Exclusive-Credit Suisse seeks to win back clients back with above-market rates

By Vidya Ranganathan and Stefania Spezzati

SINGAPORE/LONDON (Reuters) – Credit Suisse, driven into a rescue by UBS after heavy cash outflows, is seeking to claw back business by offering rich clients some of the highest deposit rates in the industry, according to a person familiar with the bank’s activities in Asia.

On three-month deposits above $1 million, Credit Suisse will pay 5.88%, the person added. At NatWest, similar deposits get 5.41%, according to public disclosures.

The person did not specify whether the rates apply to Asian clients only or across other geographies as well.

Credit Suisse suffered an exodus of client funds in the first quarter that brought the lender to the brink of collapse. Regaining clients’ money and trust is crucial for UBS, which closed its takeover of the bank on June 12 and is still running the business as a separate entity.

For UBS, taking over Credit Suisse is an opportunity to turbo-charge growth in Asia. Bloomberg News reported last week that UBS planned to retain a few hundred relationship managers in the region to bring the total to 1,200.

At Credit Suisse’s asset management unit, which was also hit by clients walking, outflows have not yet stopped, a person with knowledge of the matter told Reuters earlier this month.

Credit Suisse declined to comment.

The bank has held cash campaigns to attract clients in the past, another person with knowledge of the matter told Reuters, but this time it needs to offer a significant premium if it wants to attract clients back.

UBS agreed to take over its 167-year-old rival over a weekend in mid-March. The rescue, backed by public funds, was designed to prevent Credit Suisse’s collapse from triggering a wider banking crisis.

Chief Executive Sergio Ermotti said on the day the deal was closed, that around 10% of Credit Suisse employees had left in the run-up to completing the transaction. The CEO had been racing to finalize the deal to stem the defection of clients.

UBS has said that full integration of Credit Suisse following the takeover that created a giant Swiss bank with a balance sheet of $1.6 trillion, will take up three to five years.

(Reporting by Stefania Spezzati in London and Vidya Ranganathan in Singapore; Editing by Elisa Martinuzzi and Tomasz Janowski)