Credit Suisse 3Q Profit Tanks, Cost Cuts On The Way

Credit Suisse 3Q Profit Tanks, Cost Cuts On The Way
By Credit Suisse Group AG (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

On Thursday, Credit Suisse Group AG (ADR) (NYSE:CS) reported its third quarter net profit tanked 63%, to 254 million Swiss francs ($273 million). This is down from 683 million francs from the previous year.

Credit Suisse 3Q Profit Tanks, Cost Cuts On The Way

With the drop, the bank also announced that it will slash costs. In 2011, the bank began cutting costs that included the elimination of 3,500 jobs; this was forecast to save the bank 3 billion francs annually, by the end of next year. But the bank has actually cut fewer positions than previously announced, and it hasn’t stated its new goal.

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On Thursday, the bank said cost cuts were coming in ahead of schedule, reported the Wall Street Journal, and added that it intends to additionally save 1 billion francs by the 2015.

Credit Suisse Group AG (ADR) (NYSE:CS) Chief Financial Officer David Mathers said in a conference call on Thursday via the Journal, “Clearly such cost savings can’t be done without layoffs, but we aren’t giving a target, because other measures also contribute to reducing costs.”  The bank has saved money by transferring its IT staff to countries with lower costs, such as Poland and India, away from the more expensive ones, including Singapore and Switzerland.

In the third quarter, the bank’s earnings were affected by a $1.05 billion franc write-down from the rising value of the bank’s own debt, reported the Wall Street Journal. Excluding this charge, Credit Suisse’s net profit came in at 891 million francs, while revenue declined 13% from the previous year, to 5.84 billion francs.

The bank’s pretax profit at its investment banking unit was 508 million francs vs. a pretax loss of 720 million francs from the previous year. Revenue rose to 3.3 billion francs from its fixed-income trading, while the bank has left its capital-intensive investment banking activities. Credit Suisse Group AG (ADR) (NYSE:CS), similar to its rival, UBS (NYSE:UBS), is cutting the banks investment-banking activities and slashing assets, employees, and costs.

The bank also reported improved revenues in its unit that includes currencies, but similar to most banks, Credit Suisse Group AG (ADR) (NYSE:CS) doesn’t divide out its revenues specifically from FX. The bank said in a statement that the numbers reflected “solid client flow and favorable trading conditions,” reported Dow Jones.

This news contrasts the big U.S. FX names, which reported declining third-quarter trading revenues, thanks to less market volatility.

Javier Paz, senior analyst at Aite Group LLC, believes Credit Suisse Group AG (ADR) (NYSE:CS)’s earnings were a “blip.” He said, via Dow Jones, “The earnings of European banks will invariably be impacted by the low volatility FX environment through the end of August.”

In October, third-quarter results will come from the world’s largest currency dealers, Deutsche Bank AG (NYSE:DB), UBS AG (NYSE:UBS), and  Barclays PLC (NYSE:BCS). Looking ahead to November, reports will come from HSBC Holdings PLC (NYSE:HBC), BNP Paribas SA (EPA:BNP), Societe Generale SA (PINK:SCGLY), Commerzbank AG (ETR:CBK), and Credit Agricole SA (EPA:ACA).

The numbers might not be good.

Major exchange rates have been trading in tight ranges now for months thanks to the large world central banks, including the U.S. Federal Reserve and European Central Bank, introducing uncommon monetary policies that have capped currency trading, reported Dow Jones.

Earlier this month, Thomas Gibbons, BNY Mellon Corp. (NYSE:BK)’s chief financial officer, said during a conference call, “Volatility is a driver of our profitability, and there really is no volatility in the major currencies.”

His bank’s FX third quarter revenue dropped 23% from the prior quarter; this is off 45% on the year. Also, noting less market volatility was FX bank Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE:GS) and State Street Corp. (NYSE:STT).

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