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Rating Action:

Moody's affirms Nordea Bank AB's Aa2 debt and deposit ratings

19 May 2011

Nordea Bank Danmark's debt and deposit ratings downgraded to Aa3

London, 19 May 2011 -- Moody's Investors Service today affirmed the Aa2 long-term debt and deposit ratings of Nordea Bank AB and changed the outlook on the C+ bank financial strength rating and junior subordinated debt and hybrid ratings to stable from negative. The Prime-1 short-term rating has been affirmed.

At the same time, the rating agency affirmed the Aa2 long-term debt and deposit ratings of Nordea Bank Finland and Nordea Bank Norge. However, Moody's downgraded Nordea Bank Danmark's long-term debt and deposit ratings to Aa3 from Aa2. Moody's affirmed the C financial strength rating of Nordea Bank Danmark and Nordea Bank Norge, while Moody's downgraded the financial strength rating of Nordea Bank Finland to C+ from B-. Following these actions, all ratings carry stable outlooks.

Nordea Bank AB is the Swedish parent company in the Nordea Group, which includes wholly-owned subsidiaries Nordea Bank Danmark A/S, Nordea Bank Finland plc and Nordea Bank Norge ASA.

RATING ACTIONS IN SUMMARY

Nordea Bank AB

- C+ BFSR affirmed, outlook changed to stable from negative;

- Aa2 long-term debt and deposit ratings affirmed, with a stable outlook;

- Aa3 subordinated debt ratings affirmed, with a stable outlook;

- (P)A3(hyb) junior subordinated debt ratings affirmed, outlook changed to stable from negative;

- Baa2(hyb) Tier 1 hybrid ratings affirmed, outlook changed to stable from negative;

- Prime-1 short-term ratings were not affected.

Nordea Bank Danmark A/S

- C BFSR affirmed, outlook changed to stable from negative;

- Long-term debt and deposit ratings downgraded to Aa3 from Aa2, with a stable outlook;

- Prime-1 short-term ratings were not affected.

Nordea Bank Norge ASA

- C BFSR affirmed with a stable outlook;

- Aa2 long-term deposit ratings affirmed, with a stable outlook;

- Prime-1 short-term ratings were not affected.

Nordea Bank Finland Plc

- BFSR downgraded to C+ from B-, with a stable outlook;

- Aa2 long-term debt and deposit ratings affirmed, with a stable outlook;

- (P)Aa3 subordinated debt ratings affirmed, with a stable outlook;

- Junior subordinated debt ratings downgraded to (P)A2(hyb) from (P)A1(hyb), with a stable outlook;

- Prime-1 short-term ratings were not affected.

RATINGS RATIONALE

STANDALONE RATINGS

The affirmation of Nordea Bank AB's C+ financial strength rating primarily reflects (i) the bank's strong performance, which has proven resilient throughout the crisis and has been underpinned by lower loan loss provisions in the latest quarters; (ii) the bank's robust Tier 1 capital at 10% at end-March 2011; and (iii) the bank's comfortable liquidity position.

The C financial strength ratings of Nordea Bank Danmark and Nordea Bank Norge were also affirmed as a consequence of (i) the positive trend in asset quality, as evidenced by overall lower loan loss provisions and (ii) the good underlying earnings of the banks. Moody's continues to note the two subsidiaries' relatively low capital levels, however, while acknowledging that the Nordea Group manages capital centrally.

The downgrade of Nordea Bank Finland's financial strength rating to C+ from B- was chiefly triggered by (i) the negative pressure on core banking earnings, chiefly due to compressed net interest margins and (ii) the higher proportion of its revenue derived from less stable sources, especially as Nordea Capital Markets makes progress at centralising its trading activity in Nordea Bank Finland. Nevertheless, Moody's continues to take comfort from the bank's high Tier 1 ratio at 13.6% at year-end 2010, the highest among the Nordea Group banks.

DEBT AND DEPOSIT RATINGS

The affirmation of the Aa2 long-term debt and deposit ratings for Nordea Bank AB, Nordea Bank Finland and Nordea Bank Norge reflects (i) the individual entities' financial strength ratings; (ii) their importance in their respective home countries; and (iii) the integrated operations of the group's entities, coupled with reputational risk implied in the common branding.

The downgrade of Nordea Bank Danmark's long-term debt and deposit ratings reflects the rating agency's view that the probability of systemic support that would be extended to the Danish banking system has decreased. The Danish government has demonstrated a willingness and ability to use the resolution tools provided under the bail-in legislation, implemented in October 2010 (Bank Package III), to impose losses on depositors and senior creditors in a going concern scenario. Nevertheless, Moody's acknowledges that Bank Package III would be challenging to apply to larger and more complex banks such as Nordea Bank Danmark. However, we expect that over time, the Danish authorities will continue to develop the necessary legal and regulatory tools to enable the practical application of bail-in procedures even to large banks. Overall, we see a clear reduction in the levels of systemic support for Danish banks compared with pre-crisis levels, leading to a reduction from two notches to one notch of systemic support in Nordea Bank Danmark's debt and deposit ratings. Nordea Bank Danmark's Aa3 debt and deposit ratings continue to incorporate (i) the bank's financial strength rating; (ii) its systemic importance; and (iii) the strongly integrated operations of the Nordea Group.

