Panicked Russians withdraw cash from banks

13:18, 19 December 2014
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The ATM network of Russian state-owned bank Sberbank of Russia is struggling to cope with the demand for cash as Russians, panicked by the steep fall in the ruble, rush to withdraw their savings, a source at the bank has said. 

REUTERS

"After the central bank raised its key rate, the population began to panic, stirred up by rumors and pamphlets,” said a source close to the management of Sberbank.

“Our ATM network has never seen such traffic of people."

According to the source, the state bank is seeing a "massive withdrawal of money from cards and accounts amid rumors that deposits and cards could be blocked."

These rumors arise spontaneously and are impossible to control, the source said.

The deputy chairman of Sberbank, Stanislav Kuznetsov, said that due to increased demand at the ATMs of the bank, the machines are running out of money, but that they are being refilled more often.

The panic was also fueled by the fact that online banking service of Sberbank was not operational during the day. A representative of the state bank explained that during the day the bank's processing systems were overloaded, and short-term malfunctions were possible in online banking.

Depositors in other banks are also withdrawing more cash - both in dollars and rubles – many bank workers reported yesterday, although they said mass withdrawals were not being seen.

Some banks, mostly those that have significantly raised interest rates, also claim to have seen an increase in deposits.

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