US Banking Giants Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Pulling Out of Russia

Global investment banks Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase are winding down business in the Russian Federation. The move comes as western sanctions against Moscow over its decision to launch a military invasion of Ukraine continue to expand, supported by leading financial institutions.

Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Scale Down Russian Operations

Goldman Sachs Group and JPMorgan Chase have become the first major American banks to announce they are leaving Russia, a process that according to industry experts may take months if not years. Their decisions follow the imposing of unprecedented sanctions against Moscow over its military assault on neighboring Ukraine.

The restrictions, which have affected the financial sphere, make it harder for banking institutions to operate in the Russian Federation. Reuters notes that while European banks are more exposed to Russia, U.S. banks have significant exposure as well, totaling $14.7 billion, according to data provided by the Bank of International Settlements.

In a statement, Goldman Sachs said it’s acting in compliance with regulatory and licensing requirements. A source revealed that the bank is currently winding down its operations rather than exiting them immediately. Goldman’s credit exposure to Russia amounts to $650 million. Its shares fell 2.8% to $325.97 in midday trading on Wednesday.

“In compliance with directives by governments around the world, we have been actively unwinding Russian business and have not been pursuing any new business in Russia,” JPMorgan said in its statement. The bank elaborated that its current activities are limited while it’s helping global clients close out pre-existing obligations, manage Russian-related risk, and act as a custodian to clients.

Meanwhile, Citigroup has announced its consumer business operations in Russia are now limited and the bank is implementing a plan to divest the franchise. With almost $10 billion, Citigroup is the U.S. bank with the biggest Russian exposure and has already admitted through a financial executive that its losses may potentially reach half of that total.

According to Refinitiv data quoted in the report, Goldman Sachs generated $19.5 million in investment banking income in 2021. With $32.8 million, JPMorgan was second only to Russia’s VTB Capital. Citigroup generated $22.8 million.

Russia has been targeted with growing sanctions over the war in Ukraine, limiting its access to the global financial system and crypto assets. Several Russian banks have been cut from SWIFT the interbank messaging network. Payment and remittance providers like Western Union, Paypal, Remitly, and Revolut have suspended services in the country. Visa and Mastercard also halted operations.

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