Overview of Banks in Switzerland
The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority, more commonly known as FINMA, regulates banks in Switzerland. UBS and Credit Suisse are the two largest banks in Switzerland, accounting for more than 50% of total deposits in the country. The Swiss banking system comprises of:
- Big banks
- Foreign banks
- Raiffeisen Group – Cooperative banks
- Private banks
- Cantonal Banks – Government-owned commercial banks that account for around 30% of the banks in Switzerland
According to Moody’s, Switzerland’s banking system is stable due to strong operating conditions despite the challenges of low interest rates and housing price inflation faced by the economy.
For anyone considering a career in banking in Switzerland, this list of the top banks in Switzerland is a helpful guide on where to start. To learn more, see our lists of financial institutions.
The top banks in Switzerland are:
UBS came into existence in 1998 after the merger between Union Bank of Switzerland, founded in 1862, and Swiss Bank Corporation, established in 1872. It is the largest of the banks in Switzerland, with seven main offices around the world.
Headquartered in Zurich, the bank provides wealth management, asset management, and investment banking services.
In 2016, UBS reported a total income of US$30 billion and total assets of US$978 billion.
Founded in 1856, Credit Suisse is one of the leading banks in Switzerland and is headquartered in Zurich. The bank’s four divisions include:
- Investment Banking
- Private Banking
- Asset Management
- A Shared Services Group that provides marketing and support to the other three divisions
With a presence in 50 countries, Credit Suisse employs around 48,200 staff. The bank serves clients through three regionally focused divisions: Swiss Universal Bank, International Wealth Management, and Asia-Pacific.
As of 2016, the bank’s total income was US$2.53 billion and total assets were US$858 billion.
Swiss Raiffeisen is a cooperative bank in Switzerland. It is the country’s third biggest bank with 3.7 million customers, of which 1.9 million are cooperative members or co-owners of the bank. It consists of 292 cooperatively structured Raiffeisen banks and operates 1,004 branches throughout Switzerland.
The bank currently employs 11,759 individuals. As of 2016, its total assets amounted to US$229 billion.
Zurich Cantonal Bank
Founded in 1870, the bank is the largest of the cantonal banks in Switzerland. Headquartered in Zurich, it provides savings accounts, central mortgage institution loans, investment management services, and professional financing advisory services to Swiss and German customers.
Zurich Cantonal Bank also offers international payments, letters of credit, documentary collection services, export finance, and bank guarantees. It operates through a network of approximately 81 branches and 348 ATMs throughout the country.
In 2016, the bank posted a net income of US$60 billion and reported total assets of US$165.2 billion.
Founded in 1890, Julius Baer is a private banking group and is present in 20 countries. Headquartered in Zurich, the bank employs 6,205 staff. It provides various structured products and services such as discretionary mandate, investment advisory, Lombard financing, real estate financing, and wealth planning. It also engages in securities, foreign exchange, precious metals trading, and advisory services. It also runs an open products and services platform.
Banque cantonale de Genève (BCGE)
As the name suggests, BCGE is a cantonal bank founded in 1861. The current form of the bank came into existence in 1994. Focusing on small and medium-sized businesses, it provides mortgages, personal loans, savings accounts, wealth and asset management services, institutional real estate financing, advisory services, global commodity finance, and public authorities financing and management.
It employs 791 staff and as of 2016, the bank’s total income amounted to US$365.98 million and total assets reached US$22.37 billion.
Founded in 1924, Vontobel offers wealth management and asset management services, in addition to investment banking. The bank currently employs 1,700 individuals.
Headquartered in Zurich, it operates in 21 locations worldwide. As of 2016, the total income of the bank was US$1,130.5 million and total assets were US$20,281 million.
Migros Bank AG
Founded in 1958, Migros Bank is a subsidiary of Migros-Genossenschafts-Bund. The bank provides accounts, mortgages, credit and investment services, financial services, cards, and e-banking services.
It currently employs around 1,327 individuals and manages 67 branches in Switzerland alone. In 2016, the bank reported a total income of US$865 million and total assets of US$44,674 million.
Bank J. Safra Sarasin
Established in 1841, Bank J. Safra Sarasin is a subsidiary of Brazilian Safra Group. The bank provides investment advisory and asset management services to private and institutional clients. It came into its present state in 2013, when the Safra Group acquired Bank Sarasin & Co. Ltd and merged it with its Bank Jacob Safra Switzerland subsidiary.
Headquartered in Basel, it currently employs around 1,841 staff. It manages offices in several locations worldwide, such as Bern, Geneva, Lugano, Lucerne, Zurich, Doha, Dubai, Dublin, Frankfurt, Gibraltar, Guernsey, Hamburg, Hanover, Hong Kong, London, Luxembourg, Monaco, Munich, Nassau, Panama, Poznan, Singapore, Stuttgart, and Warsaw.
Founded in 1995, EFG International is a subsidiary of EFG Bank European Financial Group. The bank offers private banking and asset management services and operates in 40 locations worldwide. Headquartered in Zurich, it currently employs 3,750 staff.
It operates through three main business segments:
- Private Banking and Wealth Management
- Asset Management
- Investment and Wealth Solutions
EFG International’s Private Banking and Wealth Management segment is managed on a regional basis and is split into Continental Europe, Switzerland, the Americas, the United Kingdom, and Asia. As of 2016, the bank’s total income amounted to US$755.07 million and total assets reached US$44,257 million.
Careers in investment banking
To break into investment banking, there are several important things to focus on. These include networking, resume, experience, and financial modeling skills. To learn more, explore our interactive career map….
For banking careers, you will have a significant edge over the competition with our financial modeling courses.
This has been CFI’s guide to the top banks in Switzerland. For anyone looking for a career in banking, this list is a great place to start your networking. Please also see these additional resources: