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Sanctioned Bank Rossiya ditches foreign currency for ruble

Published time: March 28, 2014 15:32
Edited time: March 31, 2014 11:21
A client uses a Bank Rossiya automated teller machine (ATM) in St. Petersburg (Reuters / Alexander Demianchuk)

A client uses a Bank Rossiya automated teller machine (ATM) in St. Petersburg (Reuters / Alexander Demianchuk)

Bank Rossiya which was blocked last week by Visa and MasterCard says it will limit its operations to the domestic market and stick to the ruble. The bank wants to protect its clients against any possible "unfair action" by foreign financial institutions.

Despite the changes, the bank promised to fulfill its obligations to clients and partners.

“The bank doesn’t need any support for its ongoing operations, including from the state regulator,” Bank Rossiya said in a statement released Friday.

The bank has already notified its US partners that it is abandoning the corresponding accounts.

“In the near future similar notes will be sent to other foreign financial organizations,” the bank added.

The Speaker of Russia’s upper House Valentina Matvienko said the bank would have a strategic advantage in Russia.

“The first financial institution that’ll be fully protected against any unfair action of foreign countries has emerged in Russia,” Matvienko told reporters on Friday.

The Speaker said she was sure Bank Rossiya will become especially attractive to entrepreneurs, and corporations that deal in rubles and within Russia.

The statement comes a week after Visa and MasterCard temporarily stopped servicing a number of Russian banks that included Bank Rossiya. On Thursday President Vladimir Putin said Russia would create its own payment system, like those operating in China and Japan.

The expanded US list of sanctioned Russians now includes the main shareholder of Bank Rossiya (30.3 percent) Yuri Kovalchuk.