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Rating Action:

Moody's affirms RBS's A3 long-term ratings; outlook changed to positive from stable

14 Dec 2015

London, 14 December 2015 -- Moody's Investors Service has today affirmed The Royal Bank of Scotland plc's (RBS) A3 supported long-term deposit and senior unsecured debt ratings, following the affirmation of the bank's ba1 standalone baseline credit assessment (BCA).The long-term senior unsecured debt rating of the holding company, The Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc (RBSG), was affirmed at Ba1. The ratings outlook of both RBS and RBSG was changed to positive from stable. Moreover, Moody's has affirmed RBS's short-term rating of Prime-2 and RBSG's short-term rating of Non-Prime.

The positive outlook reflects the substantial progress the firm has made in its restructuring plan and Moody's expectation that its credit fundamentals will continue to improve over the next 12-18 months. The ratings affirmation reflects Moody's view that RBS's standalone credit profile currently remains constrained by (1) the challenges the group continues to face in implementing its complex multi-year restructuring despite material improvement achieved thus far, (2) weak profitability, (3) still large global capital markets business, and (4) high - albeit reducing - asset risk. These factors, which are only partly mitigated by (1) strong retail and commercial banking earnings -- currently being eroded by large conduct, litigation and restructuring costs -- (2) the group's strong track record in restructuring, (3) good and improving capitalisation, and (4) sound liquidity and funding positions, led to the affirmation of the ba1 BCA.

"RBS has made substantial progress in the implementation of its multi-year restructuring plan, which has resulted in stronger regulatory capitalisation, lower asset risk and improved funding and liquidity", said Andrea Usai, a Moody's Vice President -- Senior Credit Officer. "However, there are still significant downside risks in the short to medium term that could arise either from the implementation of the plan or from other sources, such as further litigation and conduct costs, which together with large budgeted restructuring charges, will continue to depress profits", Usai added.

A list of affected ratings can be found at the end of this press release.

RATINGS RATIONALE

POSITIVE OUTLOOK REFLECTS RBS's IMPROVING STANDALONE CREDIT STRENGTH FROM PROGRESS ON RESTRUCTURING

The positive outlook reflects Moody's expectations that RBS's management will continue to progress the restructuring of the bank, benefitting its credit fundamentals, and that the correspondent reduction in downside risks will improve the firm's standalone credit profile.

RBS has continued to advance the complex restructuring of its operations, which comprises a number of initiatives that will eventually change its business mix, reduce its risk profile, and improve operational efficiency levels. Moody's believes that a successful execution of the plan will make RBS a more efficient UK-focused bank with less high-risk operations, which would result in a much stronger credit profile over the next 3-5 years. However, the business remains vulnerable to shocks in the short to medium term, and profitability will continue to remain subdued until the restructuring is further progressed.

The firm has successfully completed some of its planned initiatives, such as the full disposal of its US subsidiary Citizens (Citizens Bank, N.A., LT deposits A1 stable, LT senior unsecured Baa1 stable, BCA a3; and Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania, LT deposits A1 stable, BCA a3) and has largely achieved the accelerated wind down of its legacy portfolio -- RBS Capital Resolution (RCR). However, it is still in the process of implementing a comprehensive restructuring programme of its core operations, consisting of: (1) Consolidation of core operations into three main divisions and centralisation of support functions; (2) a very large downsizing of the Corporate & Institutional Banking (CIB) business; and (3) a substantial reduction of its cost base.

BCA AFFIRMATION REFLECTS RISKS FROM ONGOING RESTRUCTURING DESPITE PROGRESS TO DATE

Moody's considers that significant headwinds could materialise in the short to medium term, challenging the execution of the overall complex group restructuring, such as the crystallisation of unexpected conduct and litigation costs and high-profile pending investigations. This risk is particularly significant for RBS, given that: (1) The execution of the restructuring will heavily weigh on the group's profits, impairing the firm's ability to generate capital internally; and (2) RBS's ability to raise additional equity capital from external sources is constrained by its quasi-ownership by the UK government (Aa1 stable) and its lack of willingness to inject further capital into the bank. Moody's considers that RBS has a good capital buffer that will continue to build-up as a result of its de-risking and the deconsolidation of Citizens.

