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The Motley Fool

Why Is Credit Suisse Plunging on Wednesday?

By Matthew Frankel, CFP®,

2023-03-15

What happened

The financial sector has been under pressure for the past week or so, fueled by the collapse of SVB Financial 's Silicon Valley Bank. And leading the way on Wednesday is Credit Suisse (NYSE: CS) , with shares down by 24% as of 9:50 a.m. ET and the stock reaching a fresh 52-week low.

So what

Credit Suisse has been struggling in recent years, and it has a massive strategic restructuring underway. As part of that, the bank raised $4.2 billion in capital in 2022, with the Saudi National Bank acquiring a 9.9% stake, becoming Credit Suisse's largest investor.

On Wednesday, in the midst of tremendous uncertainty and investor anxiety in the banking industry, the Saudi National Bank said that it cannot provide the bank with any further financial assistance. Without getting too technical, it's generally not desirable from a regulatory standpoint for any single investor to own more than 10% of a bank's stock .

This comes on the heels of the bank's Tuesday announcement that it found "material weaknesses" in its 2021 and 2022 financial reporting processes. Plus, the bank reported elevated levels of withdrawals in the fourth quarter, and investors simply don't seem convinced Credit Suisse isn't going to need to raise more capital.

Now what

Credit Suisse CEO Ulrich Körner said in a Wednesday interview that the bank's liquidity is very strong and that the firm exceeds all regulatory requirements. However, it's not difficult to see why this news is scaring investors. Credit Suisse is now trading for roughly 75% below its 52-week high, but it's tough to know if the stock is a viable long-term investment with so many ongoing issues.

SVB Financial provides credit and banking services to The Motley Fool. Matthew Frankel, CFP® has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends SVB Financial. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy .

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