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Rating Action:

MOODY'S AFFIRMS CREDIT FONCIER DE FRANCE'S AND IXIS INVESTOR SERVICES' Aa3/P-1/C- RATINGS AND PLACES ON REVIEW FOR POSSIBLE DOWNGRADE THE Aa3 LT BANK DEPOSIT RATING OF BANQUE PALATINE WHILE AFFIRMING ITS P-1/C- RATINGS

07 Jun 2006
MOODY'S AFFIRMS CREDIT FONCIER DE FRANCE'S AND IXIS INVESTOR SERVICES' Aa3/P-1/C- RATINGS AND PLACES ON REVIEW FOR POSSIBLE DOWNGRADE THE Aa3 LT BANK DEPOSIT RATING OF BANQUE PALATINE WHILE AFFIRMING ITS P-1/C- RATINGS

THE OUTLOOKS ON ALL AFFIRMED RATINGS ARE STABLE

London, 07 June 2006 -- Moody's affirmed the Aa3/P-1/C- ratings of Credit Foncier de France (CFF) and IXIS Investor Services (IXIS IS) and their stable outlooks, as well as the bank P-1 short-term and C- financial strength ratings of Banque Palatine and their stable outlooks. Moody's also placed on review for possible downgrade the long-term bank deposit rating of Banque Palatine. Credit Foncier de France is 100% owned by Caisse Nationale des Caisses d'Epargne Prevoyance (CNCEP, rated Aa2 on review for possible downgrade / P-1 / B). Ixis Investor Services' parent company CACEIS is 50% owned by CNCEP and 50% owned by Credit Agricole S.A. (Aa2/P-1/B+). Banque Palatine is 60% owned by CNCEP and 40% owned by Sanpaolo IMI S.p.A. (rated Aa3/P-1/B).

This rating action follows on the earlier rating action dated 26 May 2006, in connection with CNCEP, IXIS Corporate and Investment Bank (rated Aa2 on review for possible downgrade / P-1/C), Banque Federale des Banques Populaires (BFBP, rated Aa3/P-1/B) and Natexis Banques Populaires (NBP, rated Aa3/P-1/C), as well as on the most recent press release issued jointly by the Caisse d'Epargne Group and the Banque Populaire Group, announcing that a protocole defining the terms of the creation of NatIxis had been signed by the President of the Management Board of CNCEP and by the President of the Banque Populaire Group. The Boards of CNCEP, BFBP and NBP had previously approved the signing of this agreement. The most recent press release confirms, inter alia, the entities that will be contributed by CNCEP to NatIxis.

Moody's said that the Aa3 long-term deposit and debt ratings of CFF, which will remain 100% owned by CNCEP, had been affirmed because the strategic role of CFF is reinforced within CNCEP as a consequence of the forthcoming transfer of a number of CNCEP's subsidiaries to NatIxis, reducing the current consolidation perimeter of CNCEP. The support of CFF by CNCEP and the Caisses d'Epargne is expected and likely to be enhanced, said Moody's. Moody's added that the affirmation of the long-term deposit rating of CFF also takes into account the good fit between the Savings Group's retail profile and the largely retail operations of CFF, as well as the increasing operating integration achieved by CFF with the Group in 2005, as evidenced by its enhanced co-operation with individual savings banks in refinancing activities, and by the migration of some of its IT operations onto a common Group platform. Moody's also commented that the Aa3 long-term deposit and debt ratings of CFF factor in its leading position in the French and in the European covered bond market. Going forward, Moody's indicated that a confirmation of CNCEP's ratings at the level of Aa2 could lead to a positive rating action in respect of CFF's long-term deposit and debt ratings. On the other hand, upward movements in the bank's financial strength rating will be predicated by evidence of improved credit risk indicators, by sustained improvements in CFF's efficiency, and by CFF's ability to further leverage its ties within the Group and to capture new business opportunities.

With regards to the Aa3/P-1/C- bank ratings of IXIS Investor Services, a fully owned subsidiary of CACEIS which is a 50%-50% joint-venture between Credit Agricole S.A. (Aa2/P-1/B+) and CNCEP, and which is expected to be 50%-50% owned by Credit Agricole S.A. and NatIxis going forward, Moody's said that the affirmation of its bank ratings reflects the expectation that custody and fund administration activities will remain core for NatIxis. CACEIS already has a 35% share of the custody and fund administration markets in France. With the likely integration of Natexis Investor Servicing into its operations, the resulting enlarged financial entity is likely to be better positioned to take part in the current consolidation trends in custody and fund administration in Europe. Moody's said that the creditworthiness of the enlarged entity should be enhanced going forward by higher transaction volumes, economies of scale and efficiency gains, translating into improving profitability indicators, market shares and positive franchise developments. On the other hand, Moody's cautioned that margin pressure and operational risk were two of the main risks that could affect the operation. The enlarged entity is expected to continue to benefit from the support of both Credit Agricole S.A. and of NatIxis if need be.

