Global wealth manager and investment bank Credit Suisse (CS -4.36%) delivered an impressive 75% increase in profits in the first quarter of the year. However, those profits were masked by some one-time tax benefits that made earnings look better than they actually were.
The bank reported roughly $1.3 billion in net income in the quarter, or roughly $0.53 per share. However, income before taxes is roughly $1.2 billion, only 13% higher than income before taxes in the first quarter of 2019. The bank had an effective tax rate of -9.2% this quarter, compared to 29.5% one year ago.
Still, given what the economy is going through, 13% income growth is certainly no slouch of a quarter. Net revenues grew $388 million year over year, driven by commissions and fees and trading revenue.
Like most financial services firms, Credit Suisse took a much larger credit provision in the quarter of $568 million, up from $146 million in the linked quarter and $81 million year over year.
New Credit Suisse CEO Thomas Gottstein said in a statement he was pleased with the "resilience" of the company in the quarter, but cautioned that the scale of the coronavirus is still hard to asses.
He said the company could see further impairments in the coming quarters, particularly in its corporate bank, as well as from the company's investments in asset management.
He also said underwriting fees might be limited, at least in the short term until the pandemic eases and the global economy begins to recover.