JPMorgan Joins BofA, Citi in Reducing Exposure to Russia

JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup Inc., the three biggest U.S. banks, reduced Russian assets last quarter amid the crisis in Ukraine.

JPMorgan’s exposure to Russia dropped 13 percent to $4.7 billion as of March 31 from the end of 2013 and Citigroup’s fell 9 percent to $9.4 billion, according to regulatory filings yesterday from the New York-based companies. Bank of America said May 1 that it reduced the firm’s exposure 22 percent.

While political tensions in Russia and Ukraine haven’t yet had a material impact on results, “future developments, including the imposition of any additional sanctions against Russian entities, business sectors, individuals or otherwise, could negatively impact the business,” Citigroup said in its filing.

Ukraine started a special operation yesterday to dislodge pro-separatist forces in Slovyansk in the Donetsk region, defying calls by Russian President Vladimir Putin to withdraw troops from the largely Russian-speaking east. The European Union and U.S. have blamed Putin for fomenting unrest and are threatening to expand sanctions against Russia, as the eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions slip out of the Ukrainian goverment’s control.

“Russian intervention in the Ukraine during the first quarter of 2014 significantly increased geopolitical tensions in Central and Eastern Europe,” Charlotte, North Carolina-based Bank of America said in its filing. “The situation remains fluid with potential for further escalation of geopolitical tensions, increased severity of sanctions against Russian interests, and possible Russian counter-sanctions.”

JPMorgan is “closely monitoring events in Russia and the impact of current and potential new sanctions, and the uncertainty this situation is creating in the markets,” the company said in the filing.

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