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March 28, 2022

HSBC intensifies scrutiny of customers with links to Russia

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In the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, British banking group HSBC is ramping up scrutiny of customers with links to Russia, Reuters reported citing sources.

The measures, which include avoiding new Russian customers and refusing to offer credit to existing ones, will impact HSBC’s customers globally.

HSBC’s latest move follows its decision to cut its ties with Russian lenders such as VTB, which is among those being targeted by sanctions from the US and its NATO allies. 

The bank’s staff have been asked to take extra precautions when dealing with prospective clients bearing Russian passports or providing Russian addresses, the sources said. 

These measures also cover customers who have two passports and those with links to Belarus as the bank tries to avoid the penalty for violating sanctions. 

Notably, the UK-based bank does not operate a retail bank in Russia, but it is reviewing all existing customers with Russian connections globally, the sources added.

The bank employs around 200 people in Russia, who cater to its institutional clients. Earlier this month, the lender said it is “not accepting any new business in Russia”.

As per Reuters’ earlier report, the banks operating under the European Central Bank have also been put on alert to increase scrutiny of transactions by customers with links to Russia.

Last week, the UK announced a fresh wave of sanctions targeting six more Russian banks including ALFA-BANK JSC (Alfa-Bank).