Raiffeisenbank Starts Charging Fee in Russia for Servicing Accounts in Euros

According to material on the bank’s website, the Russian affiliate of Austrian Raiffeisenbank will begin charging a fee for servicing accounts in euros from September 1, according to Vedomosti. Deposits are exempt from the commission.

The monthly fee is 0.1 percent of the excess amount. If the customer has a premium rate, the commission is applied to any “extra” sum above 30,000 euros.

All other accounts are taxed more than € 5,000. For example, if a customer has a “Gold” service package and the balance of accounts in euros at the end of the month is 22,000 euros, the bank will charge a fee of 0.1 percent, or 17 euros, for any amount above 5,000 euros (17,000). In any case, it will not be less than 10 euros or more than 100 euros in size.

Even if the total amount on all ruble accounts on the final day of the month is more than the total balance in euros, the fee will not be levied. To do so, convert the amount of account balances in euros on the final calendar day of the month into rubles at the Central Bank’s exchange rate on the first day of this month.

For example, if the total of account balances in euros is 10,000, the total in rubles is 1,000,000, and the Central Bank rate is 87, 10,000 euros equals 870,000 rubles. As a result, the fee for servicing accounts in euros will not be charged in this instance.

Raiffeisenbank discusses the European Central Bank’s negative interest rates (ECB). For the last six years, the ECB has maintained negative interest rates on its deposits; since September 2019, the rate has remained at minus 0.5 percent. Foreign banks, like the ECB, may establish negative interest rates for its depositors, but this is not permitted in Russia by law.

As a consequence, the Central Bank said in 2019 that owing to legal limitations that “do not correspond to current market realities,” banks are compelled to give customers better conditions than they had when putting the euro.

Placing euros in correspondent accounts with European banks costs our banks an average of minus 0.6 percent per year, and if we’re talking about individual funds, you also have to make payments to the obligatory reserve fund and the deposit insurance fund, bankers told Vedomosti.

Several major banks, including Gazprombank, Alfa-Bank, and St. Petersburg, imposed fees for servicing accounts in euros a year ago. For example, at Alfa Bank, a client pays a 0.1 percent fee (but no less than 10 euros and no more than 100 euros) if their balances reach 50,000 euros for premium clients and 5,000 euros for others. If the amount of balances on ruble accounts exceeds ten times the amount of balances in euros, the fee is waived. Since 2019, Avangard Bank has started deducting 1900 rubles per month from account holders with balances more than 10,000 euros and 0.1 percent of the amount from those with balances greater than 100,000 euros. Citibank charges a 0.4 percent annual fee on accounts worth more than EUR 100,000.

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