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Citigroup Leads Banks Lower on Ukraine Concerns

Stocks in this article: BAC C JPM WFC

While $10.3 billion is a large figure, it represents just 0.6% of Citigroup's total assets of $1.880 trillion, and 7.7% of the company's reported $133.412 billion in Basel III Tier 1 capital.

So Citigroup would still have a strong level of capital if it were to take a major loss on its Russian business, but

Bank of America (BAC) in its 10-K on Feb. 25 said its net exposure in Russia totaled $6.722 billion as of Dec. 31. That's just 0.3% of the bank's total assets of $2.102 trillion and 5.5% of the company's reported fully phased-in Basel III Tier 1 capital of $132.315 billion.  Bank of America's shares were down 1.4% to close at $16.30.

JPMorgan Chase (JPM) in its annual filing on Feb. 20 said its exposure in Russia totaled $5.4 billion as of Dec. 31. That comes to 0.2% of the nation's largest bank's total assets of $2.146 trillion, and 3.6% of the company's estimated Basel III Tier 1 capital of $151.202 billion.  JPMorgan's stock was down 1.1% to close at $56.21.

Wells Fargo (WFC) in its 10-K on Feb. 26 said its exposure in Russia totaled $786 million as of Dec. 31, which comes to just 0.05% of the bank's total assets of $1.448 trillion, and 0.6% of its anticipated Basel III Tier 1 common equity of $126.2 billion.  Wells Fargo's shares were down 0.6% to close at $46.15.

Goldman Sachs (GS) and Morgan Stanley (MS) both had little enough exposure in Russia for the exposure not to be listed in their 10-K reports. The threshold for the reporting is 0.75% of total assets.

For Citigroup, Bank of America and JPMorgan, the exposure figures are relatively small, but they are big enough to cause some concern, and possibly some write-downs over coming quarters depending on how the crisis in Ukraine plays out.

Analysts on Monday said investors were likely to adjust quickly, following their negative reaction on the first trading day following Russia's aggressive moves in Crimea.

"As the situation regularises, in whichever form that might take, and the world becomes accustomed to the new and/or existing realities, investors are likely to classify the Ukraine-Russia stand-off as 'a local issue'," deVere Group CEO Nigel Green wrote in a note to clients. "Global financial markets will then return to focusing on key fundamentals, such as the improving trend of US economic data, than to what is happening in Ukraine."

Then again, there's a lot of money at stake, because of the number of pipelines carrying natural gas from Russia through the Ukraine to Western Europe, and there's no predicting what disruption to the flow of gas may be caused by Russia's actions.

Why You Should Celebrate Bank Stress Tests

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Were Fannie, Freddie Negotiations Done in Good Faith?

-- Written by Philip van Doorn in Jupiter, Fla.

>Contact by Email.

Philip W. van Doorn is a member of TheStreet's banking and finance team, commenting on industry and regulatory trends. He previously served as the senior analyst for Ratings, responsible for assigning financial strength ratings to banks and savings and loan institutions. Mr. van Doorn previously served as a loan operations officer at Riverside National Bank in Fort Pierce, Fla., and as a credit analyst at the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, where he monitored banks in New York, New Jersey and Puerto Rico. Mr. van Doorn has additional experience in the mutual fund and computer software industries. He holds a bachelor of science in business administration from Long Island University.
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