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Countdown to mega merger - how Credit Suisse wobbled and UBS rushed to rescue

Logos of Swiss banks UBS and Credit Suisse are seen in Zurich

ZURICH(Reuters) - UBS Group takeover of Credit Suisse, arranged by the Swiss authorities to stave off a broader banking crisis, is set to become official as early as June 12, the bank said on Monday.

The closing of the tie-up marks the final chapter for the 167-year old institution after years of scandals and missteps eroded customer confidence and brought the lender to the brink of collapse.

Here are the main events in the run-up to the biggest banking deal since the global financial crisis.

FEBRUARY

Feb. 28 - Swiss regulators rebuke Credit Suisse for "serious" failings in its handling of a multi-billion business with now defunct financier Greensill, the third such public censure in two years.

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MARCH

March 9 - Credit Suisse postpones publication of its annual report after a last minute call by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which raised questions about its earlier financial statements.

March 13 - Credit Suisse shares hit a record low after the entire banking sector sells off in the wake of the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank.

March 14 - Publishing its delayed 2022 annual report, Credit Suisse says it had identified "material weaknesses" in internal controls over financial reporting and not yet stemmed customer outflows.

March 15 - The Swiss National Bank pledges to fund Credit Suisse with liquidity "if necessary" - the first such move for a big bank since the global financial crisis. Earlier, Credit Suisse's largest shareholder - Saudi National Bank - said it would not increase its stake in the lender, sending its shares plunging by a fifth.

March 16: Credit Suisse says it intends to borrow up to 50 billion Swiss francs ($56.25 billion)from the Swiss National Bank in "decisive action" to boost its liquidity.

March 19: An emergency rescue of Credit Suisse, brokered by the Swiss government, central bank and financial regulator, is announced. Under the deal, UBS agrees to buy Credit Suisse for a knockdown price of 3 billion Swiss francs in stock and agreed to assume up to 5 billion francs in losses. Detailing the events later in a regulatory filing UBS said it was rushed into a deal it did not want.

March 20 - The rescue triggers a political backlash in Switzerland, with parties on the right and left warning about the huge risks and the size of the combined entity.

March 21 - Swiss authorities impose curbs on bonus payments for Credit Suisse employees.

March 23: Switzerland's financial market regulator FINMA defends its decision to impose steep losses on Credit Suisse bondholders, calling the decision legally watertight.

March 29 - UBS rehires former CEO and turnaround specialist Sergio Ermotti to steer the takeover.

APRIL

April 3 - Switzerland's federal prosecutor opens an investigation into the merger. Separately, some holders of Credit Suisse AT1 bonds wiped out by the merger instruct lawyers to represent them for possible litigation to recover losses.

April 4 - Credit Suisse chairman Axel Lehmann apologises to investors for taking the bank to the brink of bankruptcy at the bank's final shareholder meeting.

April 5 - The Swiss government orders Credit Suisse to cancel or cut all outstanding bonus payments for senior management.

- Separately, UBS executives seek to assure shareholders the takeover will succeed, despite calling it a "Herculean task."

April 6 - UBS CEO Ermotti tells Credit Suisse staff to stay focussed on the business, but warns of "change and hard decisions" ahead.

April 11 - The Swiss Bank Employees Association demands a freeze on job cuts at both banks until the end of 2023. Swiss media had earlier reported up to 11,000 jobs could be lost in Switzerland.

April 12 - Switzerland's parliament rejects the government's aid for the merger in a largely symbolic vote.

April 15 - The Federal Reserve approves UBS's acquisition of the U.S. subsidiaries of Credit Suisse.

April 24 - Credit Suisse says 61 billion Swiss francs in assets had left the bank in the first quarter, as it reported what were probably its last ever quarterly results.

April 26 - Switzerland's Federal Administrative Court says it has received "several hundred" claims against the country's financial regulator FINMA after it wrote off the value of Credit Suisse's AT1 bonds.

- A regulatory filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission shows that UBS considered in December the effect of it taking over Credit Suisse, but concluded such a move was not desirable.

MAY

May 9 - UBS CEO Sergio Ermotti unveils his new leadership team for the combined group, based largely on experienced UBS executives and keeping only Credit Suisse CEO - and also former UBS executive - Ulrich Koerner from the stricken bank.

May 12 - Ermotti says the situation at Credit Suisse has stabilised, adding he did not think customer outflows were continuing.

May 16: UBS flags in a regulatory filing tens of billions of dollars of potential costs - and benefits - from its takeover of Credit Suisse, underscoring the high stakes involved.

May 17 - The office of the upper house of the Swiss parliament decides that Credit Suisse's rescue will be investigated by a special commission.

May 23 - The Swiss finance ministry issues an order cancelling or reducing outstanding bonuses of Credit Suisse managers, implementing a decision announced in April.

May 30 - Switzerland's Social Democratic Party says it has drawn up a proposal to shrink UBS assets after the takeover, saying the new bank posed huge risks for the country because of its size and an implicit state guarantee.

JUNE

June 2 - UBS CEO Sergio Ermotti warns of painful decisions about job cuts following the takeover of Credit Suisse, which he said should be finalised in a few days, and dismisses concerns the new bank will be too big for Switzerland.

($1 = 0.8889 Swiss francs)

(Reporting by John Revill; Editing by Tomasz Janowski)