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Credit Suisse may consider private banking purchases in Italy

[MILAN] Credit Suisse Group AG, Switzerland's second-biggest bank, may consider buying private-banking businesses in Italy that cater to the ultra-rich, according to the lender's top executive in the country.

While the bank is seeking to expand, it isn't looking at purchases at the moment, Federico Imbert, Credit Suisse's Italy chief executive officer told reporters on Tuesday in Milan.

The Zurich-based company plans to hire 40 private bankers in Italy over two years, he said.

Credit Suisse, the world's fourth-largest wealth manager, is reorganizing its private-banking businesses around the world as it allocates an equal amount of capital to the investment bank and money managing businesses.

It sold its Italian unit for clients with less than one million Swiss francs (US$1.1 million) last year to focus on the country's super wealthy customers.

"We are focused on growing organically, but we're able to consider non-organic growth if opportunities arise," Mr Imbert said.

"We are focusing on ultra high-net-worth, but I don't see interesting things."

Credit Suisse manages 13 billion euros (US$15 billion) of assets at its Italian private-banking division, Mr Imbert said.