Leading US bank makes deal with sanctioned Russian lender

Lazy eyes listen


Citigroup, a major US lender, has agreed to transfer the credit card portfolio of its Russian affiliate (Citibank) to commercial bank Uralsib, according to numerous media sites citing Citibank’s press office on Tuesday. Uralsib, which is privately owned, is one of Russia’s top 30 banks in terms of assets.

According to a Citibank statement, the credit card portfolio will be transferred if cardholders agree to the procedure.

“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 informed RIA Novosti.

Uralsib later confirmed this to Vedomosti, stating that credit limits and interest rates on the cards will stay unchanged for clients who agree to the move.

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

Citigroup declared its plan to exit the Russian market in August of last year. At the time, its Russian unit’s assets were valued at roughly $10 billion, while the cost of leaving Russia was anticipated to be $170 million. Citibank sold its portfolio of ruble-denominated consumer loans to Uralsib in December.

Citibank was reportedly considering selling its whole Russian retail business in March 2023, but was unable to do so “for technical reasons.” The lender later claimed any such issues existed, but neither confirmed nor denied its intention to withdraw entirely from the country.