Goldman Sachs becomes first major Wall St bank to quit Russia

March 10 (Reuters) – Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) said on Thursday it was closing its operations in Russia, becoming the first major Wall Street bank to exit the country following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Operating in Moscow has been increasingly difficult for Western financial institutions amid international sanctions against Russia and banks have been weighing whether to remain or leave. While European banks are the most highly exposed to the country, US banks still have significant exposure, totaling $14.7 billion according to Bank of International Settlements data. read more

“Goldman Sachs is winding down its business in Russia in compliance with regulatory and licensing requirements,” the bank said in an emailed statement.

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A source familiar with the situation said Goldman would wind down the operations rather than exit them immediately. The loss due to the exit would be immaterial, the source said.

In its annual filing earlier, the bank had disclosed a credit exposure to Russia of $650 million.

Shares of Goldman Sachs fell 1.5% to $328.58 in early trading. Up to the close of trading on Wednesday, GS had fallen 12.8% this year.

The biggest exposed US bank is Citigroup Inc (CN), which said on Wednesday it was operating its Russian consumer business on a more limited basis while sticking with its previous plans to divest the franchise. read more

Other US banks operating in Russia include JPMorgan (JPM.N), which declined to comment on what its plans were.

In Europe, Austria’s Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) is considering leaving Russia, two people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters previously.

Banks will find it hard to extricate themselves from the market, however, experts have said.

Dan Awrey, a professor at Cornell Law School who specializes in financial regulation, said last week that banks “can’t just unilaterally walk away from lending commitments and other types of financial claims” as “there’s somebody on the other side and that will make it much more complicated.” read more

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Reporting by Niket Nishant in Bengaluru and Matt Scuffham in New York; Additional reporting by David Henry in New York and Bansari Mayur Kamdar in Belgaluru; Writing by Megan Davies in New York; Editing by Anil D’Silva and Mark Porter

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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