The Foreign Banks: Who Are They?

Foreign banks are Swiss banks with a foreign ownership

The foreign banks in Switzerland are Swiss banks! However, they have a majority shareholder domiciled abroad, which often is a bank. All foreign banks in Switzerland are subject to the same laws and supervision as Swiss banks - they are Swiss banks.

The banks with majority shareholder domiciled abroad are of exceptional importance for Switzerland as a financial centre. They are the most important banking group in Switzerland, second only to the two large Swiss banks. They play a particularly important role in cross-border private asset management business. Beyond private banking, various foreign banks in Switzerland hold an internationally leading position in trade financing. Likewise investment funds, capital market and corporate banking are three business areas where foreign banks in Switzerland play a key role. They contribute to the attractiveness of the financial centre since they extend the offer of services and enhance competition.


  • Number of banks: 111
  • Origin: 78 from Europe; 16 from Asia; 10 from USA / Canada; 12 from other regions
  • Headquarters in Switzerland: 52 in Zürich; 36 in Geneva; 11 in Lugano; 12 in other places in Switzerland. Many foreign banks have branches in Switzerland and abroad.

Foreign banks and the Swiss Economy (2015)

  • 42% of all banks
  • 11% gross profit of all banks
  • 17% domestic employees of all banks
  • 17% tax paid by all banks
  • Appr. 1.1% GDP of Switzerland

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