finance industry

Russia central bank will not name banks linked to SWIFT alternative

Reuters
Russia central bank will not name banks linked to SWIFT alternative

GAZPROMBANK. A man walks past a branch of Gazprombank in Moscow, Russia, March 31, 2022.

Maxim Shemetov/Reuters

The list of organizations connected to the System for Transfer of Financial Messages, which was developed by Russia's central bank, will not be revealed

Russia’s central bank said on Tuesday, April 19, it would no longer publish the names of banks connected to Moscow’s alternative to the SWIFT payments network, as Russia grapples with sanctions.

Several Russian banks have been banned from SWIFT after Moscow began what it calls “a special military operation” in Ukraine on February 24 as part of wider western penalties designed to isolate Russia from global markets over the invasion.

Russian banks affected could move to a messaging system developed by Russia’s central bank, the System for Transfer of Financial Messages (SPFS). Last year, the central bank was reported as saying domestic interbank traffic could easily be transferred to this platform.

“Under the current conditions we have made the decision not to reveal the list of organizations connected to SPFS. Still, this list is available for users of the system,” the central bank told Reuters in an emailed comment.

A majority of Russian banks, along with 52 foreign organizations from 12 countries, had access to SPFS, Russian central bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina said on Monday, April 18.

In March, the central bank said around 400 users were connected to SPFS, which Moscow set up several years ago amid concerns that it could lose access to SWIFT after the annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

Russia called earlier this month on the other BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) emerging economies to extend the use of national currencies and integrate payment systems.

The central bank has scaled down its public activity, including suspending publication of external debt data and a breakdown of gold and foreign exchange reserves.

Earlier in April, it also temporarily stopped publishing data on foreign trade on a monthly basis in the first such suspension since 1997. – Rappler.com