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Rating Action:

Moody's affirms three Chinese regional banks' ratings; outlooks changed to stable from negative

 The document has been translated in other languages

31 May 2021

Hong Kong, May 31, 2021 -- Moody's Investors Service, has today affirmed the ratings of the following three Chinese regional banks. At the same time, Moody's has changed the outlooks of these three banks to stable from negative.

- The Baa3 long-term foreign and local currency deposit ratings of Bank of Nanjing Co., Ltd.

- The Baa2 long-term foreign and local currency deposit ratings of Bank of Ningbo Co., Ltd.

- The Ba1 long-term foreign and local currency deposit ratings of Bank of Suzhou Co., Ltd.

A full list of the affected ratings and rating assessments can be found at the bottom of this press release.

RATINGS RATIONALE

The change of the three banks' outlooks to stable from negative reflects Moody's expectation that downside risk to their credit profiles is limited over the next 12-18 months given the stable operating environment and the banks' resilient financial fundamentals despite the economic shock from the pandemic.

The affirmation of the banks' ratings and assessments reflect the strong deposit franchise in their respective regions, and the fact that their performance will continue to benefit from their robust local economies. Moody's also expects that the banks will continue to maintain sound asset risk metrics, solid capitalization and high provision coverage.

The three banks' financial fundamentals have benefited from their sound and advanced regional economies. Although manufacturing and trade-related sectors in the regions were hit during the outbreak, they have rebounded quickly due to effective measures to control the outbreak, adaptability of companies in the regions and supportive government policies. Meanwhile, the three banks' asset quality remains good, and their off-balance sheet shadow banking exposures have decreased or remained flat. In addition, the banks have replenished capital in recent years to support their relatively strong asset growth.

Rating rationale for individual banks

Bank of Nanjing

Bank of Nanjing's Baa3 long-term deposit ratings incorporate its ba2 Baseline Credit Assessment (BCA) and a two-notch uplift based on Moody's assessment of a high level of support from the Government of China in times of need. Its Baa3(cr) Counterparty Risk (CR) Assessment and Baa3 Counterparty Risk Ratings (CRRs) incorporate two-notch uplift from its ba2 BCA. The assessment of a high level of government support reflects the bank's important role as the largest city commercial bank in Nanjing. In addition, it considers the 32% ownership stake collectively held by local state-owned entities.

Bank of Nanjing's ba2 BCA reflects its 1) improved capital position after a private placement of RMB11.6 billion in 2020; 2) resilient asset quality because of its stringent risk management, high provision coverage and robust regional economic growth, as the bank has allocated 83% of its gross loans in Jiangsu province as of the end of 2020; and 3) sound liquidity and lower proportion of high-risky financial assets in recent years.

Bank of Ningbo

Bank of Ningbo's Baa2 long-term deposit ratings incorporate its ba1 BCA and a two-notch uplift based on Moody's assessment of a high level of support from the Government of China. Its Baa2(cr) CR Assessment and Baa2 CRRs incorporate two-notch uplift from its ba1 BCA. The assessment of a high level of government support considers that Ningbo is one of the five centrally planned cities in China, and Bank of Ningbo is the largest city commercial bank in Ningbo by total assets. In addition, it considers the 20.0% ownership stake held by the Ningbo municipal government through various local state-owned entities.

Bank of Ningbo's ba1 BCA reflects its 1) track record of stable asset quality because of its business focus on economically advanced regions and strong provision coverage; 2) its high loan growth which brings pressure to its capitalization; 3) good profitability supported by stable loan pricing and continued growth of fees and commission income; 4) strong liquidity position benefiting from its growing deposit base and adequate liquidity, but still challenged by its relatively high reliance on market funds.

Bank of Suzhou

Bank of Suzhou's Ba1 long-term deposit ratings incorporate its BCA of ba2 and a one-notch uplift based on Moody's assumption of a moderate level of support from the Government of China. Its Baa3(cr) CR Assessment and Baa3 CRRs incorporate two-notch uplift from its ba2 BCA. The assessment of a moderate level of government support reflects the bank's position as the only city commercial bank incorporated in Suzhou and around 26.0% stakes held by state-owned entities as of year-end 2020. That said, the bank's franchise is still limited at the national level.

Bank of Suzhou's ba2 BCA reflects its 1) resilient asset quality because of a robust local economy, the bank's more stringent risk limits, the usage of technology, and high nonperforming loan coverage ratio of 292% as of the end of 2020; 2) solid capital position benefited from its listing in the A-share market in 2019 and the issuance of convertible bonds in April 2021; and 3) sound liquidity with its established franchise in the local market and continued deposit growth.

