FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
- ‘Everything is fine’ at Credit Suisse, according to Saudi National Bank chairman Ammar Al Khudairy.
- There’s been no discussions about the Swiss bank needing more capital or assistance, he said.
- Saudi National Bank insisted that raising its stake above 10% is a red line for regulatory reasons.
‘Everything is fine’ at Credit Suisse and the recent volatility in its stock reflects a bit of market panic that’s ‘completely unwarranted,’ said the chairman of its biggest backer Saudi National Bank.
“Markets are skittish and they’re looking for stories or things that validate concern,” said Saudi National Bank Chairman Ammar Al Khudairy in a Thursday interview with CNBC. “It’s panic, a little bit of panic, I believe completely unwarranted, whether it be for Credit Suisse or for the entire market.”
“They’re very well capitalized. I think if you look at what even the Swiss central bank said yesterday, is that we’ve looked at all the ratios, they’re all sound, everything is fine. I don’t think they’ll need more capital,” Al Khudairy said.
Credit Suisse shares plunged to a record low on Switzerland’s stock exchange Wednesday after its Saudi backers ruled out investing any more into the bank. Investor concerns eased after the Swiss central bank stepped in later and extended a $54 billion loan to the lender. The shares were up about 20% in Zurich at last check on Thursday.
But Al Khudairy has insisted that raising Saudi National Bank’s stake above 10% is a red line primarily because of regulatory reasons. “We articulated very clearly that we would not go beyond 9.9% even if we desire to, there are too many complications from a regulatory and compliance point of view globally to do that,” he said.
Khudairy added that there has been no discussion about the Swiss bank needing more capital or requiring assistance. “The red line we have is 9.9%. We will not go above that. To our knowledge, they are not looking for capital.”
“That was a manifestation of unfortunate reporting or chatter in the system that we had refused assistance, but we were never asked and to my knowledge there has not been any assistance sought,” he said.
The Saudi bank took up a 9.9% stake last year as part of the Swiss banking giant’s capital raising program.
“There has been no discussion with Credit Suisse about providing assistance. I don’t know where the word assistance came from. There has been no discussions whatsoever since October about Credit Suisse needing more capital or requiring assistance,” Al Khudairy said.
The Swiss banking giant has been beset by problems since October, when concerns over its financial health fanned fears of another Lehman Brothers-style moment.