Moody's highlights that the three rated subsidiaries' (Nordea Bank Danmark, Nordea Bank Finland and Nordea Bank Norge) long-term debt and deposit ratings continue to benefit from Moody's assessment of a very high probability of parental support from Sweden's Nordea Bank AB. In that respect, the rating agency notes that risk management is implemented group-wise and that liquidity and capital, which are managed centrally, can be reallocated swiftly within the wholly-owned subsidiaries if need be.

RATING DRIVERS

The financial strength ratings of the four rated entities could be vulnerable if the overall risk profile were to increase, including increased risk concentration, geographical expansion or changes in capital allocation, or if credit quality weakens to a greater extent than currently envisaged in Moody's base-case stress scenario. Downgrades of the long-term debt and deposit ratings could be triggered by downgrades in the financial strength ratings or Moody's assessment of a lower probability of parental support or systemic support in light of the evolving EU regulatory framework concerning support for banking systems.

An upgrade of the financial strength ratings could be triggered by a sustainable improvement in earnings without an increase in the risk profile. A reduction of loan concentrations, which are high at the four rated entities, may also result in upward pressure on the ratings. Moody's notes that an upgrade of the financial strength rating will not necessarily lead to an upgrade of the long-term debt and deposit ratings if the level of systemic support may be reassessed.

RATING CORRECTION

Moody's Investors Service has corrected the junior subordinated rating of Nordea Bank AB under its GMTN programme to (P)A3, with a stable outlook, from (P)A1, under review for possible downgrade, in line with Nordea Bank AB's other junior subordinated debt ratings. Due to an internal administrative error, Moody's initially assigned an incorrect rating.

The corrected rating history for the programme's junior subordinate rating is as follows:

19/11/2009 -- Aa3 on review for possible downgrade rating assigned

26/02/2010 -- Aa3 rating downgraded to A3

27/08/2010 -- Rating converted into provisional (P)A3, unchanged

The ratings on all other securities of Nordea Bank AB are unaffected by today's correction.

This press release does not address any rating impact that these rating actions may have on the affected banks' covered bonds.

The principal methodologies used in this rating were Bank Financial Strength Ratings: Global Methodology published in February 2007, and Incorporation of Joint-Default Analysis into Moody's Bank Ratings: A Refined Methodology published in March 2007.

Headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, Nordea Bank AB reported total assets of EUR587 billion at end-March 2011.

Headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark, Nordea Bank Danmark A/S reported total assets of DKK997 billion (EUR134 billion) at year-end 2010.

Headquartered in Oslo, Norway, Nordea Bank Norge ASA reported total assets of NOK497 billion (EUR64 billion) at year-end 2010.

Headquartered in Helsinki, Finland, Nordea Bank Finland Plc reported total assets of EUR286 billion at year-end 2010.

REGULATORY DISCLOSURES

Information sources used to prepare the credit rating are the following: parties involved in the ratings, public information, and confidential and proprietary Moody's Investors Service information.

Moody's Investors Service considers the quality of information available on the issuer or obligation satisfactory for the purposes of maintaining a credit rating.

The rating has been disclosed to the rated entity or its designated agents and issued with no amendment resulting from that disclosure.

Moody's Investors Service may have provided Ancillary or Other Permissible Service(s) to the rated entity or its related third parties within the three years preceding the Credit Rating Action. Please see the ratings disclosure page www.moodys.com/disclosures on our website for further information.

Moody's adopts all necessary measures so that the information it uses in assigning a credit rating is of sufficient quality and from sources Moody's considers to be reliable including, when appropriate, independent third-party sources. However, Moody's is not an auditor and cannot in every instance independently verify or validate information received in the rating process.

Please see ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on Moodys.com for the last rating action and the rating history.

The date on which some Credit Ratings were first released goes back to a time before Moody's Investors Service's Credit Ratings were fully digitized and accurate data may not be available. Consequently, Moody's Investors Service provides a date that it believes is the most reliable and accurate based on the information that is available to it. Please see the ratings disclosure page on our website www.moodys.com for further information.

Please see the Credit Policy page on Moodys.com for the methodologies used in determining ratings, further information on the meaning of each rating category and the definition of default and recovery.

London
Janne Thomsen
Senior Vice President
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

London
Simon Harris
MD - Financial Institutions
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
One Canada Square
Canary Wharf
London E14 5FA
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JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Moody's affirms Nordea Bank AB's Aa2 debt and deposit ratings
No Related Data.
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