Credit Suisse is loosening its longstanding centralized organizational structure, moving selected operations out of Switzerland to the United States and other countries to boost international business.

"The gist of the story is that the bank is willing to decentralize control of local operations to where the activity is," said a spokesman for the bank in New York.

Credit Suisse officials said that project finance, asset securitization, aircraft financing, and leasing are among the areas that either are or will be based in New York.

Centers of Activity

Trading in derivatives is now being run mainly from London, foreign exchange and securities trading is shifting from Zurich to New York, London, and Tokyo, and institutional asset management and private banking operations are being expanded out of the United States and other countries such as Luxembourg.

The Zurich-based bank increased the number of employees outside of Switzerland by nearly 12% in 1991, to 3,444, while the number of domestic employees stayed essentially flat, with around 15,000 people.

Profits from Afar

The move has been dictated by the growing globalization of Credit Suisse, officials said, even though the action runs counter to an inclination at the bank to conduct as many operations as possible inside Switzerland.

Since 1989, the bank has nearly doubled earnings from outside Switzerland, to 34% of gross revenues of $1.7 billion. The previous figure was 18%.

Earnings from outside Switzerland are expected to grow even further, a spokesman for the bank in Zurich said.

"The philosophy is to retain our home base in retail and wholesale banking in Switzerland and to find wholesale banking niches where we can play an important role in other countries," said the spokesman said.

Officials added that in some instances, the difficulty of finding specialists in Switzerland and of obtaining Swiss working permits for staff hired outside the country has also contributed to a shift in management to new locations.

Rating Downgraded

The bank this year lost its prized triple A rating from Moody's Investors Service, but subsequently went on to confound it critics by chalking up record net earnings of $580 million for 1991, up 57% over the previous year. Moody's had cited potential credit quality problems in its downgrading.

Overseas earnings, including improved margins on lending in the United States, and profits from new operations such as derivatives, contributed heavily toward compensating for lost income on real estate lending in Switzerland and problem loans to corporate borrowers in the United States and Britain.

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