The rating agency believes that RBS's operations will not fully stabilise until this plan is largely delivered. The implementation of these initiatives implies that the associated large credit and disposal costs, and remaining sizeable restructuring charges estimated be around GBP2.7 billion over the period of the plan, will continue to depress profitability over the next several quarters.

WHAT COULD MOVE THE RATINGS UP/DOWN

RBS's ba1 BCA could be upgraded if the bank were to return to sustainable profitability and generate capital organically. A key component of this would be a further reduction in the uncertainty driven by the group's ongoing restructuring and high-profile pending litigations. A positive change in the bank's BCA would likely affect all ratings.

RBS's ba1 BCA could be downgraded if the bank's restructuring and de-risking strategy fails to deliver improvements in its credit fundamentals, weakening its capital, asset risk, profitability and operational efficiency levels. A deterioration in the operating environment and/or regulatory and litigation charges substantially higher than what Moody's expects, could also result in a reduction of the BCA. A lower BCA would likely result in downgrades of all ratings.

RBS's senior unsecured debt and deposit ratings currently receive the maximum uplift of three notches under Moody's Advanced Loss Given Failure (LGF) analysis. Moody's Advanced LGF analysis indicates that a relatively small reduction in the amount of RBS's senior unsecured debt would lead to a lower uplift for RBS's senior unsecured creditors, other factors being equal. This scenario could also develop if holding company senior unsecured debt or junior instruments were to decrease by a similar amount. Moody's expectation is that a corresponding reduction in the group's Tangible Banking Assets from the ongoing deleveraging will offset this negative pressure; however, RBS's A3 senior unsecured debt rating could be downgraded, should the anticipated balance sheet reduction not occur.

PRINCIPAL METHODOLOGY

The principal methodology used in these ratings was Banks published in March 2015. Please see the Credit Policy page on www.moodys.com for a copy of this methodology.

Moody's National Scale Credit Ratings (NSRs) are intended as relative measures of creditworthiness among debt issues and issuers within a country, enabling market participants to better differentiate relative risks. NSRs differ from Moody's global scale credit ratings in that they are not globally comparable with the full universe of Moody's rated entities, but only with NSRs for other rated debt issues and issuers within the same country. NSRs are designated by a ".nn" country modifier signifying the relevant country, as in ".za" for South Africa. For further information on Moody's approach to national scale credit ratings, please refer to Moody's Credit rating Methodology published in June 2014 entitled "Mapping Moody's National Scale Ratings to Global Scale Ratings".

LIST OF AFFECTED RATINGS

Affirmations:

..Issuer: The Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc

....Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture (Foreign Currency), Affirmed Ba1 positive

....Junior Subordinated Regular Bond/Debenture (Foreign Currency), Affirmed Ba3 (hyb)

....Other Short Term (Foreign Currency and Local Currency), Affirmed (P)NP

....Junior Subordinate MTN (Foreign Currency and Local Currency), Affirmed (P)Ba3

....Subordinate MTN (Foreign Currency and Local Currency), Affirmed (P)Ba2

....Senior Unsecured MTN (Foreign Currency and Local Currency), Affirmed (P)Ba1

....Preference Shelf (Foreign Currency), Affirmed (P)B1

....Preference Shelf (Foreign Currency), Affirmed (P)Ba3

....Subordinate Shelf (Foreign Currency), Affirmed (P)Ba2

....Subordinate Shelf (Foreign Currency), Affirmed (P)Ba3

....Junior Subord. Shelf (Foreign Currency), Affirmed (P)Ba3

....Pref. Stock (Foreign Currency), Affirmed Ba3 (hyb)

....Pref. Stock Non-cumulative (Foreign Currency and Local Currency), Affirmed B1 (hyb)

....Subordinate Regular Bond/Debenture (Foreign Currency), Affirmed Ba2

....Subordinate Regular Bond/Debenture (Foreign Currency), Affirmed Ba3

....Commercial Paper (Foreign Currency and Local Currency), Affirmed NP

..Issuer: The Royal Bank of Scotland plc

.... LT Bank Deposits (Foreign Currency and Local Currency), Affirmed A3 positive

