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Russia Won’t Release Names of Banks on SWIFT Alternative

Several Russian banks have been banned from SWIFT after Moscow invaded Ukraine on February 24 as part of wider western penalties

Russian rouble
Russia's central bank said the ban on assets below $550,000 was to protect smaller investors from potential problems with freezing access to capital. File photo: AFP


Russia’s central bank said on Tuesday it would no longer publish the names of banks connected to Moscow’s alternative to the SWIFT payments network, as Moscow grapples with sanctions.

Several Russian banks have been banned from SWIFT after Moscow invaded Ukraine on February 24 as part of wider western penalties designed to isolate Russia from global markets over the invasion.

Russian banks affected could move to a messaging system developed by Russia’s central bank, the System for Transfer of Financial Messages (SPFS).

Last year, the central bank was reported as saying domestic interbank traffic could easily be transferred to this platform.

“Under the current conditions we have made the decision not to reveal the list of organisations connected to SPFS. Still, this list is available for users of the system,” the central bank told Reuters in an emailed comment.

A majority of Russian banks, along with 52 foreign organisations from 12 countries, had access to SPFS, Central Bank of the Russian Federation governor Elvira Nabiullina said on Monday.

In March, the central bank said around 400 users were connected to SPFC, which Moscow set up several years ago amid concerns that it could lose access to SWIFT after the annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

Russia called earlier this month on the other BRIC nations  – Brazil, India and China – to extend the use of national currencies and integrate payment systems.

The central bank has scaled down its public activity, including suspending publication of external debt data and a breakdown of gold and foreign exchange reserves.

Earlier in April, it also temporarily stopped publishing data on foreign trade on a monthly basis in the first such suspension since 1997.


  • Reuters, with additional editing by George Russell





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George Russell

George Russell is a freelance writer and editor based in Hong Kong who has lived in Asia since 1996. His work has been published in the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, New York Post, Variety, Forbes and the South China Morning Post.


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