Russia to Ban Banks From Using Messengers Like Telegram to Contact Customers

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Russia to Ban Banks From Using Messengers Like Telegram to Contact Customers

Financial institutions in Russia will not be able to communicate with clients through instant messengers based outside the country, local media revealed. A new law passed by the State Duma also prohibits banks from using chats to send personal data and payment documents.

Bill Restricts Russian Banks and Brokers From Sending Sensitive Information Through Foreign Messengers

Banks in the Russian Federation will not be allowed to contact their customers on a number of popular messengers, according to new legislation approved by the lower house of parliament. The ban applies to foreign-based platforms.

A list of the affected apps is yet to be published by Roskomnadzor, the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media, but Telegram, Whatsapp, Viber, and the like fit the description, the business daily Kommersant reported.

The draft law, passed by the State Duma in the third reading, also restricts the use of this type of messaging service for correspondence containing sensitive information like personal data or documents related to payments and money transfers.

The restrictions concern not only banks but all other financial organizations as well, including brokers, companies operating in the securities market, management firms, investment funds, and private pension funds and depositories, the article details.

Digital Development Ministry to Oversee the Implementation of the New Restrictions

According to Anatoly Aksakov, head of the parliamentary Financial Market Committee, the Russian Ministry of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media will be tasked to oversee the ban, not the Central Bank of Russia in this case. Commenting for Kommersant, he also stated:

Credit organizations, of course, are very careful about the implementation of the law, and are unlikely to violate it. Therefore, obviously, they will take steps to avoid falling under sanctions.

Speaking to the newspaper, members of the industry noted that instant messengers are rarely used to communicate with clients, especially by large players who have developed their own applications featuring built-in support chats.

Others employ third-party solutions, most often secure platforms for communicating with clients, exchanging documents, concluding agreements, uploading data, and reporting to the central bank, explained Tatyana Evdokimova, an investment advisor. “We know what personal data protection is, and we have been complying with certain requirements for a long time,” she emphasized.

Do you think the ban will affect the daily operations of banks and other financial institutions in Russia? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.

Lubomir Tassev

Lubomir Tassev is a journalist from tech-savvy Eastern Europe who likes Hitchens’s quote: “Being a writer is what I am, rather than what I do.” Besides crypto, blockchain and fintech, international politics and economics are two other sources of inspiration.

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