Moscow Narodny Bank Limited

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Moscow Narodny Bank Limited
Limited liability company
IndustryFinancial services
PredecessorMoscow Narodny Bank (London)
Founded1919; 101 years ago (1919)
FoundersMoscow Narodny Bank, Centrosoyuz et al.
DefunctDecember 2005 (2005-12)
HeadquartersLondon, Great Britain
Area served
Key people
Andrey I. Dubonosov, Igor G. Suvorov, Yury V. Ponomaryov
ProductsAsset management, corporate banking, investment banking
Total assetsover $1 billion (1977)[1]
Certificate of Incorporation of MNB as an English company
MNB 20th anniversary dinner
MNB office in Moorgate

Moscow Narodny Bank Limited (MNB), London was created as an independent bank in 1919 on the basis of the London branch of the Moscow Narodny Bank, which had operated in London since 1915.


In 1919 due to disruption of relations with the parent company due to nationalization in Russia it was decided to protect the right of the London branch of the bank to exist and incorporate it as a British legal entity. The bank heads Jean Bubnov and Konstantin Popov submitted an application to register it as an English limited liability company, which was registered in London on October 18, 1919 as a company of England and Wales under number No.159752.[2][3][4]

The declared authorized capital stock of MNB is £250,000. Original shareholding structure: Moscow Narodny Bank, Centrosoyuz, Central Association of Flax Growers, Selskosoyuz and Zakupsbyt.

The primary goal of the bank was financing of international trade of the Russian cooperative organizations with Britain and other countries. MNB became the first cooperative bank created as international trade-support facility.

In 1923, the bank set up a subsidiary Genossenschaftliche Transit Bank (Cooperative Transit Bank) in Riga, Latvia.[2][5][6]

During 1924 the bank balance increased 2.5 fold and by the end of the year amounted to £2.4 million, and the bank’s capital stock increased to £500,000.[2] In 1925 the capital stock doubled to £1 million. Such growth allowed MNB to open its branches in Paris in 1925 and in Berlin in 1928. In 1926, the bank agency was established in New York.

In 1932 MNB took over the Russian Trade Bank established in London in 1923.[7]

Resolution of the minutes of the meeting of the board of directors of MNB of March 1933: “the bank buys 1000 shares of the Dalbank Harbin bank for 50 thousand dollars in silver”. In 1933 the bank took over the Shanghai branch of Dalbank.

Paris branch of the bank was closed in 1934, branch in Berlin in 1935.

The bank worked during the World War II, with its staff gradually depleted. There were times when the number of people working there was down to four. Communications with many of the bank’s correspondents and clients were disrupted. As a result, the bank became little more than a payment agent for Gosbank. The balance sheet total during those years remained constant at £1 million.[7]

By the end of 1948 the capital of the bank increased up to £15.5 million (1945 – £1.5 million).

In May 1950 the Shanghai branch of MNB was closed.

In 1952 the balance reduced to £6 million.[7]

In 1956, after the Hungarian revolt, as the Soviet Union feared that its deposits in North American banks would be frozen as a retaliation, it decided to move some of its holdings to the Moscow Narodny Bank Limited. The British bank would then deposit that money in the U.S. banks. There would be no chance of confiscating that money, because it belonged to the British bank and not directly to the Soviets. On 28 February 1957, the sum of $800,000 was transferred. The Soviets also owned a bank in Paris, called the Banque Commercial pour l'Europe du Nord. The Paris Russian bank took some Narodny's dollars and lent them. Initially dubbed "Eurobank dollars" after the bank's telex address, they eventually became known as eurodollars.[8] as such deposits were at first held mostly by European banks and financial institutions.[8]

In 1959, the former head of the Shanghai branch Andrey Dubonosov was appointed to a managerial position in the London branch of the bank. During the period from 1958 till 1960 the number of staff members increased from 40 to almost 100.

From 1960 till 1969 assets have grown from £55.6 million to £331.9 million, and the paid-in capital have grown fourfold during this period and amounted to £5 million. There are a number of reasons for the surge in MNB’s activity in the 1960s. For one thing, it reflected a general upturn in the Soviet Union’s foreign economic relations: the volume of foreign trade in 1960, at over 10 billion rubles, was more than eight times higher than in 1946. Another factor was the re-organization in 1961 of the USSR Bank for Foreign Trade (Vneshtorgbank) — the second largest shareholder in MNB after Gosbank.[7]

In 1963, the Beirut branch of the bank was opened.[7]

In September 1964, The Guardian named Andrey Dubonosov the one of the most popular men in the City of London.[9]

In 1965, the bank declared the possibility of exchanging transferable rubles for gold and freely convertible currencies.[10]

In 1971 the branch in Singapore was opened.[11] From the end of 1971 till the end of 1973 the bank’s assets have grown from £391.8 to £835.9 million.

