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Rating Action:

Moody's affirms ratings of three Korean banks; revises outlook for KEB Hana and Shinhan; places Woori under review for upgrade

 The document has been translated in other languages

08 Dec 2017

Hong Kong, December 08, 2017 -- Moody's Investors Service has today affirmed the ratings and assessments of KEB Hana Bank, Kookmin Bank and Shinhan Bank.

Moody's has also revised to stable from negative the ratings outlook of KEB Hana Bank and Shinhan Bank, and maintained Kookmin Bank's ratings outlook at stable.

Moody's has placed under review for upgrade all of Woori Bank's long-term ratings, long-term counterparty risk assessment, baseline credit assessment (BCA) and adjusted BCA of baa3. At the same time Moody's affirmed its short-term ratings and short-term counterparty assessment.

A list of all affected ratings and assessments is provided at the end of this press release.

RATINGS RATIONALE

The affirmation of the ratings and assessments for KEB Hana Bank, Kookmin Bank and Shinhan Bank, as well as the placing of Woori Bank under review for upgrade, reflect the improved operating environment of the banks. Korea as an open export-driven economy is one of the key beneficiaries of the synchronized global economic expansion. Moody's expects Korea's real GDP to grow at 3% in 2017 and 2.8% in 2018, which is higher than the other G20 advanced countries.

In addition, Moody's expects structural changes in the loan portfolio and cost base that the banks have achieved will result in improved asset quality and profitability on a more sustained basis. For example, the four banks' exposures to vulnerable industries undergoing restructuring — such as shipbuilding, shipping and construction — have declined to 5.1% of their total loans as of June 2017 from 9.5% as of December 2013.

On the cost front, the banks have also reduced the number of domestic branches (by 15% as of June 2017) compared to the peak at the end of 2012. The number of domestic employees declined by 12% as of June 2017 from the peak at the end of 2013.

Tail risk from the banks' existing exposures to cyclical sectors has also diminished significantly, a result of the reduced leverage of the shipbuilding and shipping sectors — because of their ongoing restructuring — as well as an increase in shipbuilding orders. This will result in higher utilization rates at Korean shipyards in 2018.

In addition to improved asset quality, these banks are also sufficiently capitalized. Moody's also expect to see benign asset quality for retail loans, partially because of the continued strengthening of prudential measures for household loans and mortgages, driven by government policies to curb the growth of household debt. A low loans-to-value ratio of system-wide mortgage loans, mostly at about 50% means that the equity buffer built into system-wide mortgage loans is good.

The outlook for Shinhan Bank and KEB Hana Bank was changed to stable from negative because of the absence of a deterioration in asset quality or profitability that Moody's was concerned about, when the banks' outlook was changed to negative. Moody's expects that these banks' liquidity, funding and capitalization will remain stable at current levels over the outlook period.

Among Korean banks, Shinhan Bank has the highest BCA — of a3 — which reflects its long track record of superior asset quality performance and stable profitability.

For Kookmin Bank, Moody's maintained its stable outlook on the bank's deposit and senior debt ratings. Kookmin Bank is one of the best capitalized banks in Korea, and as a result has a strong capital buffer against its asset risk, which had shown high volatility in the past. Kookmin Bank's credit metrics have improved to similar levels with that of Shinhan Bank, but its BCA of baa1 and long-term deposit and senior unsecured debt ratings of A1 are one notch lower than that of Shinhan Bank, because the performance of Kookmin Bank's credit metrics has been less consistent through the cycle.

For Woori Bank, Moody's placed its long-term ratings, long-term counterparty risk assessment, BCA and adjusted BCA under review for upgrade in order to determine whether recent improvements to Woori Bank's credit fundamentals are structural and sufficiently sustainable to merit an increase to its BCA, which is currently at baa3. Moody's will also consider any new information the Korean government or KDIC may announce regarding their plan or direction for the further sale of the remaining government stake in Woori Bank.

Woori Bank has made structural improvements to its asset risk, by reducing exposures to large corporates with low credit ratings and to cyclical sectors such as shipbuilding. The improvement in its capitalization was especially pronounced, with Woori Bank's tangible common equity to risk-weighted assets rising by 1.4 percentage points to 12.2% as of September 2017 from the level registered at the end of 2015.

It also completed an early retirement program in the third quarter of 2017, which reduced its work force by 6%. The bank has also continued to shrink its branch network, which will be helpful to its efficiency. Its financial metrics have improved as a result, creating clear upward pressure on its BCA of baa3.

Upward pressure on Woori Bank's senior ratings is less clear because an upgrade of its long-term ratings will depend on Moody's view on whether or not current government support is sustainable, in light of the government's ultimate plan to dispose of its stakes in Woori Bank completely. Woori Bank's ratings currently benefit from four notches of government support, which is higher than the three notches applied to its peers such as KEB Hana, Kookmin and Shinhan Bank. At 30 September 2017, the Korean government, via the Korea Deposit Insurance Corporation (KDIC), held an 18.5% stake in Woori Bank.

