Austrian-based Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) said it received a request for information from the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) regarding its business activities related to Russia and Ukraine.
In an investor news release Friday, the bank characterized the questions posed by OFAC as “general” in nature and said the regulator asked it to clarify business and related processes “maintained by RBI in light of the recent developments related to Russia and Ukraine.”
RBI said OFAC told it no specific transaction or business activity triggered the request. The bank said it is “cooperating fully” with the agency.
A report published Friday by Reuters quoted an unnamed source saying OFAC requested “details of [the bank’s] exposure in Russia, the partially occupied Donbas, Ukraine, and Syria, including about the transactions and activity of certain clients.”
In its release, RBI said it “maintains policies and procedures that ensure compliance with all applicable embargoes and financial sanctions” and that it has “implemented monitoring and screening tools to comply with these policies, including all applicable sanctions.”
OFAC did not respond to a request for comment.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, large banks including Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, and Deutsche Bank announced they were leaving the Russian market. Others, like Citi and Commerzbank, pledged to stop accepting new business in the country and reduce their exposure by winding down product lines, closing branches, and moving Russia-based employees to other regions.
RBI had about 13.7 billion euros (U.S. $14.6 billion) worth of exposure in Russia as of Dec. 31, 2021, according to a post on its website. The bank also had €2.67 billion (U.S. $2.8 billion) worth of exposure in Ukraine, with 2.9 million customers in the country and 6,600 employees. According to country-by-country information of RBI’s markets, the total number of employees in Ukraine dropped to 5,455 by December 2022.
In March 2022, RBI Chief Executive Johann Strobl announced via press release the bank was “assessing all strategic options” for its operations in Russia, which included “up to and including a carefully managed exit from Raiffeisenbank in Russia.”
In recent financial statements, including the bank’s preliminary results for 2022 issued in January, RBI noted, “[E]arnings from Russia and Belarus cannot be distributed.”
Raiffeisen made a net profit of roughly €3.8 billion (U.S. $4 billion) last year, driven largely by more than €2 billion (U.S. $2.1 billion) in profit from its Russia business, according to Reuters. Russian savers have lodged more than €20 billion (U.S. $21.3 billion) with the bank, the report said.