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Rating Action:

Moody's affirms Singapore bank ratings; assigns Counterparty Risk Assessments

10 Jun 2015

DBS Group Holdings Ltd's junior instrument ratings upgraded

Singapore, June 10, 2015 -- Moody's Investors Service has today affirmed the debt and deposit ratings and baseline credit assessments (BCAs) of four Singapore banks, namely DBS Bank Ltd. (DBS Bank), Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp Ltd (OCBC), United Overseas Bank Limited (UOB) and Bank of Singapore Limited (BOS).

The ratings outlook is stable.

Moody's has affirmed the ratings and BCAs of the four Singapore banks because Moody's expects these banks to maintain stable financial fundamentals, including robust asset quality, good capital adequacy and healthy earnings, as well as strong funding and liquidity profiles.

Moody's continues to incorporate very high government support assumptions into the ratings of the Singapore banking groups.

Moody's has also concluded its rating review on DBS Group Holdings Ltd's (DBSH, a holding company) junior instrument ratings, and upgraded DBSH's local currency preferred stock rating to A3(hyb) and its foreign currency subordinate Medium Term Note rating to (P)A2.

The review for upgrade on DBSH was initiated on March 2015, following the introduction of Moody's new bank rating methodology.

DBSH's Aa2 issuer and senior unsecured debt ratings are affirmed, with a stable outlook.

Moody's has also assigned Counterparty Risk Assessments (CR Assessments) to the four Singapore banks, in line with Moody's new bank rating methodology.

For its own business reasons, Moody's has withdrawn the outlooks for all of the junior instrument ratings for the issuers covered in this press release. Please refer to "Moody's Investors Service's Policy for Withdrawal of Credit Ratings", available at www.moodys.com.

Outlooks, which provide an opinion on the likely rating direction over the medium term, are now assigned only to long-term deposit and issuer/senior unsecured debt ratings.

For more information on the new bank rating methodology, please see Moody's press release at https://www.moodys.com/research/Moodys-reviews-global-bank-ratings--PR_321005.

The full list of affected ratings is provided at the end of the press release.

RATINGS RATIONALE

RATIONALE BEHIND THE AFFIRMATION OF THE RATINGS ASSIGNED TO DBS, OCBC, UOB AND BOS

Moody's new bank rating methodology includes a number of elements that Moody's has developed to help accurately predict bank failures and determine how each creditor class is likely to be treated when a bank fails and enters resolution. These new elements capture insights gained from the global financial crisis, and the fundamental shift in the banking industry and its regulation after this event.

In terms of the application of Moody's new bank rating methodology to Singapore banks, Moody's rating actions reflect the following considerations: (1) Moody's view of Singapore's "very strong" macro profile and the banks' regional risks; (2) the banks' strong core financial ratios; and (3) Moody's "very high" government support assumptions for these banks.

1) Singapore's "very strong" macro profile and regional risks

Singapore banks benefit from operating in a diversified and stable economic environment in their home market, and from the very strong financial strength of the Singapore government (Aaa stable).

Singapore's economic strength is characterized by high levels of per capita income and a strong growth performance, although rates of GDP expansion tend to be relatively volatile, given Singapore's role as a global trade hub.

At the same time, expansion outside of Singapore inherently exposes the banks to different risks than those they face in their home market, where Moody's considers overall institutional strength to be among the highest globally.

With around one-half of the banks' gross loans granted to borrowers located outside of Singapore, Moody's expects that the quality of these foreign exposures -- with the exception of Hong Kong exposures -- will be generally somewhat weaker than the quality of the banks' domestic exposures.

2) Strong core financial ratios of Singapore banks

The average BCA of Moody's-rated Singapore banks is at aa3, and takes into account the banks' robust asset quality, good capital adequacy and healthy earnings, as well as strong funding and liquidity profiles. The BCAs also incorporate trends expected by Moody's, notably some mild deterioration in asset quality.

3) Very high government support assumptions for Singapore banks

Moody's continues to incorporate very high government support assumptions into the ratings of Singapore banks. As a result, the Aa1 long-term deposit ratings of DBS, OCBC, UOB and BOS receive two-notches of uplift from the banks' aa3 Adjusted BCAs.

