Italy’s largest bank Intesa Sanpaolo is close to getting Moscow’s approval to transfer its Russian business to local management, a source familiar with the situation told Reuters.
Intesa earlier said it was working on “selecting counterparties” to which to transfer its Russian business, but did not disclose progress on the matter. A spokesman for Intesa Sanpaolo declined to comment.
Under Russian law, deals by foreign banks from “unfriendly” countries to sell local businesses must be approved by Vladimir Putin. Putin’s decree authorizing the sale of Intesa Sanpaolo’s Russian subsidiary is still awaited and there is no certainty it will be granted, the source told Reuters, requesting anonymity.
Intesa serves corporate clients in Russia, where it had about 980 employees in 28 branches at the start of last year.
Under pressure from European banking supervisors to cut ties with Russia, Intesa has been working to reduce its risks, including cross-border loans. At the end of June, Intesa had €700 million in cross-border loans to Russian clients, net of provisions and export credit guarantees, down 77% from last year. Overall, Russia accounts for just 0.2% of client loans across the bank.
In early August, Intesa said it was closing its Moscow office, adding that this would not affect its local “subsidiary” bank, which continues to operate.