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Rating Action:

MOODY'S UPGRADES RATINGS OF RESONA BANK AND SAITAMA RESONA BANK

03 Feb 2004
MOODY'S UPGRADES RATINGS OF RESONA BANK AND SAITAMA RESONA BANK

Tokyo, February 03, 2004 -- Moody's Investors Service has upgraded long-term and short-term deposit ratings of Resona Bank, Ltd. (RSBK) and Saitama Resona Bank, Ltd. (SRBK) to Baa2 and Prime-2 from Baa3 and Prime-3, respectively. The ratings of unsecured senior debt, senior subordinated debt, and junior subordinated debt of RSBK are also upgraded to Baa2, Baa3, and Baa3 from Ba1, Ba2, and B1, respectively. The bank financial strength ratings of both RSBK and SRBK are confirmed at E. The preferred stock rating of AB International Trust at Caa1 and the ratings of Resona Trust and Banking. Co., Ltd. (A3/Prime-1) were unaffected by this review. This concludes the review initiated on November 17, 2003. The outlooks for credit ratings of RSBK and SRBK are positive.

The upgrade of the debt and deposit ratings is prompted by Moody's view that the credit risk associated with debt instruments of the banks has considerably decreased. Upgrades in all classes of debts ratings and the narrowing of notching between debt related instruments reflects Moody's positive re-evaluation of the strength and durability of Japan's regulatory support mechanism for banking institutions which is aimed at the elimination and minimisation of financial system instability. Affirmation of Caa1 preferred stock rating for AB International Trust Cayman is prompted by the continued suspension of preferred dividends. Positive outlook for the credit ratings of RSBK and SRBK reflects Moody's expectation that balance sheet risk reduction initiatives of RSBK may be implemented as projected, and would lead to recovery in their franchises.

Confirmation of bank financial strength rating at E reflects low regulatory Tier I capital ratio of RSBK after consideration of indirect re-capitalisation support for Kinki Osaka Bank, Ltd. (KOBK), and continuing competitive challenge posed to franchise of RSBK from megabank competitors. Management decision to separate non-performing assets and business as well as eliminating the potential source of volatile future performance is credit positive, ensuring the reduced downward volatility of its performance. However, concentration exposure to some weak Japanese corporate remains still large in relation to its preprovision earnings, which has been comparatively lower for RSBK. In Moody's view, uncertainty in group strategic direction involving the strategic positioning of KOBK may remain for the foreseeable future.

In Moody's view, SRBK is better capitalised, with lower level of concentration risk excepting exposure to local municipalities and affiliated credits. However, SRBK's credit profile remains directly linked to RSBK due to SRBK's short-term fund placement with RSBK, and indirectly affected by KOBK due to the necessary capital reliance of KOBK on RSBK.

The following ratings were upgraded:

Resona Bank Ltd.: long-term deposit rating to Baa2 from Baa3; short-term deposit rating to Prime-2 from Prime-3; senior unsecured debt rating to Baa2 from Ba1, senior subordinated debt rating to Baa3 from Ba2, junior subordinated debt rating to Baa3 from B1.

Saitama Resona Bank Ltd.: long-term deposit rating to Baa2 from Baa3, and short-term deposit rating to Prime-2 from Prime-3

Asahi Finance (Cayman) Ltd.: senior subordinated debt rating to Baa3 from Ba2, and junior subordinated debt rating to Baa3 from B1

Daiwa International Finance (Cayman) Ltd.: senior subordinated debt rating to Baa3 from Ba2.

Daiwa PB Limited: junior subordinated debt rating to Baa3 from B1

The following ratings were confirmed with a stable outlook:

Resona Bank Ltd.: E bank financial strength rating

Saitama Resona Bank Ltd.: E bank financial strength rating

The following ratings were affirmed with a stable outlook:

AB International Cayman Trust: Caa1 preferred stock rating

Resona Trust & Banking Co., Ltd.: C bank financial strength rating, A3 and Prime-1 long and short-term deposit ratings

Tokyo
Mutsuo Suzuki
Senior Vice President
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Japan K.K.
JOURNALISTS: (03) 5408-4110
SUBSCRIBERS: (03) 5408-4100

Tokyo
Brian Oak
Managing Director
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Japan K.K.
JOURNALISTS: (03) 5408-4110
SUBSCRIBERS: (03) 5408-4100

No Related Data.
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