Europe’s banks reveal billions worth of Russia risk as sanctions bite
Credit Suisse (CSGN.S) said it had gross exposure to Russia of 1.6 billion Swiss francs ($1.73 billion) at end 2021, the latest European bank to reveal the size of potential losses as Western sanctions shut Russia out of the global financial system.
Italy’s UniCredit (CRDI.MI) and France’s BNP Paribas (BNPP.PA) have also disclosed billions of euros worth of Russia risk. In an extreme scenario banks could lose it all if Moscow seizes assets and sanctions render Russia-related securities worthless. read more
Western companies have pulled out of Russia en masse as the United States, European Union and Britain imposed sanctions aimed at curbing Moscow’s access to funding in response to its Ukraine invasion.
Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a “special operation.”
Banks, insurers and asset managers, which rarely make political statements, have scrambled to distance themselves from Russia and assess their exposures, as the conflict enters its third week. read more
While the potential losses among major European lenders are not big enough to threaten their stability, analysts and investors fear it could derail their turnaround plans and halt payouts to shareholders. read more
The conflict has also potentially upended planned interest rate increases by the European Central Bank, with its policymakers expected to go into a meeting on Thursday divided as to how to proceed and wary of making mistakes. read more
Credit Suisse for the first time detailed its year-end net credit exposure to Russia, which included lending to wealthy clients as well as trade finance and investment banking exposure. read more
BNP Paribas meanwhile has cut off its Russia-based workforce from its internal computer systems as it seeks to bolster its defences against any potential cyber attack, in another sign of how the conflict is hitting Western financial institutions.
The French bank, thought to be the first major lender to have shut staff in Moscow out of its IT networks, has also placed employees in other locations on high alert for cyber threats emanating from Russia. read more
($1 = 0.9269 Swiss francs)
Reporting By Lawrence White and Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi, additional reporting by Sinead Cruise and Toms Sims. Editing by Jane Merriman
This article was originally published by Reuters.