.... ST Bank Deposits (Foreign Currency and Local Currency), Affirmed P-2

....Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture (Foreign Currency and Local Currency), Affirmed A3 positive

....BACKED Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture (Foreign Currency), Affirmed A3 positive

.... Commercial Paper (Foreign Currency), Affirmed P-2

....Junior Subordinated Regular Bond/Debenture (Foreign Currency and Local Currency), Affirmed Ba3 (hyb)

....BACKED Junior Subordinated Regular Bond/Debenture (Local Currency), Affirmed Ba3 (hyb)

....BACKED Senior Unsecured MTN (Foreign Currency), Affirmed (P)A3

....Senior Unsecured MTN (Foreign Currency and Local Currency), Affirmed (P)A3

....BACKED Junior Subordinate MTN (Foreign Currency), Affirmed (P)Ba3

....BACKED Subordinate MTN (Foreign Currency), Affirmed (P)Ba2

....BACKED Other Short Term (Foreign Currency), Affirmed (P)P-2

....Junior Subordinate MTN (Local Currency), Affirmed (P)Ba3

....Subordinate MTN (Local Currency), Affirmed (P)Ba2

....Other Short Term (Foreign Currency and Local Currency), Affirmed (P)P-2

....Subordinate Regular Bond/Debenture (Foreign Currency), Affirmed Ba3

....Subordinate Regular Bond/Debenture (Foreign Currency), Affirmed Ba2

....ST Deposit Note/CD Program (Foreign Currency), Affirmed P-2

....BACKED Commercial Paper (Foreign Currency), Affirmed P-2

.... Adjusted Baseline Credit Assessment, Affirmed ba1

.... Baseline Credit Assessment, Affirmed ba1

.... Counterparty Risk Assessment, Affirmed A3(cr)

.... Counterparty Risk Assessment, Affirmed P-2(cr)

..Issuer: National Westminster Bank PLC

....LT Issuer Rating, Affirmed A3 positive

....LT Bank Deposits (Foreign Currency and Local Currency), Affirmed A3 positive

....ST Bank Deposits (Foreign Currency and Local Currency), Affirmed P-2

....Junior Subordinated Regular Bond/Debenture (Foreign Currency and Local Currency), Affirmed Ba3 (hyb)

....Senior Unsec. Shelf (Foreign Currency), Affirmed (P)A3

.... Preference Shelf (Foreign Currency), Affirmed (P)Ba3

....Subordinate Shelf (Foreign Currency), Affirmed (P)Ba2

.... Pref. Stock Non-cumulative (Foreign Currency and Local Currency), Affirmed B1 (hyb)

....Subordinate Regular Bond/Debenture (Local Currency), Affirmed Ba2

....Adjusted Baseline Credit Assessment, Affirmed ba1

....Baseline Credit Assessment, Affirmed ba1

....Counterparty Risk Assessment, Affirmed A3(cr)

....Counterparty Risk Assessment, Affirmed P-2(cr)

..Issuer: Royal Bank of Scotland N.V.

....LT Issuer Rating, Affirmed A3 positive

....LT Bank Deposits (Foreign Currency and Local Currency), Affirmed A3 positive

....ST Bank Deposits (Foreign Currency and Local Currency), Affirmed P-2

....Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture (Foreign Currency and Local Currency), Affirmed A3 positive

....BACKED Senior Unsecured (Foreign Currency), Affirmed A3 positive

....Senior Unsecured MTN (Foreign Currency and Local Currency), Affirmed (P)A3

....BACKED Senior Unsecured MTN (Foreign Currency), Affirmed (P)A3

....Junior Subordinate MTN (Local Currency), Affirmed (P)Ba3

....Subordinate MTN (Local Currency), Affirmed (P)Ba2

....Other Short Term (Foreign Currency and Local Currency), Affirmed (P)P-2

....Subordinate Regular Bond/Debenture (Foreign Currency and Local Currency), Affirmed Ba2

....ST Deposit Note/CD Program (Local Currency), Affirmed P-2

....Commercial Paper (Foreign Currency), Affirmed P-2

.... Adjusted Baseline Credit Assessment, Affirmed ba1

.... Baseline Credit Assessment, Affirmed ba1

.... Counterparty Risk Assessment, Affirmed A3(cr)

.... Counterparty Risk Assessment, Affirmed P-2(cr)

..Issuer: Royal Bank of Scotland N.V. South Africa Br.

