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Austrian lender Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) is looking to sell or spin off its Russian operations, which have been facing criticism since the start of the war in Ukraine. 

“The RBI Group will continue to progress potential transactions which would result in the sale or spin-off of Raiffeisenbank Russia and deconsolidation of Raiffeisenbank Russia from the RBI Group,” the bank said in a statement. 

“We are committing to further reducing business activity in Russia whilst we continue to progress such potential transactions,” it added.

The RBI has reportedly been under pressure from the European Central Bank to close operations in Russia. 

Last month, during a visit to Vienna, a senior US sanction official voiced concerns regarding RBI’s Russian business increasing the pressure on the company.  

RBI plans to retain some banking operations in Russia to comply with the terms of its banking licence.  

It will also continue to support its clients, including those who will be negatively affected by the decline in commercial activity in Russia.

The Austrian bank said it has reduced some activity in Russia and also cut back its cross-border exposure to the country. 

“Raiffeisenbank Russia will continue to reduce loans to customers and reduce the overall volume of foreign currency transactions. This will lead to a reduction in the size of the RBI Group’s payments business,” the bank added.

While reduced commercial activity in Russia will ultimately lead to a fall in revenue, the bank has assured that the group’s CET1 ratio would be strong even if Raiffeisenbank Russia were deconsolidated at zero.