(See below for outlines of the analytical considerations for the individual banks covered in this press release).

SPECIFIC ANALYTICAL FACTORS RELATED TO THE FOUR SINGAPORE BANKS

DBS: AFFIRMATION OF DEBT AND DEPOSIT RATINGS AND BCA

DBS' BCA has been affirmed at aa3 in view of its strong financial profile compared to other similarly rated banks. The bank's well-established franchise in Singapore and Hong Kong supports its funding profile and profitability. Its track record of strong asset quality and capital adequacy reflects its overall prudence in business growth at home and in its overseas markets.

In addition, the bank had remained profitable through both the global financial crisis of 2008 and the Asian financial crisis of 1997 -- 1998, reflecting good management stewardship.

The debt and deposit ratings of the bank have been affirmed at Aa1, reflecting the bank's BCA of aa3, and two notches of uplift due to the very high probability of government support, given its size and importance to the financial market of Singapore.

OCBC: AFFIRMATION OF DEBT AND DEPOSIT RATINGS AND BCA

The affirmation of OCBC's aa3 BCA reflects the bank's stable financial performance and conservative risk profile. The bank maintains its traditional and dominant franchises in banking and insurance in both Singapore and Malaysia, benefiting from healthy asset quality, sound liquidity and steady earnings.

As part of its strategy, and similar to its domestic and large regional competitors, OCBC is expanding regionally, particularly in Malaysia, Indonesia and Greater China. While the bank will benefit from diversification, we note that high growth in emerging markets entails elevated credit risks.

Moody's considers that the probability of government support for OCBC in case of need is very high, given the bank's significant market shares of 17% in Singapore Dollar deposits and 13% in Singapore Dollar loans in 2014 (based on Domestic Banking Unit classification by the central bank). Therefore, the bank's deposit ratings were affirmed at Aa1, and include two notches of uplift from its aa3 BCA.

UOB: AFFIRMATION OF DEBT AND DEPOSIT RATINGS AND BCA

UOB's aa3 BCA was affirmed because of the bank's strong and stable financial fundamentals. UOB's BCA is driven by the bank's traditional and well-established banking presence in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, and strong credit fundamentals, characterized by a solid and liquid balance sheet. The bank's capital position is stronger compared to the other large Singapore banks, with a large capacity to absorb unforeseen losses.

The debt and deposit ratings of the bank have been affirmed at Aa1, reflecting the combination of the bank's BCA of aa3; and two notches of uplift due to the very high likelihood of government support for UOB in the event of need, given its size and importance to the financial market of Singapore.

BOS: AFFIRMATION OF DEBT AND DEPOSIT RATINGS AND BCA

The a3 BCA of BOS was affirmed because of the bank's steady financial fundamentals. The BCA reflects BOS's good private banking franchise, as demonstrated by: (1) its growth in assets under management during 2012-14; (2) strong and sustainable asset quality and capital levels, including the maintenance of a sound Common Equity Tier 1 ratio of around 15% under transitional Basel III rules at year-end 2014; and adequate profitability and efficiency levels.

The Aa1 deposit ratings of BOS were affirmed at Aa1, reflecting the following inputs: (1) the bank's a3 BCA; (2) the bank's aa3 Adjusted BCA, which reflects Moody's expectation of full support from its parent OCBC; and (3) two notches of uplift above the Adjusted BCA, due to the high probability of government support given the bank's importance to the financial market of Singapore.

RATIONALE FOR THE UPGRADE OF DBSH'S JUNIOR INSTRUMENT RATINGS

The upgrade of DBSH's local currency preferred stock rating to A3(hyb) from Baa1(hyb) and foreign currency subordinate Medium Term Note rating to (P)A2 from (P)A3, was driven by the revised notching guidance under Moody's new bank rating methodology.

According to the guidance for notching under Moody's new bank rating methodology, Moody's no longer reflects higher loss severity in the ratings of junior securities of holding companies relative to the rating assigned to junior securities issued by operating banks.

Previously, Moody's positioned DBSH's preferred stock and subordinated debt ratings one notch below DBS Bank's respective instrument ratings.

