SWIFT software producer stops working with two  Russian banks

An office of the Russian National Commercial Bank in Simferopol, occupied Crimea. Photo: newstes.ru 

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Finastra, a company which owns the software used for SWIFT banking transactions, has ceased cooperation with Russian banks under sanctions, the Russian outlet Vedomosti wrote citing two sources who know this from Finastra and the banks.

According to them, this software is used by two such banks: the Russian National Commercial Bank (RNKB), which works in occupied Crimea, and Tempbank, which introduced a temporary administration.

Finastra, whose business is largely concentrated in the United States and Canada, told its Russian distributor, Finnet, that it will cease working with these banks from August 31, said one of Vedomosti‘s interlocutors.

There are several software options for working with SWIFT, he continues. In Russia, software from Finastra and SWIFT itself (Alliance Access) is used. According to the other, most banks in Russia and the world use software from SWIFT.

The bank can switch to another interface for access to SWIFT and make technical adjustments, which will cost several thousands of dollars. The banks need to do this by August 31 so they are not cut off from SWIFT while moving to the new software, the first interlocutor adds, the outlet wrote.

Due to uniform standards and wide coverage, SWIFT allows banks and companies to carry out financial transactions around the world. There are other ways to do this in Russia, but there are no alternatives to SWIFT for international transactions.

The Bank of Russia is a system-forming bank in occupied Crimea and operates only in Russia, said a representative of the bank, adding that it does not make payments through Western credit organizations.

According to him, the bank uses the settlement system of the Russian Central Bank.

“The business of RNKB and its clients is not affected by the termination of relations with Finastra,” added the representative of the RNKB.

He did not specify whether the RNKB will switch to other software.

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Representatives of Finnet and SWIFT refused to comment. The representatives of Finastra and Tempbank did not respond to the media request.

Two weeks ago, Russian media reported that Tempbank was allegedly disconnected from SWIFT because the bank and its top management were subject to US sanctions through cooperation with Syria and Iran.

According to three interlocutors, it was only about the termination of cooperation with Finastra, and not about disconnection of the bank.

Disconnecting Russia from SWIFT had been discussed in the EU Parliament as an additional sanctions measure against Russia, which is waging a low-scale proxy war in Ukraine’s Donbas region for the fourth year in a row.

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