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Banking in the Age of Economic Nonsense

herbert scheidt, präsident der schweizerischen bankiervereinigung und verwaltungsratspräsident der bank vontobel, in den räumlichkeiten des vontobel-hauptsitzes in zürich
Herbert Scheidt, the new president of the Swiss bankers' association, insists the industry must continue to change in order to regain consumer confidence.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Switzerland’s banks have been under sustained international pressure to crack down on bank secrecy since the financial crisis. That and low interest rates have left them unable to earn cash.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • The alpine country has had to change its culture of banking secrecy as tax authorities and taxpayers around the world have called for action to clamp down on tax evasion.
    • The banking industry in Switzerland, as elsewhere in the world, is struggling to make profits during a time of record low interest rates.
    • Brexit could impact Switzerland’s export-oriented financial services sector.
  • Audio

    Audio

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On a beautiful late summer morning in Zürich, the new president of the Swiss Bankers’ Association was in a good mood as he looked out of his office across to the majestic mountains on the other side of Lake Zürich. And there is reason for Mr. Scheidt to be cheerful.

Elected unanimously to one of the most powerful jobs in the Swiss banking industry just two weeks ago, Mr. Scheidt’s appointment marks the first time the position has been filled by a German-born candidate, though for the last eight years the 64-year old has held joint Swiss as well as German nationality.

If only the same cheerfulness could be said for the troubled Swiss banks that he now represents. The country’s banking sector has had to transform itself from a model based on bank secrecy, not to mention being saddled with the “economic nonsense” of negative interest rates, he said.

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