Executives of Citigroup Inc have warned, the bank faces billions of dollars in losses from its Russian business even as it continues to help some of its 200 staff in Ukraine to leave the country.
Towards the end of last year, Citigroup’s exposure to the Russian market amounted to nearly $10 billion, significantly higher than it had previously reported.
When asked regarding potential losses in Russia, on its investor day, Citigroup’s Chief Financial Officer Mark Mason said it had run health checks to determine how much of that exposure could be lost under different potential outcomes.
“We’ve been working very closely with our risk management to run various scenarios as to what that exposure could mean under different stress scenarios,” said Mason. “Looking at a severe stress scenario that number, on the high end, could be a little less than half of that exposure but it could also be a lot less than that depending on how the situation evolves.”
He went on to add, the bank aims to reduce its exposure to Russian assets using hedging and other strategies, said Mason.
“We’ve been managing that exposure very proactively to bring that number down,” said Mason.
While it is attempting to sell its Russian consumer business, Citi’s CEO Jane Fraser said it was “too early to tell” how that process will be affected since the only publicly named buyer is Russia’s VTB Bank which is now facing U.S. sanctions.
“We’ve been helping those that want to get across the border into Poland, giving them safe accommodation there, we’ve given them advances on their payroll, emergency supplies, medical availability and as much support as we possibly can,” said Fraser.
Citi is also supporting staff that have chosen to continue to remain in Ukraine, said Fraser. She commended them for continuing to serve the bank’s clients, including multi-national companies.
“Every single day through this war they have been operating our bank and making sure that we are operating on the ground so that we are able to serve our clients there, the multi-nationals,” she said. “They are quite exceptional in their drive, what they are wanting to do for the country, for the bank and for our clients.”