Russia’s Sberbank exploring providing banking services in Bangladesh

(Reuters) – Russia’s largest lender Sberbank said it was exploring the possibility of providing banking services for clients working with companies in Bangladesh, as Russian businesses look east for international expansion.

Sberbank has already held two rounds of talks with the South Asian country’s central bank about opening a branch there, Bangladesh news site reported on Wednesday.

The Russian bank has also just received permission from India to set up an IT office in Bangalore, where it has been operating a branch since 2010. The hub will focus on IT development and will employ up to 200 specialists, Anatoly Popov, deputy chairman of Sberbank’s executive board, said in a statement.

Sberbank was targeted with sweeping Western sanctions soon after Moscow invaded Ukraine in February 2022, withdrawing completely from the European market with the sale of its Austrian subsidiary last month.

Like many Russian companies, Sberbank has been pivoting towards Asia, where few countries have joined in with sanctions against Moscow, as it looks to find new trading partners.

“Sberbank is exploring all possibilities and formats for providing banking services at the request of Russian clients doing business with companies in Bangladesh,” Popov said.

Russia is looking for alternative means of trade to the dollar. A Sberbank delegation has already travelled to Dhaka to discuss opening a branch there, Bangladeshi media reported.

(Reporting by Alexander Marrow; Editing by David Evans and David Holmes)