Switzerland’s second largest bank, Zurich-based Credit Suisse, has announced that its profit in the first three months of 2005 rose to the highest level in at least two years.
That was mostly thanks to the group’s private banking division, which manages money for wealthy clients. Credit Suisse reported a 2.6% rise in earnings in the period. They reached 1.24 million euros, compared with 1.2 billion in the first quarter of last year. Profit at the property and casualty unit of Credit Suisse’s Winterthur insurance business rose 21% thanks to a reduction in claims from large losses and administration expenses.
Last December the bank said it plans to sell Winterthur, which it bought in 1997, in a share sale. Credit Suisse is cautious in its outlook and has warned that it expects to see “market activity slow considerably” in the current quarter. But top managers added that they believe the weakness is temporary and they expect market conditions to improve in the second half of the year.