Frankfurt, July 18th 2022
Within just a few months, VTB Bank (Europe) SE (VTBE) with headquarters in Frankfurt has managed to completely take over all comprehensive IT services rendered to date in Moscow or move to new service providers. This ensures the further orderly operation of the bank, which has a German license, is currently in wind-up mode and is not allowed to conduct new business as a result of sanctions imposed on the Russian parent company.
“After the start of the war in Ukraine, we faced unforeseeable challenges, which could have caused the bank to collapse,” recalls Hans-Georg Herrmann, COO at VTBE in charge of IT, in reference to this critical phase early in the year. “For instance, there were numerous spontaneous terminations, some of which were without notice, of IT systems and by service providers, who had supported us in the past. Furthermore, as a result of the sanctions, we lost employees in key positions virtually from one day to the next.“
The widespread uncertainty among service providers and other business partners, who were unable to foresee in this time whether they may potentially breach imposed sanctions by continuing to do business with VTBE or render services on behalf of VTBE, has now dissipated to a large extent. Announcements by the German financial supervisory authority and Deutsche Bundesbank helped by permitting, in principle, business with VTBE in Germany.
“We now have fully independent IT with IT management in Frankfurt,” says COO Herrmann. Terminated data lines and support for hardware have been replaced, hosting and support for more than 30 applications are provided by people from VTBE in Frankfurt, the IT infrastructure and IT security support previously outsourced to Moscow have been taken over by the team in Frankfurt with the support of a new local service provider. VTBE also had to find a new data centre provider on short notice. “Under normal circumstances, finding a new provider like this is a year-long project,” says Herrmann, “we managed to switch to a new provider in just three weeks.”
“IT is the heart of every bank and ensures its operational capacity,” says Frank Hellwig, who is the Special Representative of the Federal Supervisory Authority for Financial Services deployed at VTBE, “I am very pleased that, thanks to the incredible engagement of our IT team, we were able to put this critical phase behind us. Now we are able to focus all our efforts on the tasks ahead.”