ASSIGNMENT OF COUNTERPARTY RISK ASSESSMENTS

Moody's has assigned long-term and short-term CR Assessments of Aa1(cr)/P-1(cr) to DBS, OCBC, UOB, BOS and their branches.

Typically, Moody's does not assign CR Assessments to holding companies.

CR Assessments are opinions of how counterparty obligations are likely to be treated if a bank fails, and are distinct from debt and deposit ratings in that they: (1) consider only the risk of default rather than expected loss; and (2) apply to counterparty obligations and contractual commitments rather than debt or deposit instruments.

A CR Assessment is an opinion of the counterparty risk related to a bank's covered bonds, contractual performance obligations (servicing), derivatives (e.g., swaps), letters of credit, guarantees and liquidity facilities.

CR Assessments take into account the issuer's standalone strength, as well as the likelihood of affiliate and government support in the event of need, and reflect the anticipated seniority of these obligations in the liabilities hierarchy.

CR Assessments also incorporate other steps authorities can take to preserve the key operations of a bank should it enter a resolution.

For Singapore banks, the CR Assessment — prior to government support — is positioned one notch above their Adjusted BCAs. Moody's then assigns public support assumptions, in line with the same "very high" support assumptions on deposits and senior unsecured debt.

Such assignments reflect Moody's view that any support provided by government authorities to a bank — and which benefits senior unsecured debt or deposits — is very likely to benefit operating activities and obligations reflected by the CR Assessments.

Such a view is consistent with Moody's belief that governments are likely to maintain the banks' operations as a going concern to reduce contagion and preserve the banks' critical functions.

WHAT COULD CHANGE THE RATINGS

DBS Bank and DBSH

DBS Bank's ratings are unlikely to be upgraded, given that they are already among the highest when compared to banks globally. However, DBS Bank's ratings may be downgraded if: (1) The bank pursues an overly aggressive loan growth and regional expansion strategy; (2) its financial ratios deteriorate significantly; and (3) the operating environment becomes more challenging than Moody's expects; leading to a sharp increase in credit costs.

DBSH's senior unsecured rating could be changed following the respective change in the ratings assigned to DBS Bank. Moreover, a significant increase in DBSH's financial leverage — for instance, a double leverage ratio in excess of 120% — will be negative for DBSH's ratings.

OCBC

OCBC's credit ratings are among the highest globally and capture the cyclical risks inherent in the banking business, even for the strongest banks. The ratings are therefore unlikely to be upgraded.

Moody's would consider downgrading OCBC's ratings if the bank's financial fundamentals deteriorate significantly, or if its risk profile weakens. The latter could be evidenced by accelerated asset growth outside of Singapore, leading to a material increase in the share of non-Singapore risks in total assets and loans.

BOS

BOS' long-term ratings are among the highest globally and adequately reflect the cyclical risks inherent in the banking business, even for the strongest banks. The ratings are therefore unlikely to be upgraded; a situation similar to that of the ratings for OCBC, its parent.

Upward pressure on the BCA could emerge if: (1) the bank's income structure improves, such that it exhibits a larger fixed-income component; (2) its private banking franchise continues to grow in Asia, in particular, if its market share in assets under management increases; (3) its Tangible Common Equity/Risk Weighted Assets ratio and asset quality are maintained at the current high levels.

However, a downgrade of OCBC's deposit ratings would lower BOS' deposit ratings.

Downward pressure on the BCA could emerge if BOS's capital adequacy ratio falls significantly; (2) its proportion of liquid assets to total assets falls materially; and/or (3) the bank's current low risk appetite increases substantially.

UOB

UOB's ratings are unlikely to be upgraded, given that they are already among the highest when compared to banks globally.

The ratings may be downgraded if: (1) the bank's exposure to borrowers in higher-risk markets increases materially; and (2) its financial fundamentals deteriorate significantly.

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.

Taking into account today's announcement, the Singapore banks' ratings are as follows:

DBS GROUP HOLDINGS LTD

• Long-term local and foreign currency issuer rating affirmed at Aa2, with a stable outlook;

• Short-term local and foreign currency issuer rating affirmed at P-1;

• Foreign currency other short term program rating affirmed at (P)P-1;

• Foreign currency senior unsecured debt rating affirmed at Aa2, with a stable outlook;

• Foreign currency senior unsecured medium-term note (MTN) program rating affirmed at (P)Aa2;

• Foreign currency subordinated MTN program rating upgraded to (P)A2 from (P)A3;

• Local currency preferred stock rating upgraded to A3(hyb) from Baa1(hyb).

