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New York State Banking Board Approves Application Which Furthers Merger Plan Of Two Swiss Banks

June 4, 1998

The existing New York branches of Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS) and Swiss Bank Corporation (SBC) will be allowed to become branches of UBS AG following the New York State Banking Board's decision today to approve the branch application made by UBS AG.

UBS AG, with headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland, is the new entity established by the proposed merger of UBS and SBC. In a related action, Acting Superintendent of Banks Elizabeth McCaul approved an application for UBS AG to maintain a representative office currently operated by UBS.

"I am proud of the important role this Department played in establishing the proper regulatory environment that has led to such a marked change in the ability to find claimants' assets, "stated Acting Superintendent of Banks McCaul.

"The objections of the New York State Banking Department to the merger of UBS and SBC were made with a rock solid regulatory foundation. Our investigations into the Holocaust-era claims showed that there is substantial evidence of records of accounts of individuals that were not made available to their rightful owners. There is no more basic tenet of banking regulation than the protection of individual deposits. The second major tenet is trust between bank management and the regulator," Acting Superintendent McCaul continued. "At this point, there has been progress made into recovery of records and settlement of claims. Just as importantly, there has been a re-establishment of the trust between the management of UBS and SBC and the New York State Banking Department, especially with Marcel Ospel (President, SBC) and Mathis Cabiallavetta (President, UBS) in Switzerland and Simon Canning (President and CEO, SBC Warburg, Inc.) and Richard Capone (Chief Operating Officer-North American Region, UBS) in New York. The Department will continue its vigilance with the cooperation of these individuals to ensure that the rightful owners of accounts, who for more than 50 years have been denied justice, finally reach resolution."

The Banking Department's Consent Order against Swiss Bank Corporation in December 1997 and against Union Bank of Switzerland in April 1998 required, among other things, that both institutions establish a more effective management structure to handle the investigation and processing of Holocaust-era claims. Acting Superintendent McCaul's March 19, 1998 letter to Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan outlined her concerns about UBS's and SBC's progress in this area and recommended disapproval of the merger, unless improvements to the process could be demonstrated. Now that the Banking Board has acted, Acting Superintendent McCaul intends to send another letter to Chairman Greenspan today withdrawing her objections to the merger.

"With Governor Pataki's support, the New York State Banking Department's Holocaust Claims Processing Office (HCPO) has received more than 3,000 inquiries since opening its doors late last year," Acting Superintendent McCaul added. "With the full support of the Union Bank of Switzerland and Swiss Bank Corporation, we will be able to improve our efforts to return assets to their rightful owners, whether they be Holocaust survivors or their heirs."

Should the Federal Reserve Board also approve the notices and applications required at the federal level with respect to this transaction, the Banking Board's decision means that UBS AG would maintain the following branches of Union Bank of Switzerland and Swiss Bank Corporation as branches of UBS AG in New York State:

  • 299 Park Avenue, New York, New York 10171 (currently a UBS branch)
  • 1345 Avenue of the Americas, New York, New York 10105 (currently a UBS branch)
  • 10 East 50th Street, New York, New York 10022 (currently an SBC branch)
  • 222 Broadway, New York, New York 10038 (currently an SBC branch)

UBS's representative office at 350 Park Avenue, New York, New York 10022 will also become a UBS AG representative office. Representative offices may not accept deposits, make loans or conduct a banking business, but solicit certain kinds of banking business and offer informational materials about an institution.

The New York State Banking Board is comprised of 17 members, with the Superintendent of Banks serving as its Chair. Members, who serve three year terms, are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the New York State Senate.

 

 

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