European Banks See 'Strong' Start to 2009

Switzerland's Credit Suisse and Germany's Deutsche Bank say they have positioned themselves to weather difficult economic conditions.
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Updated from 6:58 a.m. EDT

Credit Suisse

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, the second-largest bank in Switzerland, said it has had a strong start to 2009, adding it has positioned its businesses "to be less susceptible to negative market trends if they persist in the coming months and to prosper when markets recover."

The bank released the statement Tuesday as part its 2008 annual report.

Credit Suisse joins other major global banks, such as


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Bank of America

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, in announcing that 2009 has started off well.

The bank reported a full-year 2008 loss of 8.2 billion francs compared with net income of 7.7 billion francs in 2007, after recording large writedowns in the fourth quarter for leveraged finance and structured products.

Credit Suisse said it would ask shareholders at its annual meeting next month to let it raise capital if necessary. The bank so far hasn't required assistance from the Swiss government during the global financial crisis.

Meanwhile, Germany's

Deutsche Bank

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said it too is "correctly positioned to weather these difficult conditions" and doesn't see a need to raise capital from external souces.

"We remain firmly convinced that Deutsche Bank's identity -- a leading global investment bank with a strong private clients franchise -- positions us well to emerge stronger from this crisis. We have made a good start to 2009," said Josef Ackermann, chairman of the management board.

Deutsche Bank also said Tuesday it sharply reduced compensation for its supervisory board and chief executive because of its 2008 loss and continuing challenges.

The Frankfurt-based bank, Germany's largest lender, said in its annual report that compensation to its supervisory board fell 86% to 4.48 million euros ($6.1 million) from 33.18 million euros in 2007.

Total compensation for the company's CEO, Josef Ackermann, fell 90% to 1.4 million euros from 14 million euros in 2007.

Ackermann said the bank is expected to return to profitability in 2009 if the global economy, financial markets, legal and regulatory environment, and competitive environment develop as foreseen.

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