WHAT COULD CHANGE THE RATINGS UP/DOWN

For KEB Hana Bank, Kookmin Bank and Shinhan Bank, Moody's could downgrade these banks' ratings if their financial fundamentals deteriorate significantly and on a sustained basis.

All other rating factors being constant, their BCAs would come under downward pressure if any of these conditions are met: (1) a significant increase in the problem loan ratio and provision charges without increases in core capital; (2) a significant weakening of capitalization with TCE/RWA ratios decreasing by more than 200 basis points; and/or (3) a significant deterioration in their funding and liquidity positions.

For the banks with stable outlooks, their ratings could be upgraded, if their financial fundamentals improve significantly, leading to upward pressure on their BCAs from: (1) significant improvements in capitalization, while maintaining stable asset quality; (2) a significant decline in problem loan ratios and provision charges, while maintaining stable capitalization; and (3) significant improvements in their funding and liquidity positions. For Kookmin Bank, Moody's will also consider whether the bank will develop a longer term track record of improved asset risk.

For Woori Bank, evidence that the current financial metrics can be sustained or improved further, particularly capitalization and asset risk, could lead to an increase in its BCA and upgrades to its subordinated debt and preference stock non-cumulative ratings. Upgrades of its long-term deposit and senior unsecured debt ratings will depend on the scope of BCA improvement, as well as Moody's review of government support for Woori Bank, in consideration of the government's plan for future stake sales.

The principal methodology used in these ratings was Banks published in September 2017. Please see the Rating Methodologies page on www.moodys.com for a copy of this methodology.

KEB Hana Bank, headquartered in Seoul, South Korea, had total assets of KRW325 trillion (USD284 billion) at the end of September 2017.

Kookmin Bank, headquartered in Seoul, South Korea, had total assets of KRW327 trillion (USD285 billion) at the end of September 2017.

Shinhan Bank, headquartered in Seoul, South Korea, had total assets of KRW328 trillion (USD286 billion) at the end of September 2017.

Woori Bank, headquartered in Seoul, South Korea, had total assets of KRW318 trillion (USD278 billion) at the end of September 2017.

LIST OF AFFECTED RATINGS

KEB Hana Bank

- Foreign currency and local currency long-term deposit ratings of A1 affirmed with a stable outlook;

- Foreign currency and local currency short-term deposit ratings of P-1 affirmed;

- Foreign currency long-term and short-term deposit note/CD program rating of (P)A1/(P)P-1 affirmed;

- Foreign currency senior unsecured debt rating of A1 affirmed with a stable outlook;

- Foreign currency commercial paper rating of P-1 affirmed;

- Foreign currency other short-term rating of (P)P-1 affirmed;

- Foreign currency senior unsecured/ Basel III-compliant subordinated debt medium-term notes (MTN) programmes of (P)A1/(P)Baa2 affirmed;

- Plain vanilla foreign currency subordinated debt rating of Baa1 affirmed;

- Foreign currency Basel III-compliant subordinated debt rating of Baa2(hyb) affirmed;

- Long-term / Short-term counterparty risk assessment of Aa3(cr)/P-1(cr) affirmed

- Baseline credit assessment and adjusted baseline credit assessment of baa1 affirmed

- Outlook is changed to stable from negative

KEB Hana Bank, London Branch

Foreign currency long-term and short-term deposit note/CD program rating of (P)A1 and (P)P-1 affirmed;

Long-term and short-term counterparty risk assessment of Aa3(cr)/P-1(cr) affirmed

Outlook is changed to stable from negative

KEB Hana Bank, Singapore Branch

Foreign currency long-term and short-term deposit note/CD program rating of (P)A1 and (P)P-1 affirmed;

Long-term and short-term counterparty risk assessment of Aa3(cr)/P-1(cr) affirmed

Outlook is changed to stable from negative

KEB Hana Bank, Hong Kong Branch

Foreign currency long-term and short-term deposit note/CD program rating of (P)A1 and (P)P-1 affirmed;

Long-term and short-term counterparty risk assessment of Aa3(cr)/P-1(cr) affirmed

Outlook is changed to stable from negative

Kookmin Bank

- Foreign currency and local currency long-term deposit ratings of A1 affirmed with a stable outlook

- Foreign currency and local currency short-term deposit ratings of P-1 affirmed

- Foreign currency long-term and short-term deposit note/CD program rating of (P)A1/(P)P-1 affirmed;

- Foreign currency commercial paper rating of P-1 affirmed

- Foreign currency other short-term rating of (P)P-1 affirmed;

- Foreign currency senior unsecured rating of A1 affirmed with a stable outlook

- Foreign currency senior unsecured MTN program rating of (P)A1 affirmed

- Long-term and short-term counterparty risk assessment of Aa3(cr) and P-1(cr) affirmed

- Baseline credit assessment and adjusted baseline credit assessment of baa1 affirmed

- Outlook is maintained at stable

Shinhan Bank

- Foreign currency long-term deposit rating of Aa3 affirmed with a stable outlook;

