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31 May, 2023 09:37

Leading US bank makes deal with sanctioned Russian lender

Citibank will transfer its Russian credit card portfolio to Uralsib
Leading US bank makes deal with sanctioned Russian lender

Major US lender Citigroup has made a deal to transfer the credit card portfolio of its Russian unit (Citibank) to commercial bank Uralsib, several media outlets reported on Tuesday, citing Citibank’s press service. Privately-owned Uralsib is among Russia’s top 30 banks by assets.

According to a statement from Citibank, the transfer of the credit card portfolio will occur on condition that card holders agree to the action.

Citigroup has entered into an agreement with PJSC Bank Uralsib, under which, subject to their consent, existing credit card holders of JSC Citibank will be offered the opportunity to switch to Uralsib in accordance with Russian law,” Citibank told RIA Novosti.

Uralsib later confirmed this information to Vedomosti news outlet, noting that credit limits and interest rates on the cards will remain the same for clients who agree to the transfer.

We ask customers not to apply for the cards on their own, but to wait for communication [from us],” Uralsib said.

Citigroup announced its intention to wind down its business in Russia in August last year. The assets of its Russian unit at the time amounted to around $10 billion, while the cost of leaving Russia was estimated at $170 million. In December, Citibank sold its portfolio of ruble-denominated consumer loans to Uralsib.

In March 2023, reports emerged that Citibank was considering selling its entire Russian retail business, but could not do so “for technical reasons.” The lender later refuted claims that any such problems existed, but neither confirmed nor denied its intention to divest from the country completely.

Uralsib was placed under Western sanctions in February this year. The restrictions make it difficult for the bank to conduct cross-border transactions, but do not affect its operations within Russia.

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