A Moment in Bank History: How They Lived

Ex-Pat Bankers' Housing
Part 2  [Click for Part 1]

This is the second part of our series about how our international bankers lived abroad, especially in bank-owned and -provided housing. Thanks to Roger Griffin for suggesting the topic.
Send comments or your own "A Moment in Bank History" story to news@chasealum.org.

Sweeping Out the Bugs in Moscow | by Sergei Boboshko (Posted March 1, 2023)

During my previous overseas assignments, my family (which included three children) and I had lived in houses that we rented in the local market, with the exception of Canada where we had bought a house.
In 1994, I was appointed Senior Country Officer for Russia to establish our new Russian subsidiary to replace our Representative Office, which had opened in 1973. The timing coincided with our youngest already in college, and thus our overseas housing requirements were more modest.
At that time Chase had a lease on an apartment that had been occupied by my predecessor, the last Representative of our Rep Office. This apartment was large by any standards, and especially so in the context of Moscow. It was located on the second floor of a GlavUpDK building on Leninsky Prospekt, some distance from the center of the city. (GlavUpDK, or ‘Main Administration for Service to the Diplomatic Corps’, was an entity under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that originated under the USSR, and whose function was as described, but also involved the monitoring of foreigners in the country.) After the fall of the USSR in 1991, many foreigners continued to live in GlavUpDK buildings, although that number became less and less over the course of the post-Soviet period, primarily because by then there were more attractive alternatives available in the market.
Thus, and considering who our landlord was, I chose to have the apartment ‘swept’ when I moved in. This was accomplished by our regional security office in London arranging to have a team of ‘specialized’ technicians fly in with their equipment to check the apartment for microphones and other eavesdropping devices. The equipment they used looked like vacuum cleaners carried on their backs as they scanned the walls, ceilings, floors and furnishings. The results of their operation revealed many eavesdropping devices, most of which were old and non-functioning, while others were still ‘alive’. In 1994 it was doubtful that anyone was sitting on the other end listening but, as a precaution, all such ‘bugs’ were removed.
The apartment consisted of eight large rooms: two bedrooms, two bathrooms, living and dining rooms, a den/TV room and a well-equipped kitchen with ‘western appliances’. The apartment dated back to the establishment of the Chase Representative Office in 1973 and was very well appointed with very valuable furnishings. (My understanding was that Chase had spent about one million dollars to establish this apartment.)
Throughout the Soviet period the ‘Chase apartment’ was very well known around Moscow for its unique size and attractiveness, and an invitation for dinner from the Chase Rep was apparently very sought after by both foreigners and Russians alike. By the time I arrived, many foreign companies, especially the oil companies, had more modern houses and apartments to house their executives, and thus the Chase apartment was no longer as unique as it had been in Soviet times. However, it was still a very comfortable and pleasant environment to live in compared with most housing in Moscow.
I was SCO in Russia for four-and-a-half years, and my successor did not wish to continue the lease on this apartment or keep many of the furnishings. My wife was thus happy to purchase from Chase much of the Baccarat crystal glassware, beautiful china dishware, and some other very tasteful furnishings that we still own and which remind us of one of our more meaningful Chase assignments, considering our family background.

London Stories, Whatever Storey | by Nancy Sauer (Posted March 8 2023)

I was stationed in London for several months in 1985. My first apartment was 66 Onslow Square, and I had the 6th floor apartment (a walk up).        My downstairs neighbor was Isak Antika (I think he was either in the Management Training or Credit programme), and, unfortunately for him, I always asked him to bring my luggage upstairs for me. He kindly obliged. 

In between apartments, I returned back to New York, and only arrived back in London after the wrap party was held for the Magnum PI show, which had filmed two episodes in London. My Dad had a coworker who knew John Hillerman and arranged a personal invitation to the party, which I unfortunately missed. Dang. 

My second apartment was at 47 Sloane Square, so I considered myself a Sloane Ranger. The kitchen and bedroom were downstairs and the living room was at ground floor. Early in the morning, the cavalry horses would clop clop down the block seemingly right above my head. I almost never needed an alarm!

As 1985 was a year when the dollar and UK pound were near parity, and theatre was still under 15GBP, suffice it to say I very much enjoyed my free time in London. 







# From Sandra (Sandi) Beers Tuttle
(Posted March 10, 2023)
The Moscow housing article aroused so many memories. I was the only Chase employee to live in both of the original apartments and work in both offices prior to the dissolution of the USSR. 

The million-dollar figure Serge used was most likely for both apartments and the office. I saw the original numbers for the Rep apartment which was $250M. In late 1983, the bank began the job of upgrading the Rep apartment with new carpet and a more usable kitchen space. That project had a budget of approximately $50M. 

I was the Deputy Rep from May 1977 to May 1979 and the Rep from 1983 to 1987. My husband proposed to me in the Rep apartment in February 1986. We always joke that the KGB knew before our families.*

I have a sign directing clients to our offices on the 2nd floor of the Metropol Hotel. It hung at the main second floor landing of the hotel.

Sergei’s remarks about “bug sweeping” elicit a great story about one of CMB’s clients with a Moscow rep. The rep and his family were making their first R&R visit back in London, and he was determined that the Soviets weren’t getting into his apartment while away. He had a heavy main entry door installed with multiple locks. I wished him well, but shrugged. The night they returned from R&R, I received a phone call asking me to stop by. When I arrived, the entire door had been cut out from the wall and carefully placed next to the now empty space. 

Oh…the joys of Moscow!
* This is a copy of our engagement party invitation held in the Rep apartment!