FACTORS THAT COULD LEAD TO AN UPGRADE OR DOWNGRADE OF THE RATINGS

Moody's could upgrade the three banks' deposit ratings if the Government of China's capability or willingness to support the bank increases, or if the banks' improving fundamentals lead to an upgrade of their BCAs.

Conversely, Moody's could downgrade their deposit ratings if the Government of China's capability or willingness to support the bank weakens, or if the banks' BCA is downgraded.

Moody's could downgrade the banks' BCAs if the operating environment weakens significantly, which could arise if China's economic growth moderates as the pandemic-induced weakness lingers or China's corporate financial leverage increases significantly as a result of loose monetary policies.

Bank of Nanjing

Moody's could upgrade Bank of Nanjing's BCA if the bank grows its balance sheet in a disciplined manner and continues to reduce its exposure to higher-risk financial investments. In addition, its BCA could be upgraded if the bank maintains its strong deposit franchise and liquidity profile while keeping its sound asset risk, capital and profitability metrics.

Moody's could downgrade Bank of Nanjing's BCA if (1) its asset quality deteriorates, with the ratio of impaired loans to gross loans above 3%; (2) profitability deteriorates, with its net income/tangible assets below 0.5% on a sustained basis; or (3) reliance on market funding increases, with its market funds/tangible banking assets above 40%.

Bank of Ningbo

Moody's could upgrade Bank of Ningbo's BCA if the bank grows its loan book at a more measured pace, and if its (1) asset quality remains resilient, with impaired loans to gross loans consistently below 0.8%; (2) reliance on market funds reduces, with market funds/tangible banking assets consistently below 25%; and (3) capital strengthens, with TCE/RWA consistently above 10%; or profitability improves, with net income/tangible assets consistently above 1%.

Moody's could downgrade Bank of Ningbo's BCA if its (1) reliance on market funds increases, with market funds/tangible banking assets consistently above 35%; (2) asset quality deteriorates, with impaired loans to gross loans above 2.0% consistently; or (3) profitability weakens, with net income/tangible assets consistently below 0.75%.

Bank of Suzhou

Moody's could upgrade Bank of Suzhou's BCA if the bank grows its balance sheet in a disciplined manner and continues to reduce its exposure to higher-risk financial investments. In addition, its BCA could be upgraded if the bank maintains its deposit franchise and liquidity profile while keeping its sound asset risk, capital and profitability metrics.

Moody's could downgrade Bank of Suzhou's BCA if its (1) asset quality deteriorates, with the ratio of impaired loans to gross loans above 3%; (2) profitability deteriorates, with its net income/tangible assets below 0.5% on a sustained basis; and (3) reliance on market funding increases, with its market funds/tangible banking assets above 40%.

PRINCIPAL METHODOLOGY

The principal methodology used in these ratings was Banks Methodology published in March 2021 and available at https://www.moodys.com/researchdocumentcontentpage.aspx?docid=PBC_1261354. Alternatively, please see the Rating Methodologies page on www.moodys.com for a copy of this methodology.

LIST OF AFFECTED RATINGS AND ASSESSMENTS:

..Issuer: Bank of Nanjing Co., Ltd.

.... Adjusted Baseline Credit Assessment, Affirmed ba2

.... Baseline Credit Assessment, Affirmed ba2

.... Short-term Counterparty Risk Assessment, Affirmed P-3(cr)

.... Long-term Counterparty Risk Assessment, Affirmed Baa3(cr)

.... Short-term Counterparty Risk Rating (Foreign and Local Currency), Affirmed P-3

.... Long-term Counterparty Risk Rating (Foreign and Local Currency), Affirmed Baa3

.... Short-term Deposit Rating (Foreign and Local Currency), Affirmed P-3

....Long-term Deposit Rating (Foreign and Local Currency), Affirmed Baa3; Outlook, Changed To Stable From Negative

....Outlook, Changed To Stable From Negative

..Issuer: Bank of Ningbo Co., Ltd.

.... Adjusted Baseline Credit Assessment, Affirmed ba1

.... Baseline Credit Assessment, Affirmed ba1

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

.... Long-term Counterparty Risk Assessment, Affirmed Baa2(cr)

.... Short-term Counterparty Risk Rating (Foreign and Local Currency), Affirmed P-2

.... Long-term Counterparty Risk Rating (Foreign and Local Currency), Affirmed Baa2

.... Short-term Deposit Rating (Foreign and Local Currency), Affirmed P-2

....Long-term Deposit Rating (Foreign and Local Currency), Affirmed Baa2; Outlook, Changed To Stable From Negative

....Outlook, Changed To Stable From Negative

..Issuer: Bank of Suzhou Co., Ltd.

