GENEVA Swiss newspapers expect the country's top two banks, UBS AG UBSN.VX and Credit Suisse Group AG CSGN.VX to announce record losses for 2008 this week and predict UBS will unveil thousands of job cuts.
Losses at the biggest bank and world's largest wealth manager, UBS, will range from 20 billion to 21 billion Swiss francs ($17-18 billion), including, according to NZZ am Sonntag, a 9 billion franc loss in the fourth quarter.
In an unsourced report, the paper also forecast Credit Suisse's annual loss will range from 5 billion to 8 billion francs, with NZZ forecasting a fourth quarter loss of 6 billion francs.
A UBS spokeswoman and Credit Suisse spokesman declined to comment. UBS announces its annual results on February 10 and Credit Suisse on February 11.
A Reuters poll forecasts annual losses of 17.2 billion and 5.9 billion francs at UBS (UBS.N) and Credit Suisse, and fourth-quarter losses of 5.9 billion and 3.7 billion respectively.
UBS will also announce further cuts of 5,000-8,000 jobs, Sonntag said, while citing Credit Suisse spokesman Andres Luther saying Credit Suisse will not announce any reductions. NZZ put the likely UBS job cuts at 2,000-3,000.
The papers also forecast big reductions in the banks' wage bills as bonuses are cut back.
"Nuclear meltdown in banker's pay," said Sonntags-Zeitung in a headline.
NZZ forecast UBS would cut its wage bill by 8 billion francs.
The papers also reported that the losses and the handling of the crisis were putting pressure on senior figures at the banks.
NZZ said UBS deputy chairman Sergio Marchionne, who is also chief executive of Italian auto group Fiat SpA FIA.MI, was questioning the ability of Chief Executive Marcel Rohner to lead the bank through the crisis.
And both NZZ and Sonntag said there was pressure on Walter Kielholz to give up one of his two positions as chairman of Credit Suisse and vice chairman of Schweizerische Rueckversicherungs-Gesellschaft AG (Swiss Re) RUKN.VX following news the world's second biggest reinsurer had written down 6 billion francs and made an annual loss of 1 billion.
A Swiss Re spokeswoman declined to comment.
(Reporting by Jonathan Lynn; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)