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Rating Action:

MOODY'S CONFIRMS RATINGS OF NATIONAL COMMERCE BANCORPORATION (Senior at A3) AND CHANGES OUTLOOK TO POSITIVE FROM STABLE

31 Jul 2000
MOODY'S CONFIRMS RATINGS OF NATIONAL COMMERCE BANCORPORATION (Senior at A3) AND CHANGES OUTLOOK TO POSITIVE FROM STABLE

New York, July 31, 2000 -- Moody's Investors Service confirmed the ratings of National Commerce Bancorporation (NCBC) and of its rated subsidiaries, and changed the ratings outlook to positive from stable. As well, Moody's upgraded the short-term bank deposit and OSO ratings of Central Carolina Bank & Trust Co., N.A. to Prime-1 from Prime-2.

These rating actions conclude a review for possible upgrade initiated by Moody's in March, 2000, when NCBC and CCB Financial Corporation announced their intent to merge. The merger was completed on July 5, 2000, whereby NCBC became the bank holding company for Central Carolina Bank & Trust Co. and National Bank of Commerce -- the two major operating bank subsidiaries of the combined NCBC group.

Moody's said that the positive outlook recognizes NCBC's strong fundamental credit quality, as well as its incremental growth and earnings potential arising from the merger. In addition to doubling its size to $16 billion in assets, NCBC gained a greater product mix, a stronger market share, and a more diversified and better balanced loan portfolio. Moreover, the bank gained additional senior management experience and depth, according to Moody's.

NCBC's profitability is strong -- its pro forma return on assets and net interest margin of 1.58% and 4.1%, respectively, for the first half of 2000, are above peer-group averages. Moody's said that the bank is well-positioned to sustain strong profitability because of its broad and remunerative consumer banking franchise, its relatively low funding cost afforded by a robust deposit base, and its highly efficient operating platform. Core deposits amount to over 110% of the bank's loans, and the overhead ratio is below those of comparable banks at 50.0% (pro forma) for the first two quarters in 2000.

According to Moody's, the stronger and more competitive NCBC is likely to further benefit from the complementary businesses of the merged institutions. NCBC will be able to import its successful consumer banking practices and marketing skills into CCB's market, which includes some of the high-growth metropolitan areas of North and South Carolina. CCB, comparatively heavier in commercial banking, will be able to develop middle-market lending relationships in NCBC's markets, including the largest metro areas in Tennessee, as well as some urban areas in Virginia and West Virginia.

The ratings and positive outlook, said Moody's, also take into account NCBC's relatively high risk-concentration in commercial real estate and construction financing, as well as the limited contribution of fee-based products to earnings, and the likelihood of some dislocations arising from the integration of the two bank's operating systems and management teams. At about 30% of loans and 2.5-times of tangible equity, CRE exposure is worrisome. This risk, however, is mitigated somewhat by good industry diversification in the CRE portfolio, by the relatively small exposure to individual transactions, by the bank's prudent underwriting practices, and by the low net charge-off history of the portfolio, said Moody's.

The upgrading of CCB & Trust Co.'s short-term ratings to Prime-1 from Prime-2 reflect the enhanced liquidity position of that bank resulting from its affiliation with, and ownership by, a larger institution.

The following ratings were confirmed:

National Commerce Bancorporation

- Issuer rating: A3

-Junior subordinated debt: Baa1

National Bank of Commerce

- Issuer, bank deposits, and OSO ratings: A2

- Short-term deposit and OSO ratings: P-1

- Bank financial strength rating: C

National Commerce Capital trust I

- Preferred stock rating: "a3"

CCB Financial Corporation

- Subordinated debt rating: Baa1

Central Carolina Bank & Trust Co., N.A

- Bank deposit, issuer, and OSO ratings: A2

- Bank financial strength rating: C

Central Carolina Bank & Trust Co., N.A.

- Short-term deposit and OSO ratings: to P-1 from P-2

National Commerce Bancorporation, headquartered in Memphis, TN, is a diversified bank holding company. Following its merger with CCB, NCBC's total assets are approximately $16 billion.

New York
Gregory W. Bauer
Managing Director
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service
JOURNALISTS: (212) 553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: (212) 553-1653

New York
Les Muranyi
Vice President - Senior Analyst
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service
JOURNALISTS: (212) 553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: (212) 553-1653

No Related Data.
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