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Wall Street banks Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase are pulling out of Russia

Goldman Sachs says it's winding down its operations in Russia, Wall Street's first major departure from the country.
Richard Drew
Goldman Sachs says it's winding down its operations in Russia, Wall Street's first major departure from the country.

Updated March 10, 2022 at 5:24 PM ET

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase are shuttering their operations in Russia, two weeks after the country first invaded Ukraine.

The moves marks Wall Street's first major departures from Russia, joining a growing list of retailers, oil companies, cultural events and sporting competitions to suspend operations in the country.

"Goldman Sachs is winding down its business in Russia in compliance with regulatory and licensing requirements," a spokesperson told NPR in a statement. "We are focused on supporting our clients across the globe in managing or closing out pre-existing obligations in the market and ensuring the wellbeing of our people."

Bloomberg broke the news on Thursday, days after it reported that a portion of the investment bank's staff was temporarily relocating from Moscow to Dubai. Goldman Sachs has about 80 employees in Russia.

"In our role as market-maker standing between buyers and sellers, we are helping our clients reduce their risk in Russian securities which trade in the secondary market, not seeking to speculate," the spokesperson added.

JPMorgan Chase announced later in the day that it's also closing down its operations in Russia.

"In compliance with directives by governments around the world, we have been actively unwinding Russian business and have not been pursuing any new business in Russia," a spokesperson said, in a statement.

Like Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase continues to conduct limited business in the country.

Other financial firms are also looking to leave Russia

Other financial services companies say they're working on exit strategies, too.

The Western Union Company announced on Thursday that it is suspending operations in Russia and Belarus "in light of the ongoing tragic impact of Russia's prolonged assault on Ukraine."

The company said in a statement that it had reached that decision after engaging in extensive dialogue with various stakeholders and evaluating both "internal and external considerations, including the consequences for our valued teammates, partners, and customers."

It added that its teams have been working to support Ukrainian customers in recent weeks by donating to humanitarian relief efforts and offering fee-free money transfer services.

Citigroup said on Wednesday that it's operating its consumer banking business in Russia "on a more limited basis given current circumstances and obligations."

The move comes a year afterCiti announced that it would exit its consumer banking business in Russia and a dozen other countries.

Edward Skyler, Citi's head of Global Public Affairs, said it continues working towards that effort while supporting corporate clients in Russia. Those include American and European multi-national corporations that are suspending or unwinding their business, he added.

"With the Russian economy in the process of being disconnected from the global financial system as a consequence of the invasion, we continue to assess our operations in the country," Skyler said.

He said Citi's top priority is the safety of its colleagues and families, and that the company is supporting humanitarian efforts on the ground in Ukraine. It's donating $1 million from its charitable foundation to relief organizations, and announced on Wednesday that it will match contributions from Citi employees.

NPR's David Gura contributed to this report.

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Rachel Treisman (she/her) is a writer and editor for the Morning Edition live blog, which she helped launch in early 2021.