Russian Central Bank Bails Out Otkritie Bank, Country's Largest Private Lender

It's been a while since the world had any bank solvency concerns; in fact, ever since the thrice botched bail out of Monte Paschi and the debacle that was Banco Popular, it has been largely smooth sailing. That changed moments ago, when the Russian central bank announced on Tuesday afternoon it has bailed out Otkritie Bank, which according to Interfax, "ranks 1st among privately-owned banks and 4th by assets among banking groups in Russia."

Otkritie Bank's clients include (as of 2016), 29,000 corporations 163,000 SMEs and 3.4 million individuals, including high net worth individuals. The Bank has 400 offices across Russia.

From Reuters:


Following the bailout, all of the existing owners' stakes will be substantially diluted if not wiped out. The bank's current owners and executives are said to cooperate with the regulator.

As the central bank's press release adds "the bank is a systemically important credit organization, it occupies the 8th place in terms of assets. The Bank's infrastructure includes 22 branches and more than 400 internal structural subdivisions."

And since we live in a world where bailouts are bullish, this happened:


Otkritie Bank was featured prominently in a January FT article which laid out the previously unknown details of the late-2014 Rosneft bailout, in which Otkritie played a critical role:

As 2014 drew to a close, Rosneft, Russia’s state-run oil company, faced a dire situation. Plummeting global oil prices, a rapidly devaluing rouble and western sanctions left the company with no obvious way to refinance the $18bn debt that was due to mature in just a few weeks.


With little room to manoeuvre, Rosneft set in motion one of the most audacious trades in Russia’s short capitalist history — and nearly brought down the economy in the process. The company quietly issued Rbs625bn in bonds to an unnamed intermediary, which then used them as collateral to obtain reverse repo loans — deals to purchase securities with an agreement to sell them later at a higher price — from the Russian central bank. The intermediary then passed on the dollars to Rosneft, allowing it to raise short-term capital.


Currency investors thought that Igor Sechin, Rosneft’s powerful chief executive, was effectively shorting the rouble and they pushed it to record lows. “The deal negatively stirred up the market,” tweeted Alexei Kudrin, the former finance minister. “Extremely bad timing.” Later, Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, gave Mr Sechin a public dressing-down.


The deal nevertheless showed that it was possible for Russia to circumvent western sanctions imposed over the Ukrainian conflict by turning to little-known private banks like Otkritie, which bought the Rosneft bonds — effectively making the companies special-purpose vehicles for Russia Inc.

In a nutshell the Russian central bank had used Otkritie as a funding SPV as it was exempt from the US sanctions at the time.

In effect, Otkritie helped Rosneft inadvertently tank the rouble, then made an even bigger bet that Russia would not default.

At the time, Otkritie’s management said the trade was the jewel in the crown of a five-year plan to become what it calls Russia’s largest “financial corporation” by acquiring distressed assets, borrowing heavily to buy oligarchs’ banks, and aggressively trading securities — in large part with cheap state funding.

Interestingly, as the FT wrote at the start of 2017, "the breakneck expansion at Otkritie is raising fears that it is creating risks the state will eventually have to deal with. “It’s not a business, it’s all relations,” a senior Russian investor says. “They want to become too big to fail.” Adds a senior Russian banker: “They are not a bank, they are a very risky hedge fund. Why should this be done with regulators’ [the central bank’s] money?”"

Almost three years later, the bank's quest to become too big to fail, well, failed. It was not immediately clear why or what caused the bank's collapse - did a rogue trade finally get a margin call or was it something more sinister -  although the possibility that Ruben Aganbegyan, the ambitious CEO of Otkritie Financial Corp, may have said or done something that displeased Putin, is high to quite high.

Finally, some amusing trivia: Otkritie's predecessor was the aptly named Shchit-bank:

* * *

Here is the full google-translated bailout statement from the Russian Central Bank:

The Bank of Russia took a decision to implement measures aimed at improving the financial stability of PJSC Bank Financial Corporation Discovery (Moscow) (the Bank).


Within the framework of these measures, the Bank of Russia is expected to participate as the main investor using the funds of the Banking Sector Consolidation Fund.


Implementation of measures to improve the financial stability of the Bank is carried out in cooperation with the existing owners and managers of the Bank, which will ensure the continuity of its activities in the banking services market and subsequently carry out all the necessary activities with a view to further development of the Bank's activities.


The bank will continue to operate as usual, fulfilling its obligations and making new deals. The Bank of Russia will provide financial support to the Bank, guaranteeing the continuity of its activities.


By Order of the Bank of Russia No. OD-2469 of August 29, 2017, in accordance with Articles 189.25, 189.26, 189.31 of Federal Law No. 127-FZ of October 26, 2002, a temporary administration for the management of PJSC Bank Financial Corporation Discovery was appointed. The staff of the temporary administration included employees of the Bank of Russia and LLC MC FSSS.