DBS BANK LTD.

• Long-term local and foreign currency bank deposit ratings affirmed at Aa1, with a stable outlook;

• Short-term local and foreign currency bank deposit ratings affirmed at P-1;

• Short-term foreign currency commercial paper rating affirmed at P-1;

• Long-term foreign currency senior unsecured commercial paper rating affirmed at (P)Aa1;

• Foreign currency other short term program rating affirmed at (P)P-1;

• Foreign currency senior unsecured debt rating affirmed at Aa1, with a stable outlook;

• Foreign currency senior unsecured MTN program rating affirmed at (P)Aa1;

• Local and foreign currency subordinated debt ratings affirmed at Aa3;

• Foreign currency subordinated MTN program rating affirmed at (P)A2;

• Local and foreign currency junior subordinated debt ratings affirmed at A1 (hyb);

• Local currency preferred stock rating affirmed at A3 (hyb);

• BCA and adjusted BCA affirmed at aa3;

• Assignment of CR Assessment of Aa1(cr)/P-1(cr).

DBS BANK LTD., HONG KONG BRANCH

• Short-term foreign currency commercial paper rating affirmed at P-1;

• Foreign currency other short term program rating affirmed at (P)P-1;

• Foreign and local currency senior unsecured debt ratings affirmed at Aa1;

• Foreign currency senior unsecured MTN program rating affirmed at (P)Aa1;

• Assignment of CR Assessment of Aa1(cr)/P-1(cr).

DBS BANK LIMITED, LONDON BRANCH

• Short-term foreign currency commercial paper rating affirmed at P-1;

• Foreign currency other short term program rating affirmed at (P)P-1;

• Foreign currency senior unsecured MTN program rating affirmed at (P)Aa1;

• Assignment of CR Assessment of Aa1(cr)/P-1(cr).

OVERSEA-CHINESE BANKING CORP LIMITED

• BCA and adjusted BCA affirmed at aa3;

• Long-term local and foreign currency bank deposit ratings affirmed at Aa1, with a stable outlook;

• Short-term local and foreign currency bank deposit ratings affirmed at P-1;

• Short-term foreign currency commercial paper rating affirmed at P-1;

• Foreign currency other short term program rating affirmed at (P)P-1;

• Foreign currency senior unsecured debt rating affirmed at Aa1, with a stable outlook;

• Foreign currency senior unsecured MTN program rating affirmed at (P)Aa1;

• Foreign currency Basel II-compliant subordinated debt rating affirmed at Aa3;

• Foreign currency Basel III-compliant subordinated debt rating affirmed at A2 (hyb);

• Foreign currency Basel III-compliant subordinated MTN program rating affirmed at (P)A2;

• Foreign currency junior subordinated MTN program rating affirmed at (P)A1;

• Local currency preferred stock rating affirmed at A3 (hyb);

• Assignment of CR Assessment of Aa1(cr)/P-1(cr).

OVERSEA-CHINESE BANKING CORP LIMITED, SYDNEY BRANCH

• Foreign currency other short term program rating affirmed at (P)P-1;

• Local currency senior unsecured debt rating affirmed at Aa1, with a stable outlook;

• Foreign currency senior unsecured MTN program rating affirmed at (P)Aa1;

• Assignment of CR Assessment of Aa1(cr)/P-1(cr).

OCBC CAPITAL CORPORATION (2008)

• Foreign currency BACKED preferred stock non-cumulative rating affirmed at A3 (hyb)

BANK OF SINGAPORE LIMITED

• BCA and adjusted BCA affirmed at a3 and aa3 respectively;

• Long-term local and foreign currency bank deposit ratings affirmed at Aa1, with a stable outlook;

• Short-term local and foreign currency bank deposit ratings affirmed at P-1;

• Long-term local and foreign currency issuer rating affirmed at Aa1, with a stable outlook;

• Short-term local and foreign currency issuer rating affirmed at P-1;

• Assignment of CR Assessment of Aa1(cr)/P-1(cr).

