UBS chief executive Sergio Ermotti has given the clearest indication yet that his bank intends to keep hold of Credit Suisse’s domestic business in spite of fierce opposition within the country.

Speaking at a company-wide meeting this week, Ermotti told Credit Suisse staff that retaining the Swiss bank and merging it with UBS’s domestic business was still the “base case scenario”, according to people who were present.

He added: “I don’t think that there is any meaningful value creation [from a spin-off] for clients because the combined organisation can already address all of their needs.”

The fate of Credit Suisse’s domestic business has emerged as one of the most contentious elements of UBS’s takeover of its stricken rival, which was finalised this week.

The shotgun marriage between the banks has attracted criticism within Switzerland. A poll published shortly after the deal showed that three-quarters of voters wanted the mega bank to be split up.

A month later, Swiss parliamentarians voted against the government’s SFr109bn financial package that underpins the deal in a symbolic protest.

A potential merger between the domestic businesses of UBS and Credit Suisse has become a thorny issue ahead of Swiss national elections in October, with politicians warning about the potential for branch closures and job cuts.

A combined UBS-Credit Suisse Swiss business would account for 29 per cent of domestic deposits — the same proportion as the total for the 24 government-owned cantonal banks. It would also hold 31 per cent of corporate loans, just behind the 34 per cent for the cantonal banks.

When it comes to mortgages, UBS-Credit Suisse would account for 26 per cent of household and 20 per cent of corporate domestic loans, compared to 38 per cent and 49 per cent, respectively, for the cantonal banks.

Because of the complexity of the Credit Suisse takeover, UBS has pushed back its second-quarter results from July 25 to August 31, when it is expected to announce its final decision over the future of the Swiss business.

During the company town hall on Thursday, Ermotti was asked why the decision on Credit Suisse’s domestic bank was taking so long.

He said that the three main considerations for deciding on whether to split off the business were if doing so would benefit customers, create value for UBS shareholders or save jobs.

He added that UBS had no intention of running both banks as separate brands under the same corporate umbrella. “That’s not even imaginable, let’s be very clear,” he said.

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