Deutsche Bank Leaving Russia After Initial Backlash for Staying

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  • Deutsche Bank will reverse course to wind down its business in Russia after drawing backlash for initially planning to stay.
  • CEO Christian Sewing previously said exiting Russia would “go against our values,” Reuters reported.
  • Other finance giants, such as Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Mastercard, and Visa, are also leaving Russia.

Deutsche Bank will be getting out of Russia after all.

The company on Friday said it’s winding down operations in the country following the country’s invasion of Ukraine. The news came one day after the investment banking firm faced swift backlash for announcing its initial plans to remain in Russia.

“Deutsche Bank has substantially reduced its Russian exposure since 2014,” the company said in a statement. “Like some international peers and in line with our legal and regulatory obligations, we are in the process of winding down our remaining business in Russia while we help our non-Russian multinational clients in reducing their operations. There won’t be any new business in Russia.”

The company continued in the statement: “As we have repeatedly said, we condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine in the strongest possible terms and support the German government and its allies in defending our democracy and freedom.”

This comes after the bank’s CEO Christian Sewing sent a note on Thursday to staff explaining the bank’s initial decision to stay, Reuters reported.

“We are often asked why we are not withdrawing completely from Russia,” he wrote. “The answer is that this would go against our values.”

Sewing added in the memo that exiting Russia wouldn’t “be the right thing to do in terms of managing those client relationships and helping them to manage their situation,” according to Reuters.

The same day, Deutsche Bank CFO James von Moltke appeared on CNBC to discuss the decision.

“We’re there to support our clients,” he said. “And so, for practical purposes, that isn’t an option that’s available to us.”

Deutsche Bank joins a growing list of financial giants exiting Russia.

Goldman Sachs was the first major Wall Street bank to do so. JPMorgan followed suit hours later, and Visa, Mastercard, and American Express all announced their suspensions of Russian operations last week.

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