The Swiss banking industry in the midst of profound changes

Bruno Gehrig, Member of the Governing Board

Swiss Banking School, Zurich, 26 September 2000, 26.09.2000

When the Swiss Banking School was founded 15 years ago, the Swiss banking landscape was different from today in many important aspects. In particular, it has undergone a far-reaching concentration process which it only weathered relatively unscathed because there was a great willingness to cooperate within the industry.

Even though consolidation has gone farther in Switzerland than in several other countries, the pressure to adapt is still enormous. Two challenges are at the forefront. On the one hand, refinancing has become ever more difficult and the realisation that the problems are structural leaves no choice but to find new ways to procure funds, especially on the capital market. On the other hand, the advance of e-banking probably constitutes the most far-reaching innovation in the structure of banking in Switzerland. We are not simply dealing with an alternative modern distribution channel, but are looking at a use of technology which will profoundly transform the nature of banking. The ability to deal with rapid changes will be even more crucial than in the past 15 years.