October 18, 2019 / 7:18 AM / a month ago

Credit Suisse to start charging wealthy clients for cash deposits

ZURICH (Reuters) - Credit Suisse (CSGN.S) will start charging wealthy clients with large cash deposits in Swiss francs, the latest Swiss bank to pass on negative interest rates to customers.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Swiss bank Credit Suisse is seen at its headquarters at the Paradeplatz square in Zurich, Switzerland October 1, 2019. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo

Individual and business customers will be charged a rate of -0.75% on cash balances above 2 million Swiss francs ($2.02 million), Switzerland’s second biggest lender said. Balances of less than 2 million francs will be unaffected.

A rate of -0.85% will be imposed on business customers with balances above 10 million francs.

The new rules take effect from Jan. 1 for individual customers and Nov. 15 for business customers.

Credit Suisse’s cross-town rival UBS (UBSG.S) in July said it would charge a -0.75% rate on deposits above 2 million francs, while Postfinance charges fees to private customers with balances above 500,000 francs.

Several banks in Switzerland, including private bank Julius Baer (BAER.S), and the eurozone also pass on the cost of negative official rates to corporate depositors, though most large players have refrained from doing so with individual clients.

“As other banks have been doing for some time, Credit Suisse is introducing negative interest rates for clients with very high Swiss franc cash holdings,” Credit Suisse said on Friday.

“The reason for this is the persistent negative interest rate environment.”

The Swiss National Bank (SNB) has charged a negative rate of -0.75% since January 2015 on deposits parked with the central bank by commercial banks overnight, one of the tools the SNB uses to deter investor appetite for the Swiss franc.

Many economists expect the SNB to take the interest rate lower next year to prevent further strengthening of the safe-haven currency, which could damage Switzerland’s export-reliant economy.

Reporting by John Revill and Oliver Hirt; Editing by David Goodman]

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