Wall Street heads for the exit
Goldman Sachs yesterday became the first major global bank to say it was quitting Russia, followed shortly after by JPMorgan Chase. The Wall Street giants join a growing list of multinational companies that have pledged to stop doing business in Russia. “None of us can fail to see this for what it is: the invasion of a sovereign state,” David Solomon, Goldman’s C.E.O., wrote in a memo to employees.
Big U.S. banks had pulled back from Russia after its 2014 annexation of Crimea. The only major U.S. bank that kept a significant presence is Citigroup, which has about 3,000 employees there and previously said it had nearly $10 billion in exposure to Russia. Citi said on Wednesday that it would “assess our operations in the country”; it had put its consumer division in Russia up for sale last year.
Goldman’s presence in Russia is small in relation to the $1.5 trillion bank’s global operations: Its total credit exposure was $650 million at the end of 2021. The bank has about 80 employees in Russia and is arranging for the departures of those who have asked to leave. (Some have already moved to Dubai.)
JPMorgan said it was “unwinding Russian business” and wouldn’t pursue new ventures there. The bank, which holds assets for some clients in the country, has more than 100 workers there, but the business was not big enough to rank among its top 20 markets.