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Raiffeisen Bank International Considers Russia Exit: Sanctions Update

The CEO of Raiffeisen Bank International AG said Thursday his bank is considering an exit from Russia.

Raiffeisen is the largest foreign-owned retail bank in Russia. Two weeks ago, Chief Executive Officer Johann Strobl announced the bank had no plans to wind down Russia operations. But in a statement Thursday, Stobl said the bank is "assessing all strategic options for the future of Raiffeisenbank Russia, up to and including a carefully managed exit from Raiffeisenbank in Russia.”

According to Reuters, Raiffeisenbank Russia said in a separate statement that it will continue servicing clients in Russia even if RBI, its parent company, withdraws from Russia.  Raiffeisenbank Russia said such a move would be “a measure of last resort."

On Tuesday, the CEOs of Credit Suisse AG and UniCredit both said they were considering all options in Russia, including withdrawal.

Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized the toll sanctions have taken on Russia’s economy Wednesday, singling out banking sanctions during televised remarks.

Putin called the freezing of Russia’s central bank assets in North America and Europe “illegitimate,” saying “Now everyone knows that financial reserves can simply be stolen. “

Russia’s central bank is set to meet Friday to discuss possible interest-rate changes.

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