HSBC in talks to sell Russian lending business to Expobank -source

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FILE PHOTO: A man walks past a HSBC bank branch in the City of London

LONDON (Reuters) – HSBC is in advanced talks to sell its Russian corporate lending business to Expobank, a source with knowledge of the matter told Reuters, as many major banks exit the country.

Several of the world’s top financial services companies have moved to sell or dramatically reduce their business interests in Russia since it invaded Ukraine.

Moscow’s invasion, which President Vladimir Putin describes as a “special military operation”, has triggered one of the most extensive international sanctions packages to date.

HSBC’s corporate lending business, which offers a range of corporate banking and investment banking services to domestic and multinational customers in Russia, employed around 200 people on the eve of the Feb. 24 invasion, HSBC Chief Financial Officer Ewen Stevenson said at the time.

Russian lender Expobank declined to comment on the talks.

Among other banks, France’s Societe Generale has sold its Rosbank unit to oligarch Vladimir Potanin, while Italy’s UniCredit is exploring options for the future of its Russian business, which employs around 4,000 staff.

Bloomberg reported the HSBC talks earlier on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Lawrence White and Sinead Cruise, Editing by Iain Withers and Alexander Smith)