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Rating Action:

MOODY'S ASSIGNS FIRST TIME RATINGS OF C-/A3/P-1 TO TAIPEI FUBON BANK

06 May 2005
MOODY'S ASSIGNS FIRST TIME RATINGS OF C-/A3/P-1 TO TAIPEI FUBON BANK

Taipei, May 06, 2005 -- Moody's Investors Service has assigned first time ratings to Taipei Fubon Bank, formed through the merger of Fubon Bank and Taipei Bank on January 1, 2005. Moody's has assigned the new entity a C- bank financial strength rating (BFSR) and A3/ Prime-1 long- and short-term deposit ratings. All ratings carry a stable outlook.

The C- BFSR reflects the bank's adequate financial strength, its reasonably significant market share, and enhanced competitiveness post merger. The deposit ratings have also factored in franchise enhancement that the merger is expected to bring and the strong systemic support characteristically available to financial institutions in Taiwan.

The new Taipei Fubon Bank has considerably enhanced the scale of its operations serving a larger combined customer base with broader distribution network and product offerings. It has nearly 4 million deposit clients and 1.5 million active credit card customers. Pro-forma the merger at end-2004, the bank accounted for 3.7% of system deposits and 3% of total loans. The newly merged bank will offer a stronger distribution platform for the financial products of its parent Fubon group. Such scale enhancements and the potential support from the Fubon group are factors supporting the ratings.

Taipei Fubon Bank is the 100%-owned subsidiary of Fubon Financial Holding Company, a primary financial holding company in Taiwan. Taipei Fubon Bank is estimated to have contributed 58% of the holding company's earnings in 2004. Taipei Fubon Bank represented 65% of Fubon Financial Holding Company's assets and 53% of its equity. The merged bank has also announced a plan to reduce its equity by NT$10 billion from about NT$84 billion at end-2004. Moody's ratings have also factored in this planned capital reduction.

Taipei Fubon Bank has a strong franchise due to its established relationships with the Taipei City government. The bank is the city government's treasury bank and the exclusive operator and clearing bank for the national lottery business. Both roles allow it to enjoy low-cost funding and gain access to a wide client base. At the same time, it holds a solid retail franchise that stemmed from Fubon Bank. Taipei Fubon Bank is the fifth largest credit card issuer in Taiwan.

Despite Taipei Fubon Bank's enlarged scale and competitiveness, Taiwan's banking system is intensely competitive, resulting in price competition that exerts pressures on risk-adjusted returns. The Fubon group has proven its ability to manage its risk portfolio but it still faces challenges in profitability improvements. Furthermore, the pursuit of growth means that pricing pressures and asset quality controls will continue to be crucial to future performance.

Taipei Fubon Bank, formally established on January 1, 2005, was formed through the merger of Taipei Bank and the smaller sized Fubon Commercial Bank. Taipei Fubon Bank is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fubon Financial Holding Company Limited, which carries an Issuer Rating of Baa2 from Moody's. On a pro forma basis, Taipei Fubon Bank reported total assets of NT$986 billion, and Fubon FHC reported total assets of NT$1,513 billion, as at December 2004.

Taipei Bank was formed in 1969. It had an established presence in the Greater Taipei region and was originally formed to regulate local finances, support municipal funding, and act as agent for the municipal treasury. The bank was incorporated in 1984, and then formally listed on the Taiwan Stock Exchange in July 1997 following the government's privatization plan. It was de-listed in 2002, when it joined Fubon FHC. Taipei Fubon Commercial Bank is headquartered in Taipei, Taiwan.

Taipei
Rachel Wu
Vice President - Senior Analyst
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Taiwan Corporation
Telephone: 886-2-2717-1999
Facsimile: 886-2-2545-8096

Singapore
Patrick Winsbury
VP - Senior Credit Officer
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Singapore Pte Ltd.
Telephone: 65-6398-8300
Facsimile: 65-6398-8301

No Related Data.
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