But there is a more serious problem - this is a possible loss of access to correspondent accounts abroad, through which operations in foreign currency are carried out, said Olga Skorobogatova, First First Deputy Chairman of the Central Bank.
“We talked about this many times, and SWIFT itself confirmed that the risk of disconnecting Russia from this system is minimal. We never thought about it as a real threat. But the biggest problem is not even SWIFT, but that two banks - a Russian and a foreign one - must maintain correspondent relations", - she said. Her words are quoted by Interfax.
Skorobogatova stressed that even with the functioning of SWIFT, if someone from foreign banks decides not to work with a Russian bank in the future, then all settlements will stop. Such a scenario is possible if the United States imposes tough sanctions on Russian banks by adding them to the US Treasury's SDN list. Then American banks will be prohibited from interacting with Russian ones. Companies from the Russian Federation will lose access to dollar payments.
Drafts of such sanctions have already been submitted to the US Congress in 2018, but the projects never reached adoption.
It's worth reminding that threats to disconnect Russia from SWIFT came from Western countries since 2014. The last time such a proposal was made by the European Parliament. Russia is not afraid of disconnection from the system, since the country has its own analogue of SWIFT - the Bank of Russia Financial Messaging System (SPFS). The disconnection of the country from the system was previously ruled out by the representatives of SWIFT themselves. According to Roman Chernov, executive director of the Russian National Association of SWIFT (Rosswift), shutdown is impossible, since it is not beneficial to any of the parties, including the United States, which has a large amount of the Russian government debt. If Russia is disconnected from the system, the country will not be able to receive payments on it.