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VTB turns off phone lines for European clients after large number of inquiries

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The logo of VTB bank is seen at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) in Saint Petersburg, Russia, June 3, 2021. REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – The online-only consumer banking division of Russia’s VTB in Europe has turned off its phones due to high call volume and is asking customers to email instead, according to a notice on its website on Monday.

Reuters reported last week that regulators are preparing for a possible closure of the European arm of Russia’s second-largest bank amid growing concerns about the impact on it of Western sanctions following the Ukraine invasion.

The German regulator BaFin has banned the bank from taking new customers, and VTB has sought to reassure customers that it is stable and fully operational.

In Monday’s notice on its website, VTB said it has tried to be “personally” available, but “due to the large number of inquiries, this is hardly possible anymore”.

“For this reason, we have decided to temporarily discontinue our availability by telephone and ask you to send us your inquiries by e-mail,” the bank said.

VTB did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

The bank has more than 4 billion euros ($4.36 billion) of deposits in Europe, principally in Germany.

($1 = 0.9179 euros)

VTB turns off phone lines for European clients after large number of inquiries

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