The Swiss financial regulator Finma is investigating the comments of the chairman of the Credit Suisse Group, Axel Lehmann, that the outflow at the lender has stabilized in early December, according to two people with knowledge of the matter to Reuters.

Finma is trying to determine the extent to which Lehmann and other Credit Suisse representatives were aware that customers were still withdrawing money when he said in media interviews that the outflow had stopped, according to the two individuals, who wished to remain anonymous because the case was not public.

Lehmann told The Financial Times in an online streamed interview on December 1 that the strong outflow in October had “completely smoothed out” and “partially reversed.”

A day later, he told Bloomberg Television that the outflow had “basically stopped.” Credit Suisse shares rose 9.3% on December 2.

The regulator is investigating whether Lehmann’s statements may have been misleading, the persons said, with one person adding that Lehmann may not have been properly informed before making these comments.

A spokesman for Finma did not comment. A spokesman for Credit Suisse said the bank “does not comment on speculation”. Lehmann did not respond to an email asking for comment. Credit Suisse said customers withdrew 110.5 billion Swiss francs ($119.65 billion) from Switzerland’s second-largest bank in the last three months of 2022, when it reported its annual results on February 9.

The outflow reported by the bank exceeded market expectations and rounded off a weak set of results that saw the share fall about 15% on the day.

In response to a question about the distribution of withdrawals over the period, Chief Executive Ulrich Koerner told analysts that day that more than 85% of the last quarter outflows occurred in October and November, according to a transcript of the conversation.

That led Citigroup analysts to conclude in a note to clients that management in fact indicated that 15% of the outflows had occurred in December. Finma’s research makes the challenges for Credit Suisse, which has been plagued by scandals in recent years, even greater. The lender has embarked on a major overhaul to restore profitability by stopping certain investment banking activities and focusing on managing money for the wealthy. In early October, a social media storm following an unsubstantiated report about the bank’s financial health led wealthy clients to suspend their deposits elsewhere. The bank then said it was continuing its restructuring and staying close to its customers.

In response to a Reuters request for comment on the February 9 results, Finma said in a statement that while Credit Suisse’s liquidity buffers had a stabilizing effect, the regulator is “monitoring banks very closely in such situations”, referring to the outflow, which was “indeed significant” in the fourth quarter. She did not go into it further.

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