Cyprus's largest bank shuts Moscow and St. Petersburg offices, leaves Russia
The Bank of Cyprus, the largest Cypriot bank, has closed its branches in Moscow and St. Petersburg. The Central Bank of the Russian Federation confirmed the cessation of accreditation for these branches on January 22
This was reported by The Moscow Times.
Foreign banks' representative offices in Russia lack the authority to conduct banking operations, such as opening accounts, attracting customer funds, making transfers, and currency transactions.
They function as distinct units aligned with the credit organization's interests but are legally independent entities.
This marks the third closure of a foreign bank's representative office in Russia in 2024, bringing the total down to 23.
At the outset of 2022, there were 37 foreign credit organizations in the register of accredited representative offices. However, since the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine, nine closed in 2022, three in 2023, and an additional three in early 2024. During this period, one new representative office, belonging to the Kyrgyz "Aiyl Bank," was opened.
The decline in business volume for Western banks in Russia is linked to sanctions, foreign business outflows, and reduced turnover. Data from Raiffeisenbank International, cited by Bloomberg, reveals that by the end of 2023, assets of foreign credit organizations in Russia dwindled to $66 billion. This represents half of the 2021 figure ($119 billion) and nearly a quarter of the 2012 level ($239 billion).
- In a related move, amid the full-scale invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation, Cypriot authorities announced that the island state would not permit simplified rules for Russians applying for tourist visas.