Swiss finance minister defends rushed takeover of Credit Suisse

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The takeover of Credit Suisse by UBS was necessary to avoid disruptions of Switzerland’s banking system, Swiss Finance Minister Karin Keller-Sutter said on Saturday.

“Credit Suisse would not have survived Monday,” she said in an interview with Swiss newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung published Saturday.

She argued that the use of emergency law to allow a rapid merger between the country’s two largest banks was needed to stabilize the situation. “Without a solution, payment transactions with [Credit Suisse] in Switzerland would have been significantly disrupted, possibly even collapsed, and wages and bills could no longer have been paid,” she said.

Last weekend, UBS was forced by Swiss authorities to take over its longtime domestic rival Credit Suisse for 3 billion Swiss francs.

To justify the move, which angered Credit Suisse shareholders, Keller-Sutter argued that the federal government “only went as far as was absolutely necessary to achieve the goal of stabilization.”

“If we had done nothing, [Credit Suisse] shares would have been worthless on Monday and the shareholders would have gone home empty-handed,” she said.