(Recasts with CEO comments on outlook and U.S. tax case)
ZURICH, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Local-government owned Zuercher Kantonalbank (ZKB) posted a 12 percent rise in 2015 net profit on Friday but cautioned that 2016 looked set to be a tougher year for the banking industry.
Concerns over profitability in a low-growth, low-interest-rate environment have knocked confidence in the financial sector at the start of 2016.
After reporting 722 million Swiss francs ($741 million) in net profit for last year, Chief Executive Martin Scholl said a repeat result in 2016 was unlikely in the current climate.
“If it all becomes rosy again then (the result) could be at last year’s level,” Scholl told a news conference. “At the moment it simply doesn’t look that way.”
Scholl declined to comment on a timeframe for settling ZKB’s U.S. tax case. It is among a handful Swiss banks being investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice on suspicion of helping wealthy Americans evade taxes.
“Whatever comes the bank’s way, the bank is fundamentally well positioned,” Scholl said.
Credit Suisse and Julius Baer have resolved their tax investigations.
$1 = 0.9743 Swiss francs Reporting by Joshua Franklin and Angelika Gruber; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and David Evans