Georgian branch of Russian state-owned VTB Bank will offload deposits and debt portfolio of small and medium enterprises to Liberty Bank, the National Bank of Georgia said yesterday.
The Georgian central bank announced the transfer will take place gradually, starting from March 3.
Vasil Khodeli, General Director of the Liberty Bank, has stated the company is also willing to hire VTB Bank employees who worked on the SME portfolio.
Liberty Bank is the third-largest commercial bank in Georgia, following TBC and Bank of Georgia. It holds GEL 3 billion (USD 930 million) in assets.
The transfer comes as the VTB Bank has been hit with Western sanctions over Russia’s war against Ukraine.
While Tbilisi has not imposed its own sanctions on Russia, the National Bank of Georgia acted in compliance with the Western sanctions to bar VTB Bank from making transactions in U.S. Dollars, British Pounds and Euros, among other currencies.
Following the development, the Russian-state owned bank began offloading its consumer portfolio to China-linked Basisbank on February 28.