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Raiffeisen Bank’s job postings in Russia spark questions about its exit pledge

The FT reports that Austria’s Raiffeisen Bank has posted numerous job ads in Russia, suggesting plans to expand there, despite earlier statements about intending to exit the Russian market.
A logo of the Raiffeisen bank in front of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Moscow. File photo: TASS
A logo of the Raiffeisen bank in front of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Moscow. File photo: TASS
Raiffeisen Bank’s job postings in Russia spark questions about its exit pledge

Raiffeisen Bank International, an Austrian lender, has recently posted over 2,400 job advertisements in Russia, including nearly 1,500 for sales management and customer service roles, according to the Financial Times. The bank’s recruitment activities in Russia appear to contradict Raiffeisen’s repeated statements that it intends to shrink and sell its business in Russia following the country’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

The Financial Times found these 2,400 job offers posted by Raiffeisen Bank since December, which indicate ambitious plans for growth in the Russian market. One posting by the bank’s medium-sized business unit in Russia stated its “key goals are a multiple expansion of the active client base and stable double-digit income growth.” Other ads also mentioned plans to “actively expand our base of corporate clients” and “grow active customer base.”

According to FT, Raiffeisen, which is the Western bank with the largest operations in Russia, said the advertisements were released using outdated information and do not reflect the bank’s current plans to reduce its Russian business. The bank claimed the large number of postings was due to employee retention issues, as it needs to pay high salaries and bonuses to keep sales staff.

Raiffeisen said in a statement in response to FT’s inquiry:

“The reduction of the Russian business will continue in 2024. Raiffeisen continued to work on a potential transaction, a sale or a spin-off, which would result in the de-consolidation of Raiffeisenbank Russia from the group.”

However, Raiffeisen’s headcount in Russia has increased by 6.6% to 9,942 employees as of December 2023, since 2021, while other European banks have reduced their local staff, as per FT.

Last December, Austria endorsed the 12th package of European Union sanctions on Russia only after Ukraine removed Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) from its symbolic blacklist of “international sponsors of war,” aimed at pressuring companies doing business in Russia. The bank was the only Austrian company on the Ukrainian list.

In early April, activists rallied outside the Wiener Stadthalle arena in Vienna, urging Raiffeisen Bank’s board members to shut down operations in Russia. The rally, part of a WeMove Europe petition organized with the B4Ukraine Coalition and BankTrack, had amassed over 50,000 signatures by 4 April.

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