Credit Suisse Group posted its first fourth-quarter net loss since 2008, as Switzerland's second-biggest bank continued its drive to reduce its exposure to potentially-risky investment banking at a time when Europe's economy is facing problems related to a raging debt crisis.
The bank said its net loss in the fourth quarter amounted to 637 million Swiss francs ($698 million), way down on analysts' expectations for a more modest loss of 431 million francs. In the equivalent period in 2010, Credit Suisse posted a 841 million francs profit.
Credit Suisse's share price took a hit despite a bigger than anticipated increase in the dividend to 0.75 franc a share. The company's shares price closed 3.49 percent lower at 24.35 francs ($26.66) on the Zurich exchange.
Brady W. Dougan, chief executive officer of a bank that has some 50,000 staff around the world and manages more than $1 trillion in assets, blamed the loss on tough market conditions and aggressive cuts in costs and risks, including the need to meet new requirements that it hold more capital.
"Our performance for the fourth quarter 2011 was disappointing," Dougan said. "It reflects both the adverse market conditions during the period and the impact of the measures we have taken to swiftly adapt our business to the evolving market and regulatory requirements."
Dougan said an acceleration in its restructuring program cost the bank 981 million francs in the last quarter.