In 1975, the Moscow representative office started its operations.[7][12]

By 1977, the bank has been among 300 top banks in the world with assets of over $1 billion.[1]

In 1980s, the bank placed a strong focus on foreign exchange dealings, and in particular on attracting funds from Western Europe's banks to sustain its credit resources. The borrowings enabled it to support existing operations and provide the Vneshtorgbank with new loans as required. In the early 1980s this work was severely disrupted by escalating political and economic tensions. The anti-Soviet campaign that unfolded in the USA, Britain and other Western countries, combined with difficulties experienced by some socialist countries in keeping up their external payments, led to a situation whereby many Western banks refused to enter into credit, deposit and in some cases even foreign exchange arrangements with Soviet banks, including Moscow Narodny. Faced with these circumstances, MNB London practically stopped granting any new credits for operations not connected with Soviet foreign trade, and gradually reduced the bank’s loan portfolio as existing loans were repaid. No new medium-term loans were granted, either, with activities limited to short-term trade finance operations. Over the period from 1 July 1981 to 1 May 1982, the amount of credits with terms of 1 year or above on MNB’s balance sheet shrank from 794.4 million to 713.2 million rubles. At the same time, work on maintaining the bank’s supply of credit resources was stepped up.[7]

In 1985 it was decided to close the Beirut branch.

In August 1986, after the redemption of imperial bonds issued before 1917, MNB played a key role in provision of an opportunity for the Soviet Union to get direct international loans again.

MNB had long worked with Morgan Grenfell & Company.[13]

In 1991 the Central Bank of Russia became the owner of the control stock of MNB.

Support on the part of MNB allowed Helen Sharman to become the first British cosmonaut in May 1991.[7]

In 1995 MNB opened its representative office in Canada.

In 1997 MNB created a subsidiary CB Mosnarbank CJSC in Moscow[14], which later on merged with OJSC JCSB Evrofinance and formed Evrofinance Mosnarbank.

In 1999 a new representative office was opened in Beijing.

In December 2005 VTB acquires Moscow Narodny Bank Limited.[7]

Directors and General Managers[edit]

  • Jean (Ivan) V. Bubnov (10.1919–06.1920)
  • F. I. Shmelyov (06.1920–10.1924)
  • Nikolai V. Gavrilov (10.1924–09.1925)
  • F. I. Shmelyov (09.1925–08.1927)
  • M. V. Zemblyukhter (08.1927–12.1931)
  • Alexander I. Shvetsov (12.1931–12.1932)
  • E. Kwiring (12.1932–09.1934)
  • M. D. Wuhl (09.1934–03.1940)
  • Ivan M. Andreyev (03.1940–05.1947)
  • A. A. Oleinik (05.1947–06.1950)
  • Alexei A. Kuznetsov (06.1950–05.1953)
  • Alexei A. Chernozub (05.1953–05.1959)
  • Andrey I. Dubonosov (05.1959–04.1967)
  • Nikolai V. Nikitkin (04.1967–09.1972)
  • Sergei A. Shevchenko (09.1972–12.1976)
  • Oleg N. Kulikov (12.1976–12.1982)
  • Dmitry Ya. Penzin (12.1982–03.1987)
  • Alexander S. Maslov (03.1987–07.1991)
  • Alexander P. Semikoz (08.1991–07.1997)
  • Yury V. Poletayev (01.1997–07.1997)
  • Igor G. Suvorov (07.1997–12.2005)
  • Yury V. Ponomaryov (03.1998–09.1999)

MNB Family tree[edit]

Moscow Narodny Bank (Moscow)
Moscow Narodny Bank (London)
Moscow Narodny Bank Limited
Evrofinance Mosnarbank
VTB Capital (UK)


  1. ^ a b Central Intelligence Agency (1977). Soviet Commercial Operations in the West. Langley: Central Intelligence Agency. p. 26.
  2. ^ a b c M.E.D. (1925). Soviet Union Review. The Moscow Narodny Bank. 6. Moscow: Soviet Information Bureau. p. 122.
  3. ^ Noah Barou (1928). The co-operative movement and co-operative banking of U.S.S.R. Manchester: The Blackfriars Press, Ltd. p. 47.
  4. ^ Christine A. White (1992). British and American Commercial Relations with Soviet Russia, 1918–1924. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. p. 345.
  5. ^ Glen Alden Smith (1973). Soviet Foreign Trade: Organization, Operations, and Policy, 1918–1971. Westport: Praeger. p. 370. ISBN 978-0-2752-8650-7.
  6. ^ Noah Barou (1930). Russian co-operative banking. London: P. S. King & son. p. 81.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i Nikolai Krotov (2019). Moscow Narodny Bank. One hundred years of history. Moscow: International Relations. p. 464. ISBN 978-5-7133-1643-3.
  8. ^ a b "Adam Smith" (George J.W. George) (1982). Paper Money. London: MacDonald & Co. p. 122. ISBN 0-356-08573-2.
  9. ^ The Guardian (September 14, 1964). "Where East meets West. City faces: Andrei Doubonossov".
  10. ^ F. J. Weale (February 12, 1965). "Zum Euro-Dollar ein Euro-Rubel" [One Euroruble for the Eurodollar]. Die Weltwoche (in German). No. 1631.
  11. ^ Joseph J. Carr (2012). Major Companies of The Far East and Australasia 1990/91: Volume 1: South East Asia. Berlin: Springer Science & Business Media. p. 365. ISBN 978-9-4009-0805-5.
  12. ^ Foreign Trade. Moscow: USSR Ministry of Foreign Trade. 1978.
  13. ^ The New York Times, A Soviet Bank Takes Up Capitalism, Published: October 7, 1990
  14. ^ Bulgakova, Anastassia (March 4, 1997). "Московский народный банк возвращается на историческую родину" [Moscow Narodny Bank returns to its historical homeland] (in Russian). Kommersant.