Credit Suisse Group AG is a Swiss multinational investment bank and financial services company founded and based in Switzerland. Headquartered in Zürich, it maintains offices in all major financial centers around the world. As the second largest bank in Switzerland, it is considered a "Bulge Bracket" bank providing services in investment banking, private banking, asset management, and shared services. Credit Suisse is known for its strict bank–client confidentiality and banking secrecy practices.
Credit Suisse was founded in 1856 to fund the development of Switzerland's rail system. It issued loans that helped create Switzerland's electrical grid and the European rail system. In the 1900s, it began shifting to retail banking in response to the elevation of the middle class and competition from fellow Swiss banks UBS and Julius Bär. Credit Suisse partnered with First Boston in 1978. After a large failed loan put First Boston under financial stress, Credit Suisse bought a controlling share of the bank in 1988. From 1990 to 2000, the company made a series of acquisitions dramatically increasing their market share via the purchases of Winterthur Group, Swiss Volksbank, Swiss American Securities Inc. and Bank Leu, among others.
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