Credit Suisse seeks access to employees’ personal cell phones

Credit Suisse is asking its employees to allow the bank to access their personal cell phones and other devices if they use them to communicate with customers or colleagues, making it the big bank latest tightening of regulations on electronic communication.

The new policy has ruffled feathers within the group, where some bankers complain the policy is intrusive while others question how it can be enforced.

Credit Suisse in Europe and the US does not offer corporate cell phones to bankers, instead offering employee discounts through an approved telecommunications provider. Under its global policy on electronic communications, the bank says it can access, monitor or review any phone included in the bank’s business plan.

Under the policy, a “logistic liaison” such as arranging a meeting with a customer over the phone that is not approved by the bank could subject the bank to a check, the two said briefly about the policy.

Part of the policy also requires that employees not delete any potentially relevant messages from their personal phones.

In the policy, the bank says any access to private equipment will be limited to the purposes set forth by the bank.

The bank has set a deadline for employees to acknowledge the policy.

Credit Suisse declined to comment.

The bank’s tighter controls reflect growing concern in the industry about compliance issues stemming from the use of personal devices when discussing and handling sensitive information.

The shift to telework during the pandemic has made compliance challenges for banks, which became more difficult after the new regulations following the 2008 financial crisis, were even stricter.

Earlier this year, JPMorgan disclosed that it had received requests for information from regulators about its compliance with requirements to preserve messages sent through unapproved platforms.

JPMorgan bankers installed on their work phones a messaging and calling app called “phimmoi,” which records all calls. Employees must also confirm regularly that they will not use messaging apps for work documents.

JPMorgan declined to comment.

In recent years, Credit Suisse has been embroiled in a corporate espionage operation Scandal, with two cases of infiltration by the custodian bank against leaving senior staff.

Additional reporting by Owen Walker in London

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