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Old 16.03.2015, 14:34
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Re: Credit Suisse, UK, France & Africa: a modern tale

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Why? Cause they got a French name? So their strategy worked: In the 1980s did the large Zurich banks recognize that German was an important European language, but not one the world trades in... so the largest, Schweizerischer Bank Verein, decided to rename itself into Union Bank of Switzerland aka UBS. The equally German speaking Schweizerische Kreditanstalt recognized that any translation to English would be a bit much copying, so went with French instead. There is absolutely nothing Francophone about Credit Suisse... (insider tourist tip: the iron bars on the ground floor windows of the Paradeplatz building have still "SKA" signs in them)
I wasn't thinking because of the French name, but because it's a Swiss bank and one-fifth of the Swiss population is French-speaking. Even if the language of business conducted in the Zurich offices of Credit Suisse is mostly German or English, it shouldn't be that unusual for Swiss francophones to work there, so why not an Ivoiran francophone?

Incidentally, Credit Suisse was founded in the nineteenth century by Alfred von Escher, the Swiss railroad tycoon who made Zurich Switzerland's most important city and financial capital. I suspect the French name was not chosen in deference to French-speakers in the Romande but rather the importance of French as a lingua franca in continental Europe outside Switzerland. But I will leave it to Wolli to give us better information about both Escher and CS.

P.S. As Wolli pointed out in an earlier post, the original name for Credit Suisse was German---Schweizerische Kreditanstalt---and it changed to French later, possibly for the reasons I speculated on, and von Escher may have had nothing to do with it. I should point out that the original raison d'Ítre for Credit Suisse wasn't to provide sound banking that non-Swiss would love to put their money into. That came later. Von Escher had to borrow money from French banks to get his railroads built because there wasn't any Swiss financial institutions at the time to do the same. He thought---and rightfully so---that it would be dangerous if Swiss businessmen like himself were forced to rely on non-Swiss sources for capital, particularly when those sources might have strings attached. So CS was founded to provide banking for Swiss citizens, and services to outsiders was icing on the cake.

Last edited by eddiejc1; 16.03.2015 at 17:10.
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