- Foreign currency short-term deposit rating of P-1 affirmed

- Foreign currency commercial paper of P-1 affirmed

- Long-term / Short-term counterparty risk assessment of Aa3(cr)/P-1(cr) affirmed

- Baseline credit assessment and adjusted baseline credit assessment of a3 affirmed

- Foreign currency Other short-term rating of (P)P-1 affirmed

- Foreign currency senior unsecured debt rating of Aa3 affirmed with a stable outlook;

- Foreign currency senior unsecured shelf rating of (P)Aa3 affirmed

- Foreign currency senior unsecured MTN program rating of (P)Aa3 affirmed

- Foreign currency Basel III compliant subordinated debt rating of Baa1(hyb) affirmed

- Foreign currency Basel III-compliant subordinated MTN program rating of (P)Baa1 affirmed

- Foreign currency Basel II subordinated MTN program rating of (P)A3 affirmed

- Outlook is changed to stable from negative

Shinhan Bank, New York Branch

- Local currency long-term and short-term deposit note/CD program of (P)Aa3/P-1 affirmed

- Local currency commercial paper rating of P-1 affirmed

- Long-term/ Short-term Counterparty risk assessment of Aa3(cr)/P-1(cr) affirmed

- Outlook is changed to stable from negative

Shinhan Bank, Hong Kong Branch

- Foreign currency long-term and short-term deposit note/CD program rating of (P)Aa3/(P)P-1 affirmed

- Outlook is changed to stable from negative

Woori Bank

- Foreign currency long-term deposit rating of A2, under review for upgrade

- Foreign currency short-term deposit rating of P-1 affirmed

- Foreign currency long-term deposit note/CD program rating of (P)A2 under review for upgrade;

- Foreign currency short-term deposit note/CD program rating of (P)P-1 affirmed;

- Foreign currency commercial paper rating of P-1 affirmed

- Foreign currency other short-term rating of (P)P-1 affirmed

- Foreign currency senior unsecured rating of A2 under review for upgrade

- Foreign currency senior unsecured MTN program rating of (P)A2 under review for upgrade

- Foreign currency Basel III compliant subordinated debt rating of Ba1(hyb) under review for upgrade

- Foreign currency Basel II subordinated debt rating of Baa2 under review for upgrade

- Foreign currency Basel III compliant subordinated MTN program rating of (P)Ba1 under review for upgrade

- Foreign currency preference stock non-cumulative rating of Ba3(hyb) under review for upgrade

- Long-term counterparty risk assessment of A1(cr) under review for upgrade

- Short-term counterparty risk assessment of P-1(cr) affirmed

- Baseline credit assessment and adjusted baseline credit assessment of baa3 under review for upgrade

- Outlook is changed to rating under review from stable

Woori Bank, London Branch

- Foreign currency long-term deposit note/CD program rating of (P)A2 under review for upgrade;

- Long-term counterparty risk assessment of A1(cr) under review for upgrade

- Foreign currency short-term deposit note/CD program rating of (P)P-1 affirmed;

- Short-term counterparty risk assessment of P-1(cr) affirmed

- Foreign currency commercial paper rating of P-1 affirmed

- Outlook is changed to rating under review from stable

Woori Bank, Hong Kong Branch

- Foreign currency long-term deposit note/CD program rating of (P)A2 under review for upgrade;

- Long-term counterparty risk assessment of A1(cr) under review for upgrade

- Foreign currency short-term deposit note/CD program rating of (P)P-1 affirmed;

- Short-term counterparty risk assessment of P-1(cr) affirmed

- Outlook is changed to rating under review from stable

Woori Bank, Los Angeles Branch

- Local currency long-term deposit note/CD program rating of (P)A2 under review for upgrade;

- Long-term counterparty risk assessment of A1(cr) under review for upgrade

- Local currency short-term deposit note/CD program rating of (P)P-1 affirmed;

- Short-term counterparty risk assessment of P-1(cr) affirmed

- Outlook is changed to rating under review 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 credit rating action on the support provider and in relation to each particular credit 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 credit rating action, and whose ratings may change as a result of this credit 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.

The first name below is the lead rating analyst for this Credit Rating and the last name below is the person primarily responsible for approving this Credit Rating.

Sophia Lee
VP - Senior Credit Officer
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Hong Kong Ltd.
24/F One Pacific Place
88 Queensway
Hong Kong
China (Hong Kong S.A.R.)
JOURNALISTS: 852 3758 1350
Client Service: 852 3551 3077

Graeme Knowd
MD - Banking
Financial Institutions Group
JOURNALISTS: 81 3 5408 4110
Client Service: 81 3 5408 4100

Releasing Office:
Moody's Investors Service Hong Kong Ltd.
24/F One Pacific Place
88 Queensway
Hong Kong
China (Hong Kong S.A.R.)
JOURNALISTS: 852 3758 1350
Client Service: 852 3551 3077

No Related Data.
© 2019 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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