Exclusive: Citi, Raiffeisen and other foreign banks seek staff in Russia as they struggle to exit

The Raiffeisen Bank International logo is seen at its headquarters in Vienna, Austria, March 1, 2022. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

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  • This content was produced in Russia where the law limits coverage of Russian military operations in Ukraine

MOSCOW, July 21 (Reuters) – The Russian divisions of foreign banks, such as Citi and Raiffeisen Bank International (RBIV.VI), began looking for staff this month after Russian authorities decided to stop them from leaving the country, industry sources and a recruiting said the company.

Russia’s decision to send tens of thousands of troops to Ukraine on Feb. 24 prompted Western banks in Moscow to remove foreign nationals from leadership positions and explore ways to exit the Russian market.

But escalating sanctions have limited their options, industry sources said.

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The central bank has resisted domestic calls to take over the management of local operations from foreign banks, sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters, in part fearing it could incentivize depositors to withdraw funds. Read more

Last week, Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseev said Russia would block the sale of Russian foreign bank business while Russian banks abroad cannot operate normally. Read more

As a result, foreign banks have started trying to fill vacancies that opened up when staff suddenly left earlier in the year.

A banking source said foreign banks started hiring people after realizing they couldn’t leave Russia easily.

From April to June, banks with foreign roots had few vacancies in Russia, but in July the situation changed, Headhunter, one of Russia’s leading recruitment firms, told Reuters.

Raiffeisen Bank posted 276 job vacancies in Russia in July, while Citi was looking for candidates to fill 84 vacancies in Russia, Headhunter or www.hh.ru said.

Citigroup declined to comment. The bank, which disclosed an $8.4 billion exposure to Russia in the second quarter, said it was exploring all options to exit its consumer and commercial banking operations in the country. Read more

Raiffeisen did not respond to a Reuters request for comment.

‘SIGH OF RELIEF’

After Moiseev’s comments, staff at foreign banks in Russia “heaved a sigh of relief” as many feared they would lose their jobs if foreign banks decided to shut down Russian operations, a source from a news agency told Reuters. foreign bank in Moscow.

“The vacancies that have opened up are related to the fact that many employees left Russia after February 24. They simply got up, quit and fled in a wave of panic. So there are vacancies to be filled,” the source said.

“There has been no signal to develop the business.”

Foreign banks accounted for 11% of total Russian banking capital at the end of 2021, according to the latest data from the Russian central bank. The central bank said it treats units of foreign banks on an equal footing with domestic players, especially in terms of regulation.

The Russian business of Austrian banking group Raiffeisen Bank International was looking for a manager in Moscow to serve corporate clients in mid-July, based on online job postings seen by Reuters.

Citibank Russia, part of Citigroup, was looking for a credit manager with a monthly income of up to 200,000 rubles ($3,609) and a junior expert with a monthly salary from 85,000 rubles, based on advertisements from online recruitment.

The Russian business of Italian banking group Intesa Sanpaolo (ISP.MI) was looking for experts in customer services as well as foreign currency settlements, online job postings showed.

UniCredit Bank Russia, part of the UniCredit Group (CRDI.MI), which was looking for a buyer for its Russian business, had 10 IT-related vacancies, according to the hh.ru website. Read more

Intesa and UniCredit did not respond to a Reuters request for comment.

In April, French bank Societe Generale (SOGN.PA) became the first foreign lender to leave Russia after Feb. 24, selling its Rosbank unit to Interros Capital, a company linked to Russian oligarch Vladimir Potanin. Read more

($1 = 55.4180 rubles)

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Reuters reporting; edited by Guy Faulconbridge and Jane Merriman

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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