MOSCOW. March 21 (Interfax) - Seven banks suffered from the actions of Visa and MasterCard, the head of Central Bank's national payment system department, Timur Batyrev, said at a conference organized by the Association of Regional Banks of Russia.
"This concerns several hundred thousand cards issued by these three banks, as well as by banks for which they were sponsors [settlement banks]," he said, adding that the total number of banks affected was seven.
Batyrev did not disclose the names of these banks, as the Central Bank is not commenting on the banks in question.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury placed sanctions on Bank Rossiya on Thursday, as well as on two of the bank's shareholders: Yury Kovalchuk and Gennady Timchenko. SMP Bank, Investcapitalbank and Sobinbank, a Bank Rossiya subsidiary, were also subjected to sanctions.
"The current situation concerns processing , that is, we are actually talking about information processing that takes place at the processing center of the respective payment system and is not connected with the organizations of the three banks included in this list [the list of banks subjected to U.S. sanctions in connection with the events in Ukraine]," he said.
"There are certain issues with the international payment systems," Batyrev said, adding that the Central Bank is "in the process of resolving these issues."
The "scale of disaster" is not very substantial, he said, and the measures taken by Visa and MasterCard largely concern payroll cards.
"Overall, cardholders did not suffer because they can withdraw funds from their accounts at bank branches," Batyrev said.
Additionally, he said he believed the situation surrounding the inability to pay with cards issued by the sanctioned banks could be resolved through reserve banks. After the license of Master Bank, which carried out processing for a number of banks, was withdrawn last fall, cardholders were unable to make payments with their cards. After this, the Central bank recommended that banks have "reserve" partners for such services.
"Having learned from Master Bank's experience, we have established recommendations [on how to] act in such situations. Among other things, they include the requirements for payment system operators, settlement banks, acquiring banks and emitting banks in reserving their services to guarantee the uninterrupted operation of these payment systems," Batyrev said.
He did not rule out the possibility for the affected banks to resume card services through partner banks. This procedure could take a few days, he said.
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