UNITED OVERSEAS BANK LIMITED

• BCA and adjusted BCA affirmed at aa3;

• Long-term local and foreign currency bank deposit ratings affirmed at Aa1, with a stable outlook;

• Short-term local and foreign currency bank deposit ratings affirmed at P-1;

• Short-term foreign currency commercial paper rating affirmed at P-1;

• Local currency other short term program rating affirmed at (P)P-1;

• Foreign currency senior unsecured debt rating affirmed at Aa1, with a stable outlook;

• Local currency senior unsecured MTN program rating affirmed at (P)Aa1;

• Local and foreign currency Basel II-compliant subordinated debt ratings affirmed at Aa3;

• Local and foreign currency Basel III-compliant subordinated debt ratings affirmed at A2 (hyb);

• Local currency Basel III-compliant subordinated MTN program rating affirmed at (P)A2;

• Local currency preferred stock rating affirmed at A3 (hyb);

• Assignment of CR Assessment of Aa1(cr)/P-1(cr).

UNITED OVERSEAS BANK LIMITED, SYDNEY BRANCH

• Foreign currency other short term program rating affirmed at (P)P-1;

• Local currency senior unsecured debt rating affirmed at Aa1, with a stable outlook;

• Foreign currency senior unsecured MTN program rating affirmed at (P)Aa1;

• Assignment of CR Assessment of Aa1(cr)/P-1(cr).

UOB CAYMAN I LIMITED

• Foreign currency BACKED preferred stock non-cumulative ratings affirmed at A3 (hyb)

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 information supplements Disclosure 10 ("Information Relating to Conflicts of Interest as required by Paragraph (a)(1)(ii)(J) of SEC Rule 17g-7") in the regulatory disclosures made at the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on www.moodys.com for each credit rating:

Moody's was not paid for services other than determining a credit rating in the most recently ended fiscal year by the person that paid Moody's to determine this credit rating.

The below contact information is provided for information purposes only. Please see the ratings tab of the issuer page at www.moodys.com, for each of the ratings covered, Moody's disclosures on the lead analyst and the Moody's legal entity that has issued the ratings.

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.

Eugene Tarzimanov
VP - Senior Credit Officer
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Singapore Pte. Ltd.
50 Raffles Place #23-06
Singapore Land Tower
Singapore 48623
Singapore
JOURNALISTS: (852) 3758 -1350
SUBSCRIBERS: (852) 3551-3077

Stephen Long
MD - Financial Institutions
Financial Institutions Group
JOURNALISTS: (852) 3758 -1350
SUBSCRIBERS: (852) 3551-3077

Releasing Office:
Moody's Investors Service Singapore Pte. Ltd.
50 Raffles Place #23-06
Singapore Land Tower
Singapore 48623
Singapore
JOURNALISTS: (852) 3758 -1350
SUBSCRIBERS: (852) 3551-3077

Moody's affirms Singapore bank ratings; assigns Counterparty Risk Assessments
No Related Data.
© 2021 Moody’s Corporation, Moody’s Investors Service, Inc., Moody’s Analytics, Inc. and/or their licensors and affiliates (collectively, “MOODY’S”). All rights reserved.

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Additional terms for Australia only: Any publication into Australia of this document is pursuant to the Australian Financial Services License of MOODY’S affiliate, Moody’s Investors Service Pty Limited ABN 61 003 399 657AFSL 336969 and/or Moody’s Analytics Australia Pty Ltd ABN 94 105 136 972 AFSL 383569 (as applicable). This document is intended to be provided only to “wholesale clients” within the meaning of section 761G of the Corporations Act 2001. By continuing to access this document from within Australia, you represent to MOODY’S that you are, or are accessing the document as a representative of, a “wholesale client” and that neither you nor the entity you represent will directly or indirectly disseminate this document or its contents to “retail clients” within the meaning of section 761G of the Corporations Act 2001. MOODY’S credit rating is an opinion as to the creditworthiness of a debt obligation of the issuer, not on the equity securities of the issuer or any form of security that is available to retail investors.

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 JPY550,000,000.

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