Sberbank in Europe defaulted: what does it mean for savers?


European subsidiary of the Russian Sberbank closed

The far-reaching sanctions against Russia also have an impact on the banking system – now also in Germany. The European subsidiary of the Russian Sberbank was banned from doing business. Around 35,000 investors from Germany are affected, many of them from Central Germany.

What will happen to the money now? What can those affected do? Precisely this question about the security of overnight and time deposits at European subsidiaries of Russian banks will probably be asked more frequently in the future. Because not only the Sberbank (based in Vienna) is affected. VTB Direktbank based in Frankfurt am Main, FIBR (Amsterdam Trade) and East-West Direkt are also subsidiaries of Russian banks with which German investors hold accounts.

More than one billion euros in deposits from German customers affected

The ECB (European Central Bank) has already had the insolvent Sberbank Europe AG closed by the Austrian authorities. The reason: Investors had withdrawn their money from Sberbank Europe AG on a large scale. As a result, Sberbank’s liquidity situation deteriorated to such an extent that the ECB sees no realistic chance of restoring liquidity in the short term. According to the Association of German Banks (BdB), 913 million of the slightly more than one billion euros in deposits from German customers are secured by “Einlagensicherung Austria” (ESA).

How much is insured – and how do you get the money?

“In the European Union, deposits from private investors are protected by national storage and investor compensation laws, which of course also applies in Austria. In the case of overnight and time deposit accounts, deposits are protected up to an amount of EUR 100,000 per customer and bank, in exceptional cases also up to EUR 500,000 “, explains Andrea Heyer, financial expert at the consumer center in Saxony.

The Compensation Scheme of German Banks (EdB) usually takes care of the processing for German customers within seven working days. Since this is a cross-border case, it could take a few days longer. “The EdB usually gets in touch with the customer independently. What you can do now: Have the contracts ready, maybe check the stored contact details so that you can be reached,” Andrea Heyer explains the procedure.

Lillie Byrd

Lillie Byrd is a saving expert for Usevoucher. He has been a newspaper reporter and editor, authored a personal finance book in 2012. She previously was a reporter at Digital Journal, covering consumer products, society, and other business topics. She also has a certificate in finance from Boston University.