Updated May. 10, 2017 at 6:54 a.m.

Credit Suisse gets $40m in tax breaks, adds 1,200 jobs in NC

Published: 2017-05-09 12:26:00
Updated: 2017-05-10 06:54:22


Credit Suisse is adding 1,200 jobs at its technology hub in North Carolina, which approved more than $40 million in tax breaks on Tuesday to lure the jobs away from the New York City area.

The financial services giant is reorganizing operations and sharply reducing its workforce after two years of losses, cutting up to 6,500 jobs this year after slashing its overall headcount by 7,200 last year.

The announcement comes five weeks after North Carolina lawmakers repealed House Bill 2, a controversial state law that limited the rights of gay and transgender people. Passage of the law in March 2016 led financial firms Deutsche Bank and PayPal to cancel North Carolina expansion plans.

"The HB2 legislation was a major challenge for our decision process," Credit Suisse Vice Chairman Wilson Ervin said at a Tuesday news conference to announce the expansion. "We didn't think an expansion could be done in a way consistent with our core values."

LGBT advocates have called the repeal effort a sham meant to end economic boycotts of North Carolina, noting replacement legislation still prevents local protections from discrimination over sexual orientation and gender identity and leaves state lawmakers in charge of public bathroom access policies.

"While we realize that the recent repeal does contain some compromises, it is an important first step that re-establishes the minimum conditions for us to expand in this state," Ervin said, adding that company officials will work for "continued advances" in diversity and inclusion in the state.

Gov. Roy Cooper said the new jobs will create more than $100 million in salary in the state as well as add a $70.5 million investment in a new building.

"This is one of the 10 largest job announcements in North Carolina in the past decade," Cooper said. "They had anywhere in the world they could expand, and they chose Research Triangle Park."

Credit Suisse had also considered the jobs announced Tuesday for Jersey City, N.J., according to documents provided by the state committee that approves large, discretionary tax breaks. With community college training and local sweeteners, Credit Suisse could get benefits of up to $44 million related to its North Carolina jobs.

The bank's jobs shift represents North Carolina's largest corporate expansion since MetLife Inc. said in 2013 that it would move 2,600 jobs from other states.

Credit Suisse decided after the 2001 terrorist attacks to move some vital back-office operations away from New York City. The Zurich, Switzerland-based bank now employs about 1,700 people at its operations in the Triangle, and officials said the Triangle will serve as a second U.S. hub and the primary support center for the company.

The company in 2004 announced it was investing $100 million in a support and information technology center for its investment banking division. The RTP location, which also includes some finance professionals, will provide data analytics and cybersecurity functions, in addition to operations, risk management, compliance and audit services.

Credit Suisse has seen rocky times in recent years. Chairman Urs Rohner said bank is issuing new shares to raise about 4 billion Swiss francs (US$3.98 billion) to finance the ongoing restructuring.

The company lost 2.44 billion Swiss francs (US$2.42 billion) last year, but reported a return to profit in the first quarter of this year at 596 million francs (US$594 million) on the strength of a surge in its wealth management business.

The bank also has U.S. operations in Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles and San Francisco, and employs more than 45,000 in 50 countries focused on banking, investing and finance.

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