MOSCOW, September 06, /ITAR-TASS/. Russia’s VTB bank’s internal settlements depend on the international SWIFT system by no more than 10%, the bank’s CEO Andrei Kostin said on Saturday.
“Internal settlements, which make up about 90% of all our settlements, can be made through the Central Bank’s system that can fully substitute for SWIFT. There will be no problems there,” he told Rossiya 24 television.
The bank has its know-how that will allow it to keep external settlements going if SWIFT blocks them, Kostin said.
“We have our own countermeasures. A payment can be made by telephone, of course, even though it’s costly and takes a lot of effort. But there are systems that can solve this problem,” he said.
Kostin stressed that the termination of SWIFT services for Russian banks “is not just an unfriendly but a hostile step aimed at causing serious damage to the economy”.
On August 29, media reports said that Great Britain had suggested blocking Russia’s access to SWIFT as part of a new round of sanctions against it. The reports could not be confirmed.
Meanwhile, the Bank of Russia and relevant ministries have drafted a law on the creation of a national system similar to SWIFT.
SWIFT stands for the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication supplies secure messaging services and interface software to wholesale financial entities. It transmits 1.8 billion messages a year and handles more than $6 trillion worth of payment orders every day. It embraces more than 10,000 financial institutions in 210 countries.
Also Kostin said that VTB is hoping to make major contracts in yuan.
“I am keeping an eye on the yuan. We have done some thorough work and I think we will get some big contracts shortly both in roubles and yuan,” he said.