Deutsche Bank is close to shutting down its operations in Russia, with reports that remaining staff have been offered severance packages.
In June 2022, in reaction to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the bank began to offer staff in Russia the opportunity to relocate as it wound down operations in the country.
It offered about 1,500 staff at centres in Moscow and St Petersburg an opportunity to move to Germany, along with their families. These centres support global trading and corporate banking systems.
According to a Financial Times report, the remaining 500 staff are being offered severance packages. It said no formal decision had been made to shut the operations, but that insiders said it would happen.
A statement from the bank said: “We continue to de-risk our operations in the Russia technology centre and have expanded the options available to our employees to include leaving by mutual agreement alongside relocation and remaining on the platform.”
It added that this was “in full compliance with relevant Russian legislation”.
When Russia attacked Ukraine in February 2022, Deutsche Bank said it tested its resilience amid the potential loss of a technology centre in Russia.
The bank, like most large multinationals, uses a global delivery network for IT, which reduces its exposure to risks in one particular region. “Russia is just one of multiple tech centres that we have around the world,” it said at the time.
When Deutsche Bank first announced the offer to Russian staff to relocate to Germany, Peter Schumacher, CEO of Germany-based management consultancy The Value Leadership Group, said the bank recognised that retaining its Russian IT staff was vital to maintain its competitive advantage.
“In today’s tight talent market, compounded by the great pressure Deutsche Bank is facing from fintech challengers, retaining IT top talent is critical to the firm’s ability to innovate and maintain its competitive position,” he said.
Schumacher said the move would motivate staff who transferred to Berlin from Russia. “Getting the chance to leave Russia must be giving them a lot of confidence in their own personal futures, and also that of Deutsche Bank,” he added.
“By relocating their Russian IT team to Berlin, the heart of Germany’s startup ecosystem, Deutsche Bank has taken a more imaginative approach that will enable the bank to gain many innovation-oriented opportunities that surely were not available in Russia, even at the best of times.”
He said Deutsche Bank’s new Berlin centre would also be a major boost to the city’s tech and innovation ecosystem.
According to Deutsche Bank CTO Bernd Leukert, speaking when the bank announced its latest tech centre in the German capital: “Growing our presence in Berlin [through the tech centre] will attract talent, add high-quality developers to our platform, and build up critical artificial intelligence expertise to help redefine banking and contribute to our sustainable growth goals.”