UBS will take over Credit Suisse in a deal aimed at stemming what was fast becoming a global crisis of confidence.
Credit Suisse, the 167-year-old embattled lender had been brought to the brink of financial calamity last week, despite securing a $54bn (£44bn) credit line from Switzerland’s central bank.
The credit line was agreed in a move aimed at reassuring markets and depositors, but it failed to stem a rush of customer withdrawal, prompting a request from the Swiss government for the rival UBS to consider a takeover.
The value of the takeover is not clear, although a report in the Financial Times put it at more than $2bn.
The deal also includes 100bn Swiss francs in liquidity assistance for both banks.
In a statement, the Swiss central bank and other officials said that the agreement represented “a solution…to secure financial stability and protect the Swiss economy in this exceptional situation”.
It is also hoped that UBS’s takeover of its old rival will avoid the contagion of the kind seen in the financial crisis of 2008.
Credit Suisse is one of the world’s largest wealth managers and is also one of 30 banks ranked as systemically important, meaning the deal is likely to ripple through global markets on Monday.
It is also one of the largest investment banking employers in the City of London, employing around 5,000 people.
It comes after a difficult few weeks for the banking sector, with the collapse of US lenders Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank.
The UK branch of SVB was rescued by HSBC for £1, but a number of other mid-sized American lenders have also been forced to seek emergency funding.