Banking transactions: Russian nationals in France penalized

In recent days, Russian customers of French banks have reportedly experienced difficulties or even blockages in the payment of their salaries even though they work and live in France. The situation is penalized by the international sanctions imposed on Russia. Blocked transfers, account refusals... a look at the obstacles encountered by Russian nationals when banking.

Banking operations delayed

Over the past few days, dozens of Russian bank users living in France have complained that their transfers have been blocked or that they have been refused an account on the grounds of their nationality. Several testimonials have been posted on social networks, targeting Société Générale, BNP Paribas and Crédit Mutuel/CIC in particular.

Xenia Fedorova, Russian journalist and president and news director of RT France, has accused Société Générale of blocking the accounts into which the salaries of some of her Russian employees in France are paid.

"This is real discrimination on the basis of nationality, France is hitting rock bottom again," she opined on her Russian Telegram channel.

For its part, Societe Generale states that it has not blocked its customers' accounts solely on the basis of nationality, and justifies its decisions by the necessary checks following the announcement of international sanctions against Russia.

It has to be said that the potential penalties for non-compliance on the part of banks are very heavy indeed. In 2015, BNP Paribas was fined a record $8.9 billion by the US courts for circumventing US embargoes on Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Libya between 2000 and 2010.

Manual checks

The checks required by the decisions of the European public authorities are carried out manually by the banks, and can lengthen processing times.

Crédit Mutuel assures us that it is "doing its utmost to limit the impact on customers" who are not affected by the regulatory constraints.

BNP Paribas specifies that it continues to support Russian nationals living in France, whether "to open an account or to manage their day-to-day banking needs".

The Banque de France also reminds us that Ukrainian refugees who have been refused an account can apply for the right to an account procedure free of charge. To do so, they simply need to submit a file containing a set of supporting documents (certificate of refusal to open an account issued by the bank, completed right to account application form, valid official identity document, proof of address less than 3 months old) to a Banque de France branch or online. On receipt of the complete application, the institution will designate a branch to open the account within 24 hours. For all other requests to the Banque de France, you can make an appointment directly online or by telephone on 3414.