Raiffeisen Bank International, the Austrian lender that generates a third of its profits from Russia, is considering exiting the country, just weeks after its chief executive committed to staying put.

The lender, which has 4.2mn customers and 9,400 staff in Russia, said on Thursday morning it was considering all options for its subsidiary following the invasion of Ukraine.

“This unprecedented situation leads RBI to consider its position in Russia. We are therefore assessing all strategic options for the future of Raiffeisenbank Russia, up to and including a carefully managed exit from Raiffeisenbank in Russia,” said Johann Strobl, Raiffeisen’s chief executive.

Just two weeks ago, Strobl told investors: “It’s very important that you understand, we are not walking away.”

Raiffeisen has been the hardest hit of the handful of western banks with a presence in Russia. The group’s share price has halved in recent weeks.

The bank has €22.9bn of assets in Russia, with €354mn of exposure to sanctioned financial institutions and €119mn to other sanctioned companies.

UniCredit, another European lender with a large exposure to Russia, announced this week it was also considering exiting, while several big investment banks — including JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank — have said they planned to leave.



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