Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) is pursuing an obviously contradictory strategy in Russia. Although the bank has officially announced that it will reduce its business activities in Russia, the RBI's Moscow branch has published more than 2,400 job advertisements in Russia since December. This is reported by the Austrian newspaper “Der Standard”, citing the “Financial Times” (FT).

RBI chief announced “carefully managed exit” from Russia

“We are reconsidering our position in Russia,” RBI chief Johann Strobl said in March, even mentioning a “carefully managed exit” of Raiffeisenbank in Russia, but the numerous job advertisements, which spoke of an “expansion of the base of customers” and The active expansion of corporate customers speaks and paints a different picture.

In this context, the RBI has had to face criticism repeatedly in the past. On the sidelines of the general assembly on April 4, private organizations and NGOs demonstrated in front of the bank's headquarters in Vienna against the controversial compromise.

RBI spokesperson justifies fake ad with 'text modules'

When asked by “Der Standard”, RBI spokesman Christof Danz explained that the commitment to reduce the business remains unchanged. The job advertisements are due to a “high fluctuation among employees” and to keep the bank operational for potential buyers. The use of growth claims in advertisements was erroneous and misleading. The speaker attributed the formulations to pre-war automated text modules.

As a result, according to the Financial Times, the head of the RBI has launched an internal banking investigation to find out how this “alleged oversight” could have occurred. The relevant notifications are now being corrected.

However, the RBI is not only the subject of public criticism for the job advertisements: a controversial swap agreement with which the bank attempts to take its profits of around three billion euros out of Russia is sparking debate. This action could have serious consequences for the RBI, as “Der Standard” explains: if the business practice violates US sanctions, the United States could prevent Raiffeisenbank Bank International from continuing to operate in the United States.

RBI has almost 45,000 employees worldwide

RBI is a bigger player. According to its own information, the RBI had a total of 44,887 employees at the end of 2023. It serves 18.6 million customers in 1,519 branches. The total balance amounted to 198 billion euros.