by Stefania Spezzati and Oliver Hirt

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(Reuters) – Credit Suisse Group AG entered a decisive weekend for its future on Saturday as several rivals began to limit their dealings with Switzerland’s second-best bank, which has been battered on the stock market, while the regulator increases pressure for a merger with its compatriot UBS AG.

Credit Suisse Chief Financial Officer Dixit Joshi and his teams will hold meetings over the weekend to assess strategic scenarios for the bank, sources familiar with the matter said on Friday.

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The 167-year-old establishment is the victim in particular of the turbulence caused on the markets by the fall of the American banks Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank over the past week, which forced it to call on financing from the Swiss central bank to the tune of of $54 billion.

National regulators are encouraging UBS and Credit Suisse to merge but neither bank wants to, a source said, adding that regulators do not have the power to force such a merger.

The boards of UBS and Credit Suisse are due to meet separately this weekend, the Financial Times reported. Following this article, the action of the second Swiss bank jumped 9% Friday after-hours trading.

Credit Suisse and UBS both declined to comment.

In new evidence that difficulties are piling up, at least four major banks, including Societe Generale and Deutsche Bank, have imposed restrictions on transactions involving Credit Suisse or assets linked to the Swiss bank, Reuters has learned from five sources directly informed of the case.

“The intervention of the Swiss central bank was a necessary step to calm the fire, but may not be enough to restore confidence in Credit Suisse, so we are talking about additional measures”, comments Frédérique Carrier, director of strategy at investment at RBC Wealth Management.

Efforts to strengthen the Swiss banking establishment come as many officials, including the European Central Bank and US President Joe Biden, have moved to reassure investors and savers about the reliability of the global banking system, without succeeding for the time to completely dispel the fear of a spread of difficulties.

This week, major U.S. banks provided $30 billion to support smaller First Republic, while the entire U.S. banking industry sought a record $153 billion from the Federal Reserve within days. dollars in emergency cash.

Saturday on France Inter, Philippe Brassac, president of the French Banking Federation, stressed that unlike in the past, there was no longer any mechanism for the propagation of this type of crisis. There is “no risk of a banking crisis in France”, he added.

(Reuters bureaus, Gilles Guillaume for the )

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