.... Adjusted Baseline Credit Assessment, Affirmed ba2

.... Baseline Credit Assessment, Affirmed ba2

.... Short-term Counterparty Risk Assessment, Affirmed P-3(cr)

.... Long-term Counterparty Risk Assessment, Affirmed Baa3(cr)

.... Short-term Counterparty Risk Rating (Foreign and Local Currency), Affirmed P-3

.... Long-term Counterparty Risk Rating (Foreign and Local Currency), Affirmed Baa3

.... Short-term Issuer Rating (Foreign and Local Currency), Affirmed NP

.... Long-term Issuer Rating (Foreign and Local Currency), Affirmed Ba1; Outlook, Changed To Stable From Negative

.... Short-term Deposit Rating (Foreign and Local Currency), Affirmed NP

....Long-term Deposit Rating (Foreign and Local Currency), Affirmed Ba1; Outlook, Changed To Stable From Negative

....Outlook, Changed To Stable From Negative

BANK PROFILES

Bank of Nanjing is a city commercial bank headquartered in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province. The bank reported total assets of RMB1.5 trillion as of the end of 2020.

Bank of Ningbo is a city commercial bank headquartered in Ningbo, Zhejiang Province. The bank reported total assets of RMB1.6 trillion as of the end of 2020.

Bank of Suzhou is a city commercial bank headquartered in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province. It reported total assets of RMB388.1 billion as of the end of 2020.

The local market analyst for Bank of Nanjing Co., Ltd. and Bank of Ningbo Co., Ltd.'s ratings is Yan Li, +86 (10) 6319-6561. The local market analyst for Bank of Suzhou Co., Ltd.'s ratings is Yulia Wan, +86 (21) 2057-4017.

REGULATORY DISCLOSURES

For further specification of Moody's key rating assumptions and sensitivity analysis, see the sections Methodology Assumptions and Sensitivity to Assumptions in the disclosure form. Moody's Rating Symbols and Definitions can be found at: https://www.moodys.com/researchdocumentcontentpage.aspx?docid=PBC_79004.

For ratings issued on a program, series, category/class of debt or security this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to each rating of a subsequently issued bond or note of the same series, category/class of debt, security 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.

The ratings have been disclosed to the rated entity or its designated agent(s) and issued with no amendment resulting from that disclosure.

These ratings are solicited. Please refer to Moody's Policy for Designating and Assigning Unsolicited Credit Ratings available on its website www.moodys.com.

Moody's considers a rated entity or its agent(s) to be participating when it maintains an overall relationship with Moody's. Unless noted in the Regulatory Disclosures as a Non-Participating Entity, the rated entities are participating and the rated entiies or their agent(s) generally provide Moody's with information for the purposes of its ratings process. Please refer to www.moodys.com for the Regulatory Disclosures for each credit rating action under the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page and for details of Moody's Policy for Designating Non-Participating Rated Entities.

Regulatory disclosures contained in this press release apply to the credit rating and, if applicable, the related rating outlook or rating review.

Moody's general principles for assessing environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks in our credit analysis can be found at http://www.moodys.com/researchdocumentcontentpage.aspx?docid=PBC_1263068.

The Global Scale Credit Rating on this Credit Rating Announcement was issued by one of Moody's affiliates outside the EU and is endorsed by Moody's Deutschland GmbH, An der Welle 5, Frankfurt am Main 60322, Germany, in accordance with Art.4 paragraph 3 of the Regulation (EC) No 1060/2009 on Credit Rating Agencies. Further information on the EU endorsement status and on the Moody's office that issued the credit rating is available on www.moodys.com.

The Global Scale Credit Rating on this Credit Rating Announcement was issued by one of Moody's affiliates outside the UK and is endorsed by Moody's Investors Service Limited, One Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5FA under the law applicable to credit rating agencies in the UK. Further information on the UK endorsement status and on the Moody's office that issued the credit rating is available on www.moodys.com.

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.

Chen Huang
Senior Vice President
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

Yat Man Sally Yim, CFA
MD - Financial Institutions
Financial Institutions Group
JOURNALISTS: 852 3758 1350
Client Service: 852 3551 3077

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.
© 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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