Commenting on the review for possible downgrade of Banque Palatine's long-term deposit rating of Aa3, Moody's said that it mirrors the review for possible downgrade affecting its parent, CNCEP, and that it also reflects the less clear role of Banque Palatine upon the creation of NatIxis. Moody's noted, in particular, that while Banque Palatine's role within the CNCEP Group has recently evolved as a centre of competence for the servicing of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), NatIxis should also be well placed to provide such services to both retail networks going forward, including the factoring and non-real estate leasing services that will be transferred over from Banque Palatine to NatIxis. On the other hand, real estate leasing activities are bound to be concentrated in a single group company, which will be 60% owned by CFF and 40% by Banque Palatine. Additionally, Banque Palatine continues to offer asset management services while all other asset management activities within the CNCEP Group are to be transferred to NatIxis. Moody's commented that the role of Banque Palatine may be reviewed by its parent in 2007, as CNCEP will then have the option to buy the 40% stake of Sanpaolo IMI in Banque Palatine it does not own. In the meantime, Banque Palatine's role within the CNCEP Group appears to be less obvious, its level of operational integration with its parent is still limited, and CNCEP's level of support for the bank appears to be currently unchanged. On this basis, Moody's said that the one notch rating differential between the bank deposit rating of Banque Palatine and that of its parent could well be maintained as a result of the review. Moody's said that the review will focus on CNCEP's support of the bank. It will also seek to assess and to clarify the position, role and strategy of Banque Palatine within CNCEP as a consequence of the creation of NatIxis. The review of the bank's long-term bank deposit rating will conclude upon the completion of the review on CNCEP's long-term ratings.

With regards to Banque Palatine's C- bank financial strength rating, Moody's said that it was affirmed as the bank's financial fundamentals are unlikely to be overly affected by the loss of non-real estate leasing and factoring activities to NatIxis, or by the reduced scope in CNCEP's consolidation perimeter. This is because CNCEP's leasing and factoring activities, which had just been restructured within Banque Palatine in 2005 are modest, as are the business links between Banque Palatine and IXIS Corporate and Investment Bank. Moreover, it should be noted that Banque Palatine's financials have remained stable over the years, including through the launch and implementation of its latest strategy in 2004. Financial strength rating improvements going forward will be largely driven by the bank's success in implementing the role devolved by its parent and in developing its franchise.

Commenting more generally on the foundations layed for the creation of NatIxis, Moody's said that the forthcoming exit of Caisse des Depots et Consignations (rated Aaa) from CNCEP's capital and the intended shareholders' pact and governance principles embedded in the NatIxis project are evidence of the strong long-term commitment of the Savings Banks and Banque Populaire Groups to support the development and growth of NatIxis. The NatIxis operation will benefit at the outset from enhanced positions to build upon its key businesses - corporate and investment banking and services - and to fulfill its shareholders' growth ambitions in France and internationally. That said, the operational execution of the project is likely to be challenging, added Moody's. Moody's also said that the industrial agreements separately announced between CNCEP and CDC, particularly in the area of insurance, were positive developments for the Savings Banks Group. Moody's added that it will continue to closely monitor developments in connection with the Savings Banks Group, the Banque Populaire Group, NatIxis, and related rated entities, and to comment as appropriate as further information is disclosed on the industrial plans of NatIxis and rated members, on regulatory approvals obtained, and on other key milestones that are reached for the completion of the project.

The following ratings were affirmed:

- Credit Foncier de France's (i) Aa3 long-term bank deposit and debt ratings; (ii) A1 subordinated debt rating; (iii) P-1 short-term bank deposit and debt ratings; and (iv) C- bank financial strength rating. The outlook on all of the bank's ratings were affirmed.

- Ixis Investor Services' bank ratings of Aa3/P-1/C- . The outlook on all of the bank's ratings were affirmed.

- Banque Palatine's (i) P-1 short-term bank deposit rating; and (ii) C- bank financial strength rating. The outlook on these ratings were affirmed.

The following rating was placed on review for possible downgrade:

- Banque Palatine's Aa3 long-term bank deposit rating.

Headquartered in Paris, Credit Foncier de France had a total loan portfolio of Euro 54.5 billion at year-end 2005, up by 12% vs. end-2004, and total assets of Euro 78,285 million (2004: Euro 71,287 million). The bank disclosed a net profit before minority interests of Euro 295.4 million at year-end 2005, up by 26% vs. end-2004.

Based in Paris, Ixis Investor Services is the custody and investors services bank owned by CACEIS Investor Services, which is 50% owned by Caisse Nationale des Caisses d'Epargne Prevoyance and 50% by Credit Agricole SA. At year-end 2005, it had total assets of Euro 4.2 billion vs. Euro 5.5 billion at year-end 2004.

Headquartered in Paris, Banque Palatine had total assets of Euro 8,172 million (2004: Euro 7,639 million). The bank posted a net profit before minority interests of Euro 37.1 million (2004: Euro 36.9 million).

London
Adel Satel
Managing Director
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

London
Patricia Dambrine
VP - Senior Credit Officer
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

No Related Data.
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