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Belarus Banks May Be Excluded from SWIFT: Sanctions Update, March 3, 2022

The European Union is considering removing banks in Belarus from the SWIFT messaging system, according to Reuters reports on Thursday, March 3. Reuters is also reporting that EU regulators are preparing for a possible closure of VTB in Europe.

The Russian Central Bank announced Wednesday evening, March 2, that it was lowering reserve requirements for banks. The measures will lower banks' reserve obligations by 2.7 trillion rubles, or around $26 billion at current exchange rates. Earlier, the central bank announced that the liquidity gap in the Russian banking system is now $68 billion dollars, a 27% increase in the gap in just one day.

Also on Wednesday, Sberbank, Russia's largest lender, announced it was leaving most all European markets. The move came after EU’s Single Resolution Board had announced the insolvency of the Austrian operations of Sberbank

"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."

According to Reuters, Sberbank had European assets worth 13 billion euros ($14.4 billion) as of Dec. 31, 2020, and operations in countries including Austria, Croatia, Germany and Hungary among others.

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