The conflict in Ukraine has caused many of Wall Street’s biggest banks to begin winding down their business in Russia, but they could still face billions of dollars in losses as they reduce exposure and divest from Russian firms amid a barrage of Western sanctions.
While it will likely be a drawn-out process for banks to unwind their operations in Russia, some firms have higher exposure than others—meaning greater potential losses if borrowers default on a payment—but for most, Russian investments still represent a small portion of cumulative assets.
JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon said in an annual shareholder letter on Monday that the bank was “not worried” about direct exposure to Russia, though he admitted, “We could still lose about $1 billion over time.”
Citigroup will be among the most impacted on Wall Street, however, with total exposure to Russia amounting to almost $10 billion at the end of 2021—and the bank could lose nearly half of that in a worst-case scenario, it said last month.
Goldman Sachs, meanwhile, has said that it had Russian credit exposure of around $650 million by the end of 2021, but losses from divested assets should be “immaterial,” sources told Reuters last month.
Deutsche Bank has around $1.5 billion of exposure in Russia, while Credit Suisse, which previously reported credit exposure of around $1.7 billion, has more recently disclosed tens of billions of dollars managed for Russian clients which may be at risk.
European banks may be hit harder by having more vulnerability to declining Russian assets, but most US banks have little exposure to Russian markets in the first place, having already scaled back operations substantially following Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.