....NSR ST Bank Deposits (Local Currency), Affirmed P-1.za

....NSR LT Bank Deposits (Local Currency), Affirmed Aa3.za

..Issuer: Royal Bank of Scotland N.V., Australian

....Commercial Paper (Local Currency), Affirmed P-2

.... Counterparty Risk Assessment, Affirmed A3(cr)

.... Counterparty Risk Assessment, Affirmed P-2(cr)

..Issuer: Royal Bank of Scotland N.V., Chicago Branch

.... LT Bank Deposits (Local Currency), Affirmed A3 positive

.... Counterparty Risk Assessment, Affirmed A3(cr)

.... Counterparty Risk Assessment, Affirmed P-2(cr)

..Issuer: Royal Bank of Scotland N.V., London Branch

.... Senior Unsecured (Foreign Currency) Mar 20, 2017, Affirmed A3 positive

.... Counterparty Risk Assessment, Affirmed A3(cr)

.... Counterparty Risk Assessment, Affirmed P-2(cr)

..Issuer: Royal Bank of Scotland N.V., New York Branch

....Subordinate (Local Currency), Affirmed Ba2

....LT Deposit Note/CD Program (Local Currency), Affirmed (P)A3

....Subordinate Deposit Note Program (Local Currency), Affirmed (P)Ba2

.... Counterparty Risk Assessment, Affirmed A3(cr)

.... Counterparty Risk Assessment, Affirmed P-2(cr)

..Issuer: Royal Bank of Scotland N.V., Paris Branch

....LT Bank Deposits (Foreign Currency and Local Currency), Affirmed A3 positive

....ST Bank Deposits (Foreign Currency and Local Currency), Affirmed P-2

.... Counterparty Risk Assessment, Affirmed A3(cr)

.... Counterparty Risk Assessment, Affirmed P-2(cr)

..Issuer: Royal Bank of Scotland plc, Australia Branch

....Senior Unsecured MTN (Foreign Currency), Affirmed (P)A3

....Other Short Term (Foreign Currency), Affirmed (P)P-2

.... Counterparty Risk Assessment, Affirmed A3(cr)

.... Counterparty Risk Assessment, Affirmed P-2(cr)

..Issuer: Royal Bank Of Scotland plc, Connecticut

....LT Bank Deposits (Foreign Currency and Local Currency), Affirmed A3 positive

....ST Bank Deposits (Foreign Currency and Local Currency), Affirmed P-2

.... Counterparty Risk Assessment, Affirmed A3(cr)

.... Counterparty Risk Assessment, Affirmed P-2(cr)

..Issuer: Royal Bank of Scotland plc, New York Branch

.... LT Bank Deposits (Local Currency), Affirmed A3 positive

.... Counterparty Risk Assessment, Affirmed A3(cr)

.... Counterparty Risk Assessment, Affirmed P-2(cr)

..Issuer: Royal Bank of Scotland, Tokyo Branch

.... Commercial Paper (Local Currency), Affirmed P-2

.... Counterparty Risk Assessment, Affirmed A3(cr)

.... Counterparty Risk Assessment, Affirmed P-2(cr)

..Issuer: RBS Capital Funding Trust V

....BACKED Pref. Shelf (Local Currency), Affirmed (P)Ba3

....Pref. Stock Non-cumulative (Local Currency), Affirmed Ba3 (hyb)

..Issuer: RBS Capital Funding Trust VI

....BACKED Pref. Shelf (Local Currency), Affirmed (P)Ba3

....BACKED Pref. Stock Non-cumulative Preferred Stock (Local Currency), Affirmed Ba3 (hyb)

..Issuer: RBS Capital Funding Trust VII

....BACKED Pref. Shelf (Local Currency), Affirmed (P)Ba3

....BACKED Pref. Stock Non-cumulative (Local Currency), Affirmed Ba3 (hyb)

