BNP Paribas suspends its activities in Russia

The BNP Paribas Group announced on Monday evening that it was suspending its services in Russia. Its Russian subsidiary BNP Paribas ZAO will "no longer be able" to process customer transactions, and the group's car leasing and insurance activities are also suspended.

Suspension of investment, leasing and insurance activities

In a brief statement on Monday evening, BNP Paribas announced its intention to " strictly respect all international sanctions " against Russia.

" BNP Paribas has, as a first step, decided to suspend all new financing and, as a second step, decided to suspend all new projects in Russia," the bank said.

Its Russian subsidiary, BNP Paribas ZAO, is part of the Group's corporate and investment banking arm, which is also suspending its insurance and car leasing activities.

At the beginning of March, BNP Paribas detailed its exposure to Russia and Ukraine. The bank estimated its net exposure at 500 million euros. According to the Group, gross exposure was " limited ", representing only 0.07% of its commitments in Russia, or around 1.3 billion euros, and 0.09% in Ukraine, or 1.7 billion euros.

Limited exposure for BNP Paribas

The presence of the eurozone's leading bank in Russia has been gradually reduced over the past few years. In 2012, BNP Paribas ceased its retail banking activities in the country, and in 2020, the Group terminated its consumer credit business.

" BNP Paribas was already the least active of the foreign banks operating in the country," the bank said in its statement.

In 2021, its activities in Russia generated 56 million euros in revenues for the Group, corresponding to pre-tax earnings of 28 million euros.

The announcement of the suspension of BNP Paribas' activities in Russia is not without consequences for Societe Generale, which has for the time being decided to remain in place in the country. However, its exposure is much greater, due to the size of its Rosbank retail network, which employs 12,000 people.

As for Raiffeisen and Unicredit, 2 other major eurozone groups with a strong presence in Russia, they have yet to specify the terms of their departure, which they have merely hinted at.