Credit Suisse accessed billions in liquidity last weekend – finance minister

ZURICH (Reuters) – Credit Suisse tapped the Swiss National Bank for “a large multi-billion amount” last weekend to secure its liquidity, the country’s finance minister Karin Keller-Sutter told Swiss broadcaster SRF on Saturday.

The troubled Swiss bank had said last week it intended to borrow up to 50 billion Swiss francs from the country’s central bank to boost its liquidity.

“Last weekend, a large multi-billion amount was withdrawn by Credit Suisse for liquidity protection,” Keller-Sutter said.

She said this was because customers had again withdrawn money, but also because counterparties were demanding guarantees when they are doing business with the bank.

Keller-Sutter said “it is to be assumed” that the figure was above 50 billion Swiss francs ($54.35 billion), but said the Swiss National Bank had the exact number.

“The important thing is that the situation has stabilised,” she said.

Last Sunday, UBS agreed to buy its rival Credit Suisse for 3 billion Swiss francs in stock and agreed to assume up to 5 billion francs in losses in a merger engineered by Swiss authorities to prevent more market turmoil in global banking.

($1 = 0.9199 Swiss francs)

(Reporting by Noele Illien; Editing by Jane Merriman)