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UBS Takes Over Credit Suisse

UBS Group has taken over Credit Suisse’s $10 billion shipping portfolio as part of its emergency takeover on Sunday.

Credit Suisse is the world’s 10th largest shipping bank, while UBS is largely not involved in ship financing. That is spreading concerns that UBS will limit or cut shipping loans going forward.

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Asked whether UBS would keep or sell the shipping portfolio, a spokeswoman for the bank said that it was too early to say. “We are at the beginning of a comprehensive integration planning process to help finalize the specifics of the future organization,” she said.

Credit Suisse has been the top financier for Greek shipowners over many years with around $5.2 billion in total loans, according to Athens-based Petrofin Research.

Greek shipping families have held bank accounts with Credit Suisse’s wealth management unit for decades. One such owner, who has about 30 tankers, said those accounts are seen as collateral for loans. Nine owners told the Journal they expect UBS to keep the shipping portfolio and the staff that runs it.

“Above all, it’s the personal relationship with the banker that counts,” the owner said. “You pick up the phone and, in most cases, your financing would get approved within days.”