(Reuters) – Citigroup Inc said on Friday its Russian unit had agreed to sell a portfolio of personal installment loans to commercial bank Uralsib, as the top U.S. lender seeks to exit the country and reduce its exposure to Russia .
The bank will also sell a wallet of credit card balances, if it gets customers’ consent.
Citi did not disclose financial details of the deal. The bank will not transfer any of its employees and branches to Uralsib under the agreement.
Private firm Uralsib, among Russia’s top 30 assets, also did not disclose the value of the deal, but said the loan book was of “significantly above market average” credit quality. , allowing the bank to increase its customer base in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
The deal comes as Russia this week banned transactions with the share capital of 45 banks, mostly units of Western and Asian lenders, including UniCredit, Raiffeisen and Citi itself, unless there is a special waiver from the Kremlin.
Russia’s Central Bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina, when asked about Citi’s deal with Uralsib, said in a Friday briefing that the ban only covered transactions with shareholder capital. She added that the criteria allowing such transactions have not yet been established.
“Until these criteria are established, work is ongoing on the decree. All factors will be taken into account,” Nabiullina said. “And as for the ability to sell assets, the executive order only applies to transactions with shares.”
Citi had agreed last year to shed its retail business in Russia as part of an overhaul led by chief executive Jane Fraser. The scope of the exit was widened in March to include its commercial banking activities after the February 24 invasion of Ukraine.
In August, the bank said it expected to incur about $170 million in charges over the next 18 months as it winds down its retail and business banking operations in the country.
Other major US banks, including Goldman Sachs Group Inc and JPMorgan Chase & Co, also left Russia after the country was hit by Western sanctions.
(Reporting by Niket Nishant in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta, Arun Koyyur and Jonathan Oatis)