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Rating Action:

Moody's affirms Banamex's foreign currency debt ratings with stable outlook

14 Oct 2014

New York, October 14, 2014 -- Moody's Investors Service has today affirmed Banco Nacional de México, S.A.'s (Banamex) long- and short-term foreign currency provisional (P) senior debt program ratings of (P)A3 and (P)P-2, respectively, with a stable outlook.

The actions come along Moody's decision to affirm Banamex's A3 global local currency deposit and senior unsecured debt ratings and the A3 foreign currency deposit rating with a stable outlook. At the same time, Moody's confirmed the bank's C- standalone bank financial strength rating (BFSR), and revised the outlook to negative; the C- standalone BFSR maps to a standalone baseline credit assessment (BCA) which remains at baa2. This action concludes the review for downgrade initiated on 3 June 2014. Moody's also affirmed the (P)A3 and (P)P-2 long- and short-term global local currency provisional (P) senior debt program ratings, the Prime-2 global local and foreign currency short-term deposit ratings, and the Aaa.mx/MX-1 Mexican National Scale deposit and senior unsecured debt ratings. Except for the negative outlook on the BFSR, the outlook on all the ratings remains stable.

LIST OF AFFECTED RATINGS

The following ratings were affirmed with stable outlooks:

- Long term foreign currency senior debt program of (P) A3

- Short term foreign currency senior debt program of (P) Prime-2

RATINGS RATIONALE

CONFIRMATION OF STANDALONE RATING WITH NEGATIVE OUTLOOK

In confirming Banamex's standalone rating, Moody's cited the banks' ability to maintain its profitability following the alleged fraud by Oceanografía, one of its largest customers, that was disclosed earlier this year. Banamex's reported net interest income of MXN31.8 billion in the first half of 2014, an 8% increase over same period last year, reflects its large and well diversified Mexican franchise and its ample access to stable, low-cost core deposits that supports high margins.

Moody's had placed Banamex's ratings on review in June 2014 to assess the immediate impact of the alleged fraud by Oceanografía on the bank's business and market positioning, as well as how widespread the control failures related to its factoring business might have been. In concluding the review, Moody's analyst David Olivares noted that "management has taken measures to strengthen its local risk management functions following an internal investigation." In addition, despite the severity of the alleged fraud in Banamex's factoring business segment, the bank's profitability does not at this point appear to have been permanently impaired by the Oceanografía affair and capitalization has recovered to a robust 15.63% after dropping by 148 basis points during the fourth quarter of 2013 due in part to a MXN3 billion charge related to the alleged fraud, as well as to a dividend of MXN6.5 billion paid to its local holding company, Grupo Financiero Banamex, S.A de C.V. This improvement was largely driven by the bank's decision to retain 100% of its earnings during the first half of 2014, though it was also attributable to a reduction in risk-weighted assets due to an accounting adjustment.

Notwithstanding the apparently limited initial impact of the Oceanografía incident on the bank's business, however, it is still unclear what its longer term consequences may be.

In assigning a negative outlook to the standalone rating, the rating agency also took into account the continuing uncertainty stemming from the ongoing investigations into the fraud by federal authorities and financial regulators in both Mexico and the United States that were also key factors in Moody's rating review. Although the Mexican regulator Comisión Nacional Bancaria y de Valores (CNBV) has concluded is review, sanctions have not yet been revealed. In addition, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and United States Department of Justice continue with their own inquiries. Consequently, there is a risk that sanctions could yet hurt the bank's franchise and financial profile.

The negative outlook also takes into account risks related to the bank's risk management and control functions. Olivares commented that "the steps that the bank is taking to address shortcomings in these areas are yet to be tested, and it will take time for them to be fully implemented and effectively permeate the organization." Moody's believes that the shortcomings highlighted by the factoring fraud were the consequence of a business culture that placed insufficient emphasis on risk awareness, a practice that led to underestimation of credit and operational risks associated with these types of loans. Moreover, in the wake of the recently announced departure of Banamex's CEO and this morning's disclosure about another smaller fraud and associated illegal conduct at a Banamex security unit, the outlook also considers the possibility of further damaging revelations that could lead to new charges to earnings or capital.

AFFIRMATION OF LOCAL CURRENCY DEPOSITS RATING WITH STABLE OUTLOOK

The long-term global local currency (GLC) deposit rating was affirmed at A3. This rating incorporates two notches of uplift derived from Moody's assumptions regarding the probability of systemic support from the Mexican government in case of stress. Moody's assigns a high probability of systemic support to Banamex given the bank's important role as a deposit taker and lender in Mexico, with market shares of around 17%, as of June 2014.

Even though Banamex is an important subsidiary for Citigroup, the A3 GLC deposit rating incorporates no assumption of group or parental support because Citibank, N.A.'s standalone BCA is the same as Banamex's.

The outlook on the deposit and debt ratings remains stable despite the negative outlook on the standalone BFSR because even if Banamex's standalone rating is downgraded, its debt and deposits ratings are expected to remain at A3 due to systemic support.

The principal methodology used in this rating was Global Banks published in July 2014. Please see the Credit Policy page on www.moodys.com for a copy of this methodology.

Banamex is headquartered in Mexico City, Mexico. As of June 2014, the bank reported MXN1,106 billion in assets (source: Issuers' financial statements).

REGULATORY DISCLOSURES

For ratings issued on a program, series or category/class of debt, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to each rating of a subsequently issued bond or note of the same series or category/class of debt or pursuant to a program for which the ratings are derived exclusively from existing ratings in accordance with Moody's rating practices. For ratings issued on a support provider, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the rating action on the support provider and in relation to each particular rating action for securities that derive their credit ratings from the support provider's credit rating. For provisional ratings, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the provisional rating assigned, and in relation to a definitive rating that may be assigned subsequent to the final issuance of the debt, in each case where the transaction structure and terms have not changed prior to the assignment of the definitive rating in a manner that would have affected the rating. For further information please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page for the respective issuer on www.moodys.com.

For any affected securities or rated entities receiving direct credit support from the primary entity(ies) of this rating action, and whose ratings may change as a result of this rating action, the associated regulatory disclosures will be those of the guarantor entity. Exceptions to this approach exist for the following disclosures, if applicable to jurisdiction: Ancillary Services, Disclosure to rated entity, Disclosure from rated entity.

Regulatory disclosures contained in this press release apply to the credit rating and, if applicable, the related rating outlook or rating review.

Please see www.moodys.com for any updates on changes to the lead rating analyst and to the Moody's legal entity that has issued the rating.

Please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on www.moodys.com for additional regulatory disclosures for each credit rating.

David Olivares Villagomez
VP - Senior Credit Officer
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's de Mexico S.A. de C.V
Ave. Paseo de las Palmas
No. 405 - 502
Col. Lomas de Chapultepec
Mexico, DF 11000
Mexico
JOURNALISTS: 001-888-779-5833
SUBSCRIBERS:52-55-1253-5700

Maria Celina Vansetti-Hutchins
MD - Banking
Financial Institutions Group
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

Releasing Office:
Moody's Investors Service, Inc.
250 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10007
U.S.A.
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

Moody's affirms Banamex's foreign currency debt ratings with stable outlook
No Related Data.
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