzerland its status as a major financial centre.

According to Manuel Ammann, director of the Swiss Institute of Banking and Finance at the University of St. Gallen, the SNB guarantee will be partly covered by securities and bankruptcy privileges, so eventually there may be no need to use public funds.

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He said it was unlikely that the merged entity would become insolvent, while the liability for the government-backed SNB guarantee would " materialize only in that case."

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