MOSCOW (Reuters) -Russia’s largest lender, Sberbank, is leaving the European market as its subsidiaries there face large cash outflows and threats to the safety of employees and property, the bank said on Wednesday.
The bank, set to unveil 2021 financial results later, said it was no longer able to supply liquidity to European subsidiaries, following a central bank order, but its capital level and asset quality were sufficient to pay all depositors.
“In the current situation, Sberbank has decided to leave the European market,” it said in a statement. “The group’s subsidiary banks have faced abnormal cash outflows and threats to the safety of its employees and branches.”
Unprecedented steps by Western nations to isolate Russia’s economy and financial system over its invasion of Ukraine include sanctions on its central bank and the exclusion of some of its lenders from global payments system SWIFT.
The European Central Bank (ECB) had already ordered the closure of Sberbank’s European arm, after warning that it faced failure because of a run on its deposits sparked by the invasion backlash.
Sberbank, which operates in Austria, Croatia, Germany and Hungary among other nations, had European assets worth 13 billion euros by Dec. 31, 2020.
The exit does not affect the bank’s operations in Switzerland.
(Reporting by Reuters; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)