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Patience has run out: The European Central Bank will demand that Raiffeisen Bank withdraw from Russia

By 2026, the bank must stop making international payments from Russia.
By 2026, the bank must stop making international payments from Russia. Source: Flickr

The management of Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) expects increased pressure from the European Central Bank (ECB). One of the largest Austrian banking groups expects to be asked to speed up its exit from the Russian market.

According to Reuters, the draft requirements of the ECB suggest that the bank reduce loans to customers in Russia by up to 65% compared to the third quarter of 2023, and by 2026, it should stop making international payments from Russia. This step may be officially announced soon.

Since the RBI has avoided imposing sanctions on the terrorist country for more than two years since the start of Russia's full-scale aggression and has successfully resisted pressure from international regulators, journalists have called it "the most important financial lifeline" for Russians sending currency abroad.

Earlier, RBI announced its intention to withdraw from Russia, but instead, in April, the bank posted more than a thousand job ads in the country, indicating the financial group's intention to expand its operations. The company's slowness has led the US sanctions regulator OFAC to start inspecting the bank's Russian business. In this regard, Raiffeisen Bank has been under scrutiny for more than a year.

In addition, the United States is pressuring RBI to abandon a €1.5 billion deal to buy a stake in the Vienna-based Strabag company, which is controlled by Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, who supports dictator Vladimir Putin.

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