Subprime Crunch Doesn’t Matter (Much) to Credit Suisse

Bloomberg is reporting on Credit Suisse’s operating results this morning, which saw first quarter profit rise a somewhat sluggish 5 percent, although the company admitted that the subprime market had set it back some. It’s actually a pretty rosy picture, all in all — mirroring what to me at least is a surprising outcome in the investment banking sector this earnings season. I’d really thought that many of the larger players with subprime exposure would feel at least some heat in the first quarter. After all, we’ve been witness to a subprime meltdown of historic proportions — but you’d never know it to look at the boys on Wall Street. Here’s a tidbit from the Bloomberg story:

Revenue at Credit Suisse’s fixed-income division, which accounts for almost half of investment banking earnings and includes income from its subprime operations, rose 0.2 percent to a record 2.77 billion francs. The decline in subprime lending “was contained, and the resulting lower revenues in our residential mortgage-backed securities and asset-backed securities businesses were more than offset by strong revenues in other areas of our fixed income business,” Fassbind said.

I’m starting to rethink my ideas on who is really exposed credit-wise in this down market — the historic rise in EPDs and borrower delinquencies clearly isn’t hurting Credit Suisse or Merrill Lynch, who reported strong first quarter revenue not too long ago.

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