Following similar actions by other banks in Estonia, LHV Pank has announced it will stop accepting payments from banks in the Russian Federation, in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine starting February 24.
The ban will be in place from August 9 and will also cover banks based in Belarus.
Sanctions and other restrictions put in place by other institutions which mediate payment to and from Russian and Belarusian banks have made such transactions complex and risky, LHV stated on its website.
As a result, LHV has opted to stop accepting inward payments from Russian and Belarusian banks. The bank had already barred outward transactions to such banks.
"The restriction applies to all currencies, and also to subsidiaries of Russian and Belarusian banks which operate, or may be registered, outside of Russia and Belarus. Payments received from August 9, 2022 will be returned to the payor," the statemen tread.
Exemptions may apply to inward payments from Russian and Belarusian banks, if they relate to national interest, or to societal benefit – for instance in the case of pensions.
Among the major banks in Estonia, Swedbank and SEB stopped making bank transfers to Russia some time ago and are also not accepting payments from the countries in question; LHV had been accepting some inward payments hitherto.
None of the EU sanctions packages agreed so far require the suspension of bank transfers, meaning the banks made the decisions themselves and for similar reasons, ERR reports.
SEB, LHV and Swedbank told ERR in mid-July that the suspension of payments to Russia and Belarus impacted only a very small proportion of their customer base. For instance, in 2021, just 0.9 percent of SEB's total payments were made to Russian Federation payees, the bank says.
Editor: Andrew Whyte