But the Swiss bank said it had a made a "strong start" to 2009 and was profitable across all divisions in the year to date.
Switzerland's second-largest bank said on Wednesday that its net loss for the full year was SF8.2 billion ($7.07 billion).
Analysts polled by Reuters had expected the bank to turn in a SF4 billion net loss for the quarter and SF6.3 billion for 2008. Swiss newspapers had said the annual loss could be as high as SF8 billion.
"While our full-year results are clearly disappointing, we entered 2009 with a very strong capital position, a robust business model, a clear strategy and well-positioned businesses," Chief Executive Brady Dougan said in a statement.
"We have positioned our businesses to be less susceptible to negative market trends if they persist in the coming months and to prosper when markets recover."
Credit Suisse's results come a day after Swiss competitor UBS announced a full-year net loss of nearly SF20 billion, the biggest in Swiss corporate history.
Credit Suisse said on December 4 it would slash 5,300 jobs as it had made a net loss of about SF3 billion in October and November. It said on Wednesday it had achieved about 50 per cent of its targeted job cuts to bring headcount down to 47,800 by year end.
It reiterated a target of paring its investment bank to 17,500 staff by the end of 2009 from 19,700 at the end of 2008.
Credit Suisse said it had made combined writedowns of SF3.2 billion on risky assets. It also said it had suffered a trading loss of SF6.7 billion in the fourth quarter.
Slides for a presentation from Credit Suisse showed the bank had trimmed some of its most troublesome assets.
It said had cut to SF8.8 billion its exposure to commercial mortgage backed securities (CMBS). Its exposure to leveraged finance, another problematic asset class, had dropped to SF0.9 billion.
The total for risky assets in investment banking was down to SF11.6 billion from SF27 billion at the end of September and SF99 billion at the start of the credit crisis at end-September 2007.