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Rating Action:

MOODY'S UPGRADES TO Aa1/A- FROM Aa2/B+ THE LONG-TERM RATINGS AND FINANCIAL STRENGTH RATING OF BARCLAYS BANK; LONG-TERM RATINGS OF WOOLWICH RAISED TO Aa1 FROM Aa3 AND ITS FINANCIAL STRENGTH RATING CONFIRMED AT B

19 Sep 2001
MOODY'S UPGRADES TO Aa1/A- FROM Aa2/B+ THE LONG-TERM RATINGS AND FINANCIAL STRENGTH RATING OF BARCLAYS BANK; LONG-TERM RATINGS OF WOOLWICH RAISED TO Aa1 FROM Aa3 AND ITS FINANCIAL STRENGTH RATING CONFIRMED AT B

London, 19 September 2001 -- Moody's raised to Aa1 from Aa2 and to A- from B+ the long-term ratings and financial strength rating of Barclays Bank plc. At the same time, the long-term ratings of Woolwich, Barclays' wholly-owned subsidiary, was raised to Aa1 from Aa3. Woolwich's financial strength rating was confirmed at B. These rating actions conclude the reviews for possible upgrade which were announced last May.

Moody's said that the upgrade of Barclays' ratings reflects the bank's well diversified earnings which are based on strong market positions in all key areas of UK financial services. The bank's position in the UK has been strengthened by its acquisition, in 2000, of Woolwich, one of the UK's leading mortgage banks and, earlier this year, through its alliance with Legal & General, a leading UK insurer. The rating agency also noted the greatly improved performance of Barclays Capital, the bank's investment banking arm, which has been reporting consistent and strong earnings. More generally, Moody's noted that Barclays had been sharpening its focus on efficiency and profitability, and that this had resulted in stronger recurring earnings.

The acquisition of Woolwich not only strengthened Barclays' position in the UK mortgage market, it also opened the way for Woolwich to sell its innovative retail banking products to Barclays' large customer base. Cost and revenue synergies from the acquisition are running ahead of initial projections. The alliance with Legal & General aims to fill a gap in the bank's franchise in the field of insurance, and also to strengthen its wealth management operations.

Moody's noted that Barclays' recurring earnings give it strong protection against a potential decline in asset quality which might arise due to less benign economic conditions in the UK. The bank does not have excessive exposures to high risk sectors its exposure to commercial property developments is much less now than during the UK recession in the early 1990s.

In raising the long-term debt ratings of Woolwich to the same level as those of Barclays, Moody's noted that Woolwich's treasury and funding operations have been fully integrated into those of Barclays; that Woolwich operates like any other business unit with the Barclays group; and that in a stress scenario, it is highly unlikely that regulators would allow Barclays to treat Woolwich debt-holders differently from those holding debt of Barclays itself. In confirming Woolwich's financial strength rating at B, Moody's noted that the bank has lower intrinsic financial strength than Barclays as a whole, although it remains one of the strongest specialised mortgage lenders in the UK.

The following ratings were upgraded:

Barclays Bank plc: long-term deposits and senior debt to Aa1 from Aa2; subordinated and junior subordinated debt to Aa2 from Aa3; preference shares to Aa3 from A1, and financial strength rating to A- from B+;

Barclays Overseas Capital Corp. BV: backed senior debt to Aa1 from Aa2 and backed subordinated debt to Aa2 from Aa3;

Barclays North American Capital: backed -subordinated debt to Aa2 from Aa3;

Barclays Overseas Investment Company BV: backed senior debt to Aa1 from Aa2 and backed subordinated debt to Aa2 from Aa3;

Barclays Bank plc, Paris: long-term deposits to Aa1 from Aa2

Barclays Global Investors Jpn Tr & Bank Co: long-term deposits to Aa2 from Aa3 and issuer rating to Aa2 from Aa3.

Woolwich plc: long-term senior deposits and senior debt to Aa1 from Aa3; subordinate debt to Aa2 from A1.

Banque Woolwich: long-term bank deposits to Aa2 from A1.

The B financial strength rating of Woolwich and the C- financial strength rating of Banque Woolwich (France) were confirmed.

Barclays Bank is based in London and at the end of June 2001 had consolidated assets of GBP364bn (approximately $571bn).

London
Samuel S. Theodore
Managing Director
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
44 20 7772 5454

London
Andrew Cunningham
Senior Vice President
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
44 20 7772 5454

No Related Data.
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