In 2019, the banks’ consolidated profit was up 1.1% compared to 2018, to CHF 66.1 billion. Gross profit from banking activities increased by CHF 1.0 billion, or 4.5%, to CHF 23.2 billion. Assets under management increased by 13.8% to CHF 7,893.4 billion. Banks are an important pillar of the Switzerland economy and, in the current crisis period, they have been able to demonstrate their efficiency. “In recent months, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen how important the supply of loans by banks is for our economic place”, recalls August Benz, Vice-CEO of the Swiss Association bankers (ASB) and Head of Private Banking & Asset Management. the ASB Banking Barometer provides a synthetic overview of key figures and main developments in the Swiss banking center. Check this news and more on Kenleaks Magazine.
Increasingly efficient banks
At the end of 2019, there were 246 banks in Switzerland, two less than the previous year. Gross profit from banking activity increased by CHF 1.0 billion over the year to CHF 23.2 billion. Total balance sheets rose 2.9% to CHF 3,317.6 billion. Credit operations remained a driving force for the Swiss economy in 2019. Growth in the domestic mortgage loan portfolio slowed slightly to 3.2%, from 3.6% in 2018. Assets under management increased by 13.8% to CHF 7,893.4 billion, thanks in particular to the favorable development of the equity markets. In the area of cross-border wealth management for private clients, Switzerland is the world leader with a market share of around 25%.
Nearly 90,000 employees in banking establishments
At the end of 2019, banks in Switzerland employed 89,531 people (in full-time equivalents, on national territory), i.e. 1.2% less than at the end of 2018. This slight decline is explained in particular by the progress of the digitization as well as by outsourcing to companies not taken into account in banking statistics. In the first half of 2020, however, according to the annual survey of the ASB, the workforce showed a small rebound in banks in Switzerland. Around three quarters of the establishments surveyed anticipate an unchanged employment situation in the second half of 2020.
While the Banking Barometer 2020 closely examines Wealth Management and Investment Management, it also devotes a special chapter to Corporate Banking. Operations with corporate customers, in particular, have been the focus of public attention since the coronavirus crisis erupted. At the end of July 2020, the volume of loans granted under the SME credit program totaled CHF 16.8 billion. Corporate Banking has thus established itself as a supporting pillar on which companies can count.
In 2019, private assets under management in banks in Switzerland totaled around CHF 3,700 billion, of which CHF 2,300 billion came from cross-border activities. In the context of growing uncertainty linked to geopolitical and economic conflicts, but also to the COVID-19 pandemic, the offers of banks in Switzerland remain attractive, including for foreign customers.
Competitiveness in the sights
Banks in Switzerland face many challenges. To ensure the competitiveness of the financial center, they need reliable framework conditions: “it is important for the future that Switzerland has access to the EU market, a pragmatic economic policy in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic as well as close-to-market solutions in the field of sustainable investments, ”says Martin Hess, chief economist at ASB.
About the Banking Barometer
Published every year, the ASB Banking Barometer provides a synthetic overview of key figures and main developments in the Swiss banking center. It is based on statistics from the Swiss National Bank (SNB) as well as on the results of surveys carried out among member institutions. It will be presented to the public today at 10:30 am in Zurich. You will find this press release, the Banking Barometer 2020, the presentation of August Benz, Martin Hess and Thomas Rühl as well as various “facts and figures” on our website at
As the umbrella association of the banking sector, the Swiss Bankers Association (ASB) is the voice of banks. It works in favor of optimal framework conditions for the Swiss financial center, both nationally and internationally. It defends the interests of the banking sector vis-à-vis economic and political decision-makers, the government and supervisory authorities. It advocates the opening of markets, freedom of enterprise and fair conditions of competition. It is also a center of competence, rich in specialized knowledge in banking matters, which positions itself resolutely on relevant issues for the future. Founded in Basel in 1912, the ASB today has around 250 member institutions and some 12,000 individual members.
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