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The logo of Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) is pictured above the entrance of the bank's headquarters building on Feb. 1, 2023 in Vienna, Austria. (Photo: Heinz-Peter Bader/Getty Images)
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Austria's Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) said on April 18 that it expects a request by European regulators to accelerate the wind-down of business in Russia.

The bank said the European Central Bank (ECB) will soon ask Raiffeisen to significantly decrease loans to customers in Russia by 2026, specifically, by 65% when compared to the third quarter of last year.

The Vienna-based bank group, the largest remaining Western bank in Russia, has been under increasing pressure since the start of the all-out war to scale down its activities in the country.

Raiffeisen said it aims to follow through with these requirements and eventually sell its Russian subsidiary. The move by the ECB could thwart the bank's hopes of leaving Russia with money in hand, Bloomberg noted.

"The ECB's draft requirements go far beyond RBI's own plans to further reduce the Russian business and may adversely impact RBI's options to sell AO Raiffeisenbank," the bank's press release read.

The ECB's spokesperson declined to comment.

As the West seeks to increase economic pressure on Moscow over its aggression in Ukraine, the ECB urged Raiffeisen already back in March 2023 to devise an exit strategy from Russia.

As Austria's second-largest bank lender, Raiffeisen plays a significant role in Russia's financial system and is one of only two foreign banks classified as "systemically important" by the Russian central bank.

EU preparing 14th sanctions package against Russia this spring
“We have started preparing a 14th sanctions package, which should be adopted in spring,” Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis said at the “Standing with Ukraine: European Parliament’s legacy for the sanctions regime” conference of the Socialists and Democrats parliamentary group in Brussels.
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