Credit Suisse posts Q3 profit more than double from year ago

GENEVA – Credit Suisse’s profits more than doubled in the third quarter as Switzerland’s second-largest bank benefited from cost cutting, brisk business in emerging markets and the services it provides for wealthy clients.

Net profit rose to 1.025 billion Swiss francs ($1.07 billion) in the July-September period from 454 million francs a year earlier, the bank said Thursday.

“We delivered a good performance,” said CEO Brady Dougan of both the investment banking and wealth management divisions.

Dougan said wealth management profits were aided by the cost cutting, but margins remain subdued and revenue was hurt by low interest rates. The investment banking, he said, showed “robust client activity across many of our businesses,” particularly with fixed income trading and equity underwriting.

The results are a significant improvement from the second quarter, when it booked a net loss of 700 million francs after paying the largest penalty ever imposed in a U.S. criminal tax case.

The Zurich-based bank pleaded guilty in May to aiding U.S. tax evaders and agreed to pay about $2.6 billion to the U.S. government and regulators. That allowed it to put to rest the U.S. government’s case against it for helping wealthy Americans avoid paying taxes through secret offshore accounts.

Credit Suisse’s balance sheet showed it had added 400 employees since the last quarter. But compared with a year ago, when it had 46,400 worldwide staff, the bank reported keeping 45,500 people employed. It has trimmed costs by 3.6 billion francs out of a total 4.5 billion francs in targeted cost reductions that it said it is “on track” to deliver by the end of next year.

Shares of Credit Suisse were trading slightly higher, up 0.4 per cent at 25.15 francs, Thursday morning on the Zurich exchange.