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Rating Action:

MOODY'S PLACES ON REVIEW FOR POSSIBLE DOWNGRADE THE Aa2 RATINGS OF CAISSE NATIONALE DES CAISSES D'EPARGNE PREVOYANCE AND OF IXIS CIB; AFFIRMS THEIR P-1 SHORT-TERM RATINGS AND B AND C FINANCIAL STRENGTH RATINGS, RESPECTIVELY, WITH STABLE OUTLOOKS

26 May 2006
MOODY'S PLACES ON REVIEW FOR POSSIBLE DOWNGRADE THE Aa2 RATINGS OF CAISSE NATIONALE DES CAISSES D'EPARGNE PREVOYANCE AND OF IXIS CIB; AFFIRMS THEIR P-1 SHORT-TERM RATINGS AND B AND C FINANCIAL STRENGTH RATINGS, RESPECTIVELY, WITH STABLE OUTLOOKS

BANQUE FEDERALE DES BANQUE POPULAIRE'S Aa3/P-1/B RATINGS AND NATEXIS BANQUE POPULAIRE'S Aa3/P-1/C RATINGS AFFIRMED WITH STABLE OUTLOOKS

New York, May 26, 2006 -- Moody's placed on review for possible downgrade the Aa2 long-term bank deposit and debt ratings of Caisse Nationale des Caisses d'Epargne Prevoyance (CNCEP) and of its subsidiary IXIS Corporate and Investment Bank (Ixis CIB). Both institutions' P-1 short-term deposit and debt ratings were affirmed. CNCEP's bank financial strength rating (BFSR) of B with a stable outlook was affirmed, as was the C FSR with a stable outlook of Ixis CIB. In addition, Moody's affirmed the Aa3/P-1/B ratings with a stable outlook of the Banque Federale des Banques Populaires (BFBP) and the Aa3/P-1/C ratings with a stable outlook of Natexis Banques Populaires (NBP).

These rating actions follow on the recent announcements that the Caisse des Depots et Consignations (CDC, rated Aaa/P-1) and the CNCEP have reached an agreement of principle in respect of the exit of CDC from CNCEP's capital. Moody's commented that this agreement constituted an important milestone, within the scope of ongoing exclusive negotiations on the creation of NatIxis, which are scheduled to end on 1 June 2006. The agreement reached with CDC should pave the way, in particular, for CNCEP and BFBP's respective boards to approve the NatIxis project, added Moody's.

With regards to the Aa2 long-term deposit and debt ratings of CNCEP, which were placed on review for possible downgrade, Moody's said that the rating action reflects the expected sale of CDC's 35% share in CNCEP to the Caisses Regionales des Caisses d'Epargne. The review will focus on the strength of the French State's support without CDC owning a direct stake in the bank. Going forward, Moody's said that the long-term deposit rating of CNCEP will continue to reflect the creditworthiness of the Caisses d'Epargne Group as a whole, including State support considerations and other support mechanisms in place. In addition, Moody's said that the rating action reflects its expectation that the Caisse d'Epargne Group's financial fundamentals -- and in particular its Tier 1 capital ratio -- will remain at a level that is consistent with a BFSR rating of B, further to the exit of CDC from CNCEP's capital and the intended contribution of selective CNCEP businesses to NatIxis.

With regards to IXIS CIB, Moody's said that the review for possible downgrade of IXIS CIB's Aa2 long-term ratings mirrored the rating action in respect of its parent, CNCEP. Moody's said that it expects IXIS CIB to remain a strategic Group member for CNCEP and NatIxis, considering the bank's expertise and market position in investment banking and capital markets, with some limited overlaps with Natexis Banque Populaires' operations in these areas. Moody's noted that all IXIS CIB and related issuing vehicles' Aa2 debt ratings guaranteed by CNCEP are affected by this rating action. Importantly, Moody's also added that it expects all debt issues presently guaranteed by CDC to continue to benefit from existing CDC guarantee arrangements. The Aaa ratings on those debt obligations are not being placed on review.

Commenting on the Banque Populaire Group's ratings, Moody's said that it expects the Group's ratings to remain largely unaffected by the transaction. With regards to NBP, which in time will become NatIxis and will be enriched by a number of CNCEP businesses, Moody's said that the affirmation of NBP's current ratings reflects the expectation of support from both mutualist groups as well as the potential benefits from its expanded profile, but also the significant execution and operational risks involved in completing the project and in integrating the different businesses. Moody's believes the businesses that are likely to be brought into the NatIxis fold, particularly in investment banking, are complementary to NBP's existing businesses. In addition, NatIxis will benefit from the ownership of 20% of both of the mutualist groups' retail networks, from enhanced revenue diversification and from other potential synergies, although the latter still have to be detailed. On the other hand, the NatIxis project involves significant execution and operational risk, even if appropriate governance, management and control systems are expected to be implemented.

Moody's said that it will comment further on other rated entities within both mutualist groups shortly. The review of CNCEP's and IXIS CIB's long-term ratings will conclude after all necessary approvals have been granted for the transaction.

The following ratings were placed on review for possible downgrade:

- CNCEP's (i) Aa2 bank deposit and senior unsecured debt ratings; (ii) Aa3 subordinated debt ratings; and (iii) A1 deeply subordinated debt ratings; and

- Ixis CIB's (i) Aa2 bank deposit and senior unsecured debt ratings; (ii) Aa3 subordinated debt ratings; and (iii) Aa2 debt ratings guaranteed by CNCEP.

The following ratings were affirmed

- CNCEP's (i) P-1 short-term bank deposit and debt ratings; and (ii) its B FSR. The rating outlook on these ratings is stable.

- IXIS CIB's (i) P-1 short-term bank deposit and debt ratings; and (ii) its C FSR. The rating outlook on these ratings is stable.

- All the ratings of BFBP. The bank's rating outlook is stable.

- All the ratings of NBP. The bank's rating outlook is stable.

Based in Paris, Caisse Nationale des Caisses d'Epargne Prevoyance (CNCEP) is the central entity and main issuing debt vehicle of the French savings banks group, Groupe Caisse d'Epargne. At year-end 2005, CNCEP had total consolidated assets of 437.6 billion (2004: 387.7 billion) and posted a net income of 1,103 million (2004: 885 million). The Groupe Caisses d'Epargne had total consolidated assets of 594.1 billion (2004: 543.9 billion) and posted a consolidated net income of 2,071 million (2004: 1,785 million) at end-2005.

Based in Paris, IXIS CIB is the financing and investment arm of the French savings banks group, Groupe Caisse d'Epargne. At year-end 2005, IXIS CIB had total audited assets of 227.8 billion (2004: 207.1 billion) and posted a net income of 353 million (2004: 193 million).

Based in Paris, the Banque Federale des Banques Populaires is the central entity of one of the main French mutualist banking groups, Groupe Banque Populaire. At year-end 2005, the Banque Federale des Banques Populaires had total consolidated assets of 173.3 billion (2004: 145.4 billion) and posted a consolidated net income of 544 million (2004: 350 million). The Banque populaire Group had total assets of 288.7 billion (2004: 205.5 billion) and posted a consolidated net income of 1,522 million (2004: 1,195 million).

Based in Paris, Natexis Banques Populaires is the investement and services bank of the French mutualist banking group, Groupe Banque Populaire. At year-end 2005, Natexis Banques Populaires had total audited assets of 168.1 billion (2004: 140 biillion) and posted a net income of 695 million (2004: 488 million).

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

New York
David Fanger
Chief Credit Officer
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

No Related Data.
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