A moratorium on the satisfaction of creditors' claims is not introduced. The mechanism for converting funds from creditors into shares (bail-in) does not apply.


Financial organizations and specialized services included in the Bank Group, including the Public Joint Stock Company Insurance Company Rosgosstrakh, Public Joint Stock Company National Bank TRUST, Public Joint-Stock Company Rosgosstrakh Bank, JSC NPF Lukoil-guarantor, JSC NPF of Power Industry ", JSC" NPF "RGS", JSC "Opening Broker", as well as "Tochka" and Rokketbank will continue to operate in normal mode and serve customers.


The bank was established on December 15, 1992. The bank is a systemically important credit organization, it occupies the 8th place in terms of assets. The Bank's infrastructure includes 22 branches and more than 400 internal structural subdivisions.


Son of Captain Nemo Tue, 08/29/2017 - 10:54 Permalink

"George Soros" first getting the Federal Reserve to freeze it's assets abroad in Western banks... Now pulling his money out of that Russian bank... As the Russian Central Bank just SMILES and looks on controlling MORE OF IT!!!

OUT with the "bad" IN with the "good"!

Maestro Maestro Tue, 08/29/2017 - 10:27 Permalink

Why do the Russians sell valuable and real Russian oil for the intrinsically worthless and unlawful dollars of their supposed rival, the US of A, and thus prop up the petrodollar hence aid and abet their enemy the Americans?

Why do Russians agree to only issue their own currency the Rouble, only if they obtain dollars by selling precious commodities?

What else but dollars do the Russians get when they make arms sales to India or Egypt? (Why do the Russians sell helicopters to Egypt designed specifically for the French-made warships that the Egyptians received instead of the Russians who had paid for them?)

Why was there never any fighting between the Russians and the Americans?

It's because the Americans and the Russians are ruled by the same Tribe who own and control the Fed, the ECB, COMEX, and LBMA.

Why do the Russians never bring up the illegality of US military bases in Syria and demand that the Americans leave?

Son of Captain Nemo Maestro Maestro Tue, 08/29/2017 - 10:39 Permalink

"Why do the Russians never bring up the illegality of US military bases in Syria and demand that the Americans leave?"

Because Maestro they know what a psychopathic killer lunatic "deluxe" looks like... And more importantly what a LOSER in everything it does before it's ready to commit it's own suicide ( is capable of!

In reply to by Maestro Maestro

Ghordius Tue, 08/29/2017 - 10:32 Permalink

from… May 2016"How did Russia manage to deleverage so rapidly without a credit crunch? One key reason was the country’s central bank, which ensured that credit was available to reputable borrowers. In November 2014 the CBR introduced its 12-month repo programme, which provided year-long dollar loans to Russia’s banks. That gave banks the ability to refinance dollar-denominated debt, crucial if Russia’s banking system was to replace external sources of lending to Russian firms. Several Russian banks, such as Otkritie, have expanded over the past two years by taking advantage of this business."note that in the greater scheme of things, it's all still "only" shockwaves from the dollarzone issues that led to so many things, including perhaps even ZH

There Tue, 08/29/2017 - 11:01 Permalink

What does this mean for the 4 Huge and Medium size Russian banks that the Trump organization is in bed with?Will they continue to lend to him while the organization is in default like Deutsche bank does?Nothing to see here.

HominyTwin Tue, 08/29/2017 - 11:16 Permalink

Yes, but the current share holders will be wiped out, and probably management changed, and no bonuses. In the US, tax payers and the CB will make damn sure current owners get their moneyback, and bonuses are paid on time. This is America!

Horse Pizzle (not verified) Tue, 08/29/2017 - 11:33 Permalink

Russia makes good pig iron, and vacuum tube radios.  Russia farms with horses.

Royotoyo Tue, 08/29/2017 - 12:17 Permalink

This had nothing to do with Putin, Aganbegayan was just a functionary, Belyaev was the real owner.  They've had a giant hole in their balance sheet for years, which they covered up using tricky REPO trades.  When the Russian Central Bank cracked down on the REPOs, corporate clients started to withdraw their funds and thus a bank run began.  At that point, the CB had no choice but to step in.  Should be interesting to see if they eventually honor the subordinated debt, I imagine the equity will be completely wiped out.

just the tip Tue, 08/29/2017 - 13:35 Permalink

i'm wondering if any of those loans to venezuela are going through any of the these SPV?  someone may be betting on loan payback, someone may be betting on default and PDSVA partial takeover.  which way is putin betting?

assistedliving (not verified) Tue, 08/29/2017 - 14:52 Permalink

What?  Shit Bank you thought you were LTCM?  You need NOBLE pedigrees Komrades