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Rating Action:

Moody's affirms deposit ratings of five Belarusian banks; outlooks remain negative

20 Jun 2013

London, 20 June 2013 -- Moody's Investors Service has today affirmed the deposits ratings of five Belarusian banks: Belarusbank, Minsk Transit Bank, BPS-Sberbank, Belinvestbank, and Belagroprombank. These banks' long-term deposit ratings carry a negative outlook.

Today's affirmation of Belarusian banks' deposit ratings follows Moody's affirmation of the B3 local-currency government bond rating of Belarus as well as the B3 foreign-currency bond ceiling and the Caa1 foreign-currency bank deposit ceiling on 14 June 2013 (see "Moody's affirms Belarus's B3 ratings; outlook remains negative").

Concurrently, Moody's has also affirmed the standalone bank financial strength ratings (BFSRs) of Belarusbank, Minsk Transit Bank, BPS-Sberbank, Belinvestbank, and downgraded Belagroprombank's BFSR to E, equivalent to a baseline credit assessment of caa1, from E+/b3.

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

RATINGS RATIONALE

Today's deposit rating affirmations, with negative outlooks, reflect Moody's view that the current ratings sufficiently capture the Belarusian banks' high vulnerability to the elevated risks associated with their exposure to government debt and the national economy. In Moody's opinion, the Belarusian economy faces significant macroeconomic risks that could constrain economic growth and destabilise government finances, with adverse consequences for banks' credit profiles.

Moody's expects that the banks' asset quality will deteriorate given (1) weaker exports and domestic economic activity, which will negatively affect borrowers' credit standing; and (2) lower subsidies to borrowers from the government, especially if economic imbalances grow and external financing conditions tighten.

Despite no immediate liquidity concerns for Belarusian banks, their liquidity remains vulnerable due to a high share of long-term investment loans funded with short-term deposits. The banks' local-currency needs are typically addressed by borrowings from the National Bank of Belarus and from other banks. However, Moody's says that the banks' foreign-currency liquidity positions are fragile, given the low level of FX liquid assets and because depositor confidence in Belarus remains low, which continues to pose the risk of deposit withdrawals. The negative outlook on the banks' deposit ratings and standalone BFSRs of Belarusbank, Minsk Transit Bank and BPS-Sberbank reflects these challenges.

Affirmation of standalone BFSRs of Belarusbank, BPS-Sberbank, Minsk Transit Bank and Belinvestbank

The affirmation of the standalone BFSRs of Belarusbank, BPS-Sberbank, Belinvestbank and Minsk Transit Bank, reflects Moody's view that these ratings sufficiently capture the main credit weaknesses of these institutions, including: (1) the high sensitivity of their financial fundamentals to the continuing vulnerability of the Belarus economy; (2) deficiencies in their corporate governance practices; and (3) potentially vulnerable asset quality and liquidity positions. At the same time, for Belarusbank, BPS-Sberbank and Belinvestbank, their BFSRs are supported by their market positions and ongoing funding and/or capital governmental/parental support. For Minsk Transit Bank, its BFSR is supported by its stronger liquidity profile and profitability, relative to its peers.

Downgrade of Belagroprombank's standalone BFSR

The lowering of Belagroprombank's standalone credit strength to E/caa1 is driven by the bank's more vulnerable asset quality, relative to its Belarusian peers. Over 60% of Belagroprombank's loans are granted to the higher-risk agriculture sector or to the companies related to agriculture.

At the same time, Belagroprombank's B3 long-term local-currency deposit rating continues to incorporate a very high probability of systemic support which results in one notch of uplift from the bank's BCA of caa1. This support assumption takes into account the bank's important role in the local banking system.

BANK RATINGS AFFECTED BY TODAY'S RATING ACTION:

Belarusbank:

- Long-term local-currency deposit rating affirmed at B3

- Long-term foreign-currency deposit rating affirmed at Caa1

- Short-term foreign and local-currency deposit ratings affirmed at Not Prime

- BFSR affirmed at E+

All long-term ratings and the BFSR carry a negative outlook.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Belagroprombank:

- Long-term local-currency deposit rating affirmed at B3

- Long-term foreign-currency deposit rating affirmed at Caa1

- Short-term foreign and local-currency deposit ratings affirmed at Not Prime

- BFSR downgraded to E

BFSR carries a stable outlook. All long-term ratings carry a negative outlook.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Belinvestbank:

- Long-term local-currency deposit rating affirmed at B3

- Long-term foreign-currency deposit rating affirmed at Caa1

- Short-term foreign and local-currency deposit ratings affirmed at Not Prime

- BFSR affirmed at E

BFSR carries a stable outlook. All long-term ratings carry a negative outlook.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++

BPS-Sberbank:

- Long-term local-currency deposit rating affirmed at B1

- Long-term foreign-currency deposit rating affirmed at Caa1

- Short-term foreign and local-currency deposit ratings affirmed at Not Prime

- BFSR affirmed at E+

All long-term ratings and the BFSR carry a negative outlook.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Minsk Transit Bank:

- Long-term local-currency deposit rating affirmed at B3

- Long-term foreign-currency deposit rating affirmed at Caa1

- Short-term foreign and local-currency deposit ratings affirmed at Not Prime

- BFSR affirmed at E+

All long-term ratings and the BFSR carry a negative outlook.

PRINCIPAL METHODOLOGIES

The principal methodology used in these ratings was Global Banks published in May 2013. Please see the Credit Policy page on www.moodys.com for a copy of this methodology.

All banks affected by today's review are headquartered in Minsk, Belarus:

- Belarusbank reported audited total (IFRS) assets of $13.5 billion as of end-December 2012.

- Belagroprombank reported audited total (IFRS) assets of $6.6 billion as of end-December 2012.

- BPS-Sberbank reported audited total (IFRS) assets of $3.7 billion as of end-December 2012.

- Belinvestbank reported audited total (IFRS) assets of $2.1 billion as of end-December 2012.

- Minsk Transit bank reported audited total (IFRS) assets of $381.8 million as of end-December 2012.

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 rated entity Belarusbank or its related third parties did not participate in the rating process. Moody's was not provided, for purposes of the rating, access to books, records and other relevant internal documents of the rated entity or related third party.

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.

Vladlen Kuznetsov
Asst Vice President - Analyst
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Limited, Russian Branch
7th floor, Four Winds Plaza
21 1st Tverskaya-Yamskaya St.
Moscow 125047
Russia
Telephone: +7 495 228 6060
Facsimile: +7 495 228 6091

Yves J Lemay
MD - Banking
Financial Institutions Group
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

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Moody's affirms deposit ratings of five Belarusian banks; outlooks remain negative
No Related Data.
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