(Bloomberg) -- UBS Group AG said it would buy back up to $2 billion of its shares over the next two years, giving shareholders greater visibility on returns as the lender targets completion of its takeover of Credit Suisse. 

The new program will begin Wednesday and end at the latest on April 2, 2026. “Our ambition is for share repurchases to exceed our pre-acquisition level by 2026,” the Zurich-based bank said in a statement Tuesday. 

The bank confirmed previously announced plans to repurchase $1 billion of shares this year as part of the new program. Its shares were little changed in early morning trading in Zurich.

UBS also said its 2022 share repurchase program concluded on March 28. It halted that $5 billion share buyback program in April last year amid the government-backed takeover of its former rival. 

The lender announced a restart of buybacks in February, signaling confidence over its integration with Credit Suisse. At the same time, the bank has posted two quarterly losses in a row as it grappled with the integration task.  

Read More: UBS Restarts Buyback as Ermotti Slogs Through ‘Pivotal’ Year

Since closing the takeover of Credit Suisse in June, UBS has outlined major targets for the integration of its former rival including around $13 billion in cost savings, a boost from about $10 billion previously announced. The bank also confirmed its profitability targets through 2026. 

Both Chief Executive Officer Sergio Ermotti, who returned to lead UBS last year, and Chairman Colm Kelleher have warned that 2024 will be a more difficult year in terms of keeping costs down. The bank said it expects to complete the merger by the end of the second quarter.

Read More: UBS Chair Says 2024 Will be Challenging After ‘Easy’ Cuts Done

Last month, the Swiss lender announced that it cut its bonus pool for 2023 by 14% despite record annual profit driven by the acquisition of Credit Suisse. The bonus allocation was a reflection of the impact from challenging operating conditions and market volatility, the bank said.  

Ermotti received a total compensation of around $16 million, making him the best-paid European bank CEO.

Read More: Ermotti Tops Europe Bank Boss Pay While UBS Shrinks Bonuses 

--With assistance from Hugo Miller.

(Updates with further details throughout)

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