State News

The Latest: NC's LGBT law stalled 1,200 Credit Suisse jobs

Posted May 9

— The Latest on Swiss bank Credit Suisse expanding its North Carolina operations with 1,200 jobs (all times local):

2:30 p.m.

A top executive for Swiss bank Credit Suisse says the company was reconsidering plans to expand its North Carolina operations by 1,200 jobs until the state partially repealed a law limiting the rights of gay and transgender people.

Credit Suisse Vice Chairman Wilson Ervin said Tuesday that the company opposed House Bill 2 because it suggested North Carolina would not provide the inclusivity its employees need.

The bank bank's decision to add the information technology and other jobs in suburban Raleigh instead of near New York City comes five weeks after the state law's partial repeal. Critics object that North Carolina still prevents local protections from discrimination over sexual orientation and gender identity.

Ervin said the changes re-established the minimum conditions for Credit Suisse to expand in North Carolina.

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11:40 a.m.

Swiss bank Credit Suisse is adding 1,200 jobs at its North Carolina technology hub as it reorganizes operations and cuts jobs elsewhere.

A North Carolina state panel has approved up to $40 million in tax breaks to lure the jobs away from the New York City area.

Zurich-based Credit Suisse is sharply reducing its workforce after two years of losses, cutting up to 6,500 jobs this year after slashing its overall headcount by 7,200 last year.

Tuesday's announcement comes five weeks after North Carolina's partial repeal of a state law limiting gay and transgender rights.

Critics called the partial repeal a sham meant to end boycotts, because it still prevents local protections from discrimination over sexual orientation and gender identity, and puts state lawmakers in charge of bathroom policies.

Credit Suisse is adding 1,200 jobs at its technology hub in North Carolina, which approved more than $40 million in tax breaks on Tuesday to lure the jobs away from the New York City area.

The Swiss bank is reorganizing operations and sharply reducing its workforce after two years of losses, cutting up to 6,500 jobs this year after slashing its overall headcount by 7,200 last year.

The announcement comes five weeks after North Carolina partially repealed a state law limiting the rights of gay and transgender people. Passage of House Bill 2 in March 2016 led financial firms Deutsche Bank and PayPal to cancel North Carolina expansion plans.

Critics called the partial repeal a sham meant to end boycotts, because it still prevents local protections from discrimination over sexual orientation and gender identity, and puts state lawmakers in charge of bathroom policies.

But the partial repeal is enough for Credit Suisse, which had been reconsidering its plans for North Carolina because House Bill 2 suggested the state would not provide the inclusivity its employees need, Credit Suisse Vice Chairman Wilson Ervin said.

"We opposed that law. During the period that HB2 was on the books, we had to put our plans on hold. We did not think that expansion could be done in a way that was consistent with our core values," Ervin said at a news conference on the company's North Carolina campus. "While we realize that the recent repeal of HB2 contains some compromises, it is an important first step that re-establishes the minimum conditions for us to expand in the state."

The bank had also considered the jobs announced Tuesday for Jersey City, New Jersey, according to documents provided by the state committee which approves large, discretionary tax breaks. With community college training and local sweeteners, Credit Suisse could get benefits of up to $44 million related to its North Carolina jobs.

The jobs moving from the bank's New York-area site or newly created in North Carolina will include information technology, cyber-security, machine learning, finance, and other corporate functions, and pay an average salary of more than $100,000 a year.

The bank's jobs shift represents North Carolina's largest corporate expansion since MetLife Inc. said in 2013 that it would move 2,600 jobs from other states.

Credit Suisse decided after the 2001 terrorist attacks to move some vital back-office operations away from New York City. The Zurich-based bank now employs about 1,700 people at its operations in the tech-heavy North Carolina metropolitan area that includes the university towns of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill.

The company in 2004 announced it was investing $100 million in a support and information technology center for its investment banking division. The Research Triangle Park location also includes some finance professionals.

But Credit Suisse has seen rocky times in recent years. Chairman Urs Rohner said bank is issuing new shares to raise about 4 billion Swiss francs (US$3.98 billion) to finance the ongoing restructuring.

Credit Suisse lost 2.44 billion Swiss francs (US$2.42 billion) last year, but reported a return to profit in the first quarter of this year at 596 million francs (US$594 million) on the strength of a surge in its wealth management business.

The bank also has U.S. operations in Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles and San Francisco, and employs more than 45,000 in 50 countries focused on banking, investing and finance.

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Dalesio contributed from Raleigh, North Carolina. Follow him at http://twitter.com/emerydalesio ; read his work at https://apnews.com/search/emery%20dalesio

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