..Issuer: RBS Capital Trust B

....BACKED Pref. Stock Non-cumulative (Local Currency), Affirmed B1 (hyb)

..Issuer: RBS Capital Trust C

....BACKED Pref. Stock Non-cumulative (Foreign Currency), Affirmed B1 (hyb)

..Issuer: RBS Capital Trust D

....BACKED Pref. Stock Non-cumulative (Foreign Currency), Affirmed B1 (hyb)

..Issuer: RBS Capital Trust II

....BACKED Pref. Stock Non-cumulative (Local Currency), Affirmed B1 (hyb)

..Issuer: RBS Greenwich Capital Holding

....BACKED Commercial Paper (Local Currency), Affirmed P-2

..Issuer: RBS Holdings N.V.

....Subordinate Shelf (Foreign Currency), Affirmed (P)Ba2

....Senior Unsec. Shelf (Foreign Currency), Affirmed (P)Ba1

Outlook Actions:

..Issuer: The Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc

....Outlook, Changed To Positive From Stable

..Issuer: The Royal Bank of Scotland plc

....Outlook, Changed To Positive From Stable

..Issuer: National Westminster Bank PLC

....Outlook, Changed To Positive From Stable

..Issuer: Royal Bank of Scotland N.V.

....Outlook, Changed To Positive From Stable

..Issuer: Royal Bank of Scotland N.V. South Africa Br.

....Outlook, Changed To Positive From Stable

..Issuer: Royal Bank of Scotland N.V., Chicago Branch

....Outlook, Changed To Positive From Stable

..Issuer: Royal Bank of Scotland N.V., London Branch

....Outlook, Changed To Positive From Stable

..Issuer: Royal Bank of Scotland N.V., Paris Branch

....Outlook, Changed To Positive From Stable

..Issuer: Royal Bank Of Scotland plc, Connecticut

....Outlook, Changed To Positive From Stable

..Issuer: Royal Bank of Scotland plc, New York Branch

....Outlook, Changed To Positive From Stable

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.

The following ratings Debt numbers 824651669, 824651675 assigned to The Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc were not initiated or not maintained at the request of the rated entity.

Moody's considers a rated entity or its agent(s) to be participating when it maintains an overall relationship with Moody's. On this basis The Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc or their agents are considered to be participating entities. These rated entities or their agents generally provide Moody's with information for their ratings process.

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.

Andrea Usai
VP - Senior Credit Officer
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
One Canada Square
Canary Wharf
London E14 5FA
United Kingdom
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Robert Young
MD - Financial Institutions
Financial Institutions Group
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

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

Moody's affirms RBS's A3 long-term ratings; outlook changed to positive from stable
No Related Data.
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Additional terms for Japan only: Moody's Japan K.K. ("MJKK") is a wholly-owned credit rating agency subsidiary of Moody's Group Japan G.K., which is wholly-owned by Moody's Overseas Holdings Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of MCO. Moody's SF Japan K.K. ("MSFJ") is a wholly-owned credit rating agency subsidiary of MJKK. MSFJ is not a Nationally Recognized Statistical Rating Organization ("NRSRO"). Therefore, credit ratings assigned by MSFJ are Non-NRSRO Credit Ratings. Non-NRSRO Credit Ratings are assigned by an entity that is not a NRSRO and, consequently, the rated obligation will not qualify for certain types of treatment under U.S. laws. MJKK and MSFJ are credit rating agencies registered with the Japan Financial Services Agency and their registration numbers are FSA Commissioner (Ratings) No. 2 and 3 respectively.

MJKK or MSFJ (as applicable) hereby disclose that most issuers of debt securities (including corporate and municipal bonds, debentures, notes and commercial paper) and preferred stock rated by MJKK or MSFJ (as applicable) have, prior to assignment of any credit rating, agreed to pay to MJKK or MSFJ (as applicable) for credit ratings opinions and services rendered by it fees ranging from JPY125,000 to approximately JPY250,000,000.

MJKK and MSFJ also maintain policies and procedures to address Japanese regulatory requirements.

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