The rapidly agreed plan hatched behind closed doors last weekend to merge Switzerland’s two largest banks has sparked widespread anger across Switzerland. A poll published this week showed that 66% of Swiss surveyed were either very (37%) or fairly (29%) angry about the merger, reported RTS.
Late last week, a crisis in investor confidence in Credit Suisse Group gave way to the beginnings of a bank run. To restore calm, a merger of Credit Suisse and UBS was arranged behind closed doors over the weekend. In the end the holders of CHF 16 billion of AT1 bonds (also known as CoCo or bail-in bonds) had the value of their assets written to zero, and shareholders, who at the end of 2022 held stakes in a business with an equity book value of CHF 48 billion, were set to receive shares in UBS worth CHF 3 billion.
In the survey, 54% of respondents were either completely (28%) or fairly (26%) against the rushed merger of the two banks. This percentage rose to 56% in German-speaking Switzerland. Those surveyed in the French- (47%) and Italian-speaking (51%) regions were slightly less against the move.
Supporters of the Swiss People’s Party, Switzerland’s largest political party, were the most against the secretive merger. 61% of the party’s supporter were either against (39%) or fairly against (22%) the bank combination.
Out of those involved in the deal, Credit Suisse’s management were the least trusted. Only 8% of those surveyed trusted them, while only 29% trusted the regulator FINMA. The most trusted actors were the Swiss National Bank (66%), UBS’s management (47%) and the Federal Council (44%).
The main concerns associated with the merger included job losses (83%), damage to Switzerland’s financial sector (75%) and damage to the reputation of the nation’s economy (73%).
The survey also revealed three public demands: greater accountability by Credit Suisse’s management (96%), measures against abusive pay packages in the banking sector (93%), and an end to the privatisation of bank profits and the nationalisation of their losses (88%).
According to institut gfs.bern, the organisation that conducted the survey, these three demands underline the major disappointment felt by the public regarding the political-economic bailout of Credit Suisse and those responsible for it.
Finally, 71% support a plan for a parliamentary investigation into the mess, something already demanded by several political parties.