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MOSCOW, June 18 Russia moved to prevent the U.S.
payment card firms Mastercard and Visa quitting
Russia by pledging to reduce the size of the deposit required
for them to operate in the country.
New rules imposed on foreign card companies following
Western sanctions over Ukraine required the payment operators to
deposit collateral with the central bank worth two days of their
average processing volume in Russia, in eight quarterly
Both companies considered quitting Russia after President
Vladimir Putin signed the rules into law in early May, but said
they would stay after officials showed a willingness to relax
On Wednesday, the lower house of parliament, the State Duma,
began discussing amendments to soften the law. First Deputy
Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said the deposit payment would be
"We expect that the actions we are taking will calm the
situation with Visa and Mastercard," he said. "We will do
everything to make sure they keep their activities here."
Morgan Stanley analysts estimated in a report in May that
Visa and Mastercard would be required to post around $1.9
billion and $1 billion in total collateral, respectively, once
the rules take effect.
The analysts noted that Russia accounts for less than 4
percent of both companies' respective global revenues.
Visa and MasterCard both declined comment.
(Reporting by Daria Korsunskaya and Alexander Winning, writing
by Megan Davies; Editing by Kevin Liffey)