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Rating Action:

Moody's assigns definitive Aa1 rating to the inaugural Mortgage Covered Bonds issued by Montepio

28 Jul 2009

Madrid, July 28, 2009 -- Moody's has assigned definitive long-term ratings of Aa1 to the "Obrigações Hipotecárias" (or Mortgage Covered Bonds) issued by Caixa Económica Montepio Geral (Montepio: the Issuer) under its mortgage covered bond programme. The rating takes into account the following factors:

1) The credit strength of Montepio (rated A2/Prime-1/C-, under review for possible downgrade). Montepio is the sixth-largest financial institution in the Portuguese market in terms of assets and it has a strong position in mortgage lending, with a market share of around 10%.

2) The credit quality of the pool of assets (the cover pool) securing the payment obligations under the Covered Bonds. The provisional Cover Pool comprises loans secured by first and consecutive ranking mortgages on residential properties based in Portugal, up to an indexed LTV of 80%.

3) The robustness of the Portuguese legislation on covered bonds, the strengths of the Act in respect of mortgage covered bonds include: the special creditor privilege for covered bond investors over the cover pool; restrictive eligibility criteria in respect of the cover pool; the assurance that the cover pool is not part of the liquidation estate of the bank; 5.26% minimum nominal over-collateralisation; asset and liability management limitations; an independent Cover Pool Monitor; and a separate administrator upon Issuer default.

4) The Programme's specific structural features. Montepio has committed to maintain 13% over-collateralisation on a contractual basis, which exceeds the statutory level. Moody's understands that Montepio will formalise such commitment before 10 October 2009 and in the meanwhile will hold sufficient excess collateral in the Cover Pool. Covered Bond investors may benefit from a maturity extension of up to one year, which could reduce refinancing risk. In addition, Montepio will enter into swap agreements with third parties to manage interest rate exposure.

Moody's has assigned a Timely Payment Indicator (TPI) of "Probable-High" to the Covered Bonds.

As is the case with other covered bonds, Moody's considers the credit strength of the transaction to be linked to that of certain parties, in particular the Issuer. Should such credit strength deteriorate, all other things being equal, the rating of the Covered Bonds might be negatively affected. However, the Issuer has the ability, but not the obligation, to commit voluntary enhancements to the transaction such as further over-collateralisation in order to increase the level of de-linkage to its credit strength.

Although the rating of the Notes would not be constrained by the TPI to achieve Aaa, given that the current long-term debt rating of Montepio is A2, Moody's considers that its review for possible downgrade entails a degree of rating volatility not commensurate with Aaa ratings.

The ratings address the expected loss posed to investors. Moody's ratings address only the credit risks associated with the transaction. Other non-credit risks have not been addressed, but may have a significant effect on yield to investors.

The principal methodologies used in rating the transaction were "Moody's Rating Approach to European Covered Bond", published in June 2005, "Timely Payment in Covered Bonds following Sponsor Bank Default", published in March 2008, and "Assessing Swaps as Hedges in the Covered Bond Market", published in September 2008. All can be found on www.moodys.com in the Credit Policy & Methodologies directory, within the Ratings Methodologies subdirectory. Other methodologies and factors that may have been considered in the process of rating this issue can also be found in the Credit Policy & Methodologies directory.

To obtain a copy of Moody's pre-sale report for this transaction, please contact the client service desk in London on 44(0) 207772 5454 or visit our web page on www.moodys.com. Further information regarding the methodology applied may be found in the Report entitled "Moody's Rating Approach to European Covered Bonds", June 2005.

Madrid
Juan Pablo Soriano
Managing Director
Structured Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service Espana, S.A.
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Madrid
Jose de Leon
VP - Senior Credit Officer
Structured Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service Espana, S.A.
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Moody's assigns definitive Aa1 rating to the inaugural Mortgage Covered Bonds issued by Montepio
No Related Data.
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