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In the wake of Russia’s war on Ukraine, Sweden-based bank SEB and French banking group BNP Paribas are the latest to pull back their Russian operations.
In current conditions, maintaining Russian operations is not feasible anymore, Bloomberg reported citing the Swedish lender.
“SEB has therefore started scaling these down. This will be done in a responsible and orderly manner and in accordance with regulatory and legal obligations,” SEB spokesperson Niklas Magnusson was quoted by the publication as saying.
SEB, a key Swedish bank, employs 80 people in Russia through its two offices in St. Petersburg and Moscow and caters to Nordic, German and British clients.
As the West continues to pour financial sanctions on Russia, the outflow of companies from the country reduces their need for banking services.
The bank’s direct exposure to Russia is very limited and makes up about 0.3% of its balance sheet, Magnusson noted.
In a subsequent email, SEB head of corporate communications Frank Hojem said: “This should not be regarded as a temporary suspension, it is a scale-down of our operations, a process that will take some time.”
Meanwhile, BNP Paribas is halting all new business in Russia, joining its western peers as the Ukraine crisis deepens.
The French lender has informed its clients in Russia that its local arm will not be processing their transactions from March-end, a Bloomberg report said.
Earlier, the lender blocked its team in Russia from its internal systems to mitigate cyber threats emanating from the country.
Last week, Austria’s Raiffeisen Bank, which has significant Russian exposure, revealed that it could exit its Russian operations.