Credit Suisse posted a fourth-quarter net loss after taking almost 1 billion Swiss francs (675.5 million pounds) of charges to speed cost cutting and offload risky assets to meet stiffer capital rules.

Our performance for the fourth quarter 2011 was disappointing, said Chief Executive Brady Dougan.

It reflects both the adverse market conditions during the period and the impact of the measures we have taken to swiftly adapt our business to the evolving market and regulatory requirements.

Dougan said the charge of 981 million francs was due to the accelerated implementation of a risk reduction plan, steps to exit unprofitable businesses and costs due to the rapid execution of cost reduction programmes.

While we are mindful that the market and economic environment remain uncertain, we are encouraged that our business is off to a good start with year-to-date underlying return on equity consistent with our target level of 15 percent, in a statement.

Dougan said Credit Suisse would meet a goal to slash risky assets by 80 billion Swiss francs in the first quarter, from year-end previously. The bank also said it is on track to cut costs by 2 billion by the end of next year.

Credit Suisse is making shareholders share the pain, proposing to nearly halve its dividend to 0.75 Swiss francs per share, from 1.30 francs in 2010.

Credit Suisse was largely mum on a settlement in a U.S. probe over helping wealthy Americans hide their money through hidden Swiss offshore accounts.

The bank repeated past statements that it is supportive of U.S.-Swiss talks for an industry-wide settlement for Swiss private banks, and said it continues to cooperate with U.S. officials.

Rival Julius Baer said on Monday it was prepared to pay a fine to escape the escalating crackdown, two weeks after Swiss private bank Wegelin was indicted by U.S. officials.

($1 = 0.9128 Swiss francs)

(Editing by David Cowell)