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Credit Suisse clients are returning, CEO of bank’s Swiss business says

ZURICH, Dec 21 (Reuters) – Credit Suisse’s client withdrawals have stabilised and reversed in some cases, Andre Helfenstein, the head of Credit Suisse’s Swiss business said in an interview with local newspaper NZZ.

Last month, Switzerland’s second-largest bank said it expected to make a pre-tax loss of up to 1.5 billion Swiss francs ($1.62 billion) during Q4 and revealed that wealthy clients had made hefty withdrawals.

Credit Suisse is battling to recover from a string of scandals by focusing more on its flagship wealth management franchise and pruning back investment banking.

“In Switzerland, the situation has stabilised. We are in discussions with customers, and some have already returned their money,” Helfenstein said.

Helfenstein was asked in the NZZ interview if the bank had had to offer clients special conditions to keep them.

“Only … in the middle and upper customer segments and only in a targeted manner,” he said.

Helfenstein also said in the interview that the bank’s turbulent year had had an affect on employee morale, but he did not see the bank as having a fundamental problem with employee departures in Switzerland.

“Our (staff) fluctuation rate is usually between 8 and 8.5 percent. At present, it is only marginally higher,” he said.

Credit Suisse chairman Axel Lehmann has said that client fund outflows at Credit Suisse had partially reversed and very few clients had left entirely.

($1 = 0.9251 Swiss francs)

Reporting by Noele Illien. Editing by Jane Merriman

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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