The head of VTB, Andrei Kostin, said that the bank suffered annual losses due to Western sanctions, and also due to the fact that the Russians withdrew $ 26 billion from their accounts in the first two weeks after the start of the “special operation” (as he continues to call the war in Ukraine). He called these data on the air of "Russia-24", he is quoted by "Interfax".
“The main thing on which we received losses is that in the period from February 24 to March 10, until decisions were made to limit the free distribution of funds in foreign currency to the population, $ 26 billion was withdrawn from our accounts” .
The bank did not have such funds and was forced to buy foreign currency on the market at a rate that then exceeded 101 rubles per dollar, Kostin explained. According to him, at that time, the actions of the bank helped to ensure the stability of the banking sector, avoid panic and freeze the situation. At the same time, VTB had an agreement with the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, which was supposed to help in providing dollar liquidity. But the Central Bank itself then fell under sanctions, Kostin called it force majeure.
On March 9, shortly after the start of the war in Ukraine, the Central Bank banned banks from exchanging cash rubles for foreign currency for citizens. At the same time, it was allowed to change the currency into rubles without restrictions. Only $10,000 could be withdrawn from the old currency account (they promised to pay the rest in rubles). The rule was valid until September 9th. The introduction of restrictions provoked a collapse of the ruble against the dollar and the euro, as well as in the stock market.
In 2022, among the Russian acquiring banks that fell under Western sanctions due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, there were Sberbank, VTB, Alfa-Bank and Promsvyazbank, the largest in Europe. Against this background, Sber announced that it was entering the Crimean market - before that, it was afraid of Western sanctions and refused to work on the annexed peninsula. On January 21, 2023, almost 9 years after the annexation of Crimea, Sberbank ATMs installed in special cars started operating on the peninsula.