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Rating Action:

Moody's changes outlook on Bank of Ireland UK's deposit ratings to positive

11 Dec 2015

London, 11 December 2015 -- Moody's Investors Service (Moody's) has today affirmed the long-term deposit ratings of Bank of Ireland (UK) plc (BOI UK) at Ba2 and changed the outlook on the ratings to positive from stable. Moody's has also affirmed BOI UK's baseline credit assessment (BCA) and adjusted BCA at ba2 and its counterparty risk assessment (CR Assessment) at Baa2(cr)/Prime-2(cr). Short-term deposit ratings have been affirmed at Not Prime.

The action follows the change of outlook on the bank's parent, Bank of Ireland's (BOI, Baa2/Baa2, positive, ba2), deposit and senior unsecured ratings to positive from stable. Moody's has maintained the alignment of the BCAs of both entities given the high level of integration between BOI and BOI UK. The positive outlook reflects Moody's expectation that (1) the long term deposit rating could move up in line with the BCA of its parent; and (2) the bank's improving credit fundamentals, which will contribute to an upgrade, to the extent that the bank develops a longer track record of independence from its parent.

RATINGS RATIONALE

AFFIRMATION OF THE BANK'S BCA

Moody's affirmation of BOI UK's BCA and adjusted BCA at ba2 in line with the BCA of BOI reflects the high level of integration between the subsidiary and its parent. Since its creation in 2010, the balance sheet of BOI UK has changed due to intra-group transfers of assets, liabilities and capital from and to BOI. During 2014, BOI UK acquired GBP1.5 billion of mortgages from the parent and received GBP15 million in capital from BOI, although parent capital contributions declined compared to the GBP121 million transferred in 2013. In 2015, the bank restructured some of its junior instruments: (1) in May BOI UK repurchased GBP300 million preference shares held by BOI and issued as a replacement GBP200 million of high trigger Additional Tier 1 (AT1), which are held by BOI. The remaining GBP100 million was repatriated to the BOI group following regulatory approval; (2) in November, BOI UK restructured GBP523 million of Tier 2 debt into GBP100 million high-trigger AT1 and GBP200 million new Tier 2 issuance, which are again held by BOI. The bank repatriated GBP58m to BOI and increased its common equity with the remaining GBP165 million. Although Moody's considers these restructuring transactions as positive given their contribution to increase the bank's tangible common equity, they also highlight the interconnectedness between BOI UK and its parent.

The positive outlook also incorporates BOI UK's improving credit fundamentals, which will translate into an upgrade to the extent that the bank enhances its track record of independence from its parent. These changes in BOI UK's credit metrics include: (1) improving asset risk metrics with the impaired loan ratio declining to 6.3% in 2014 from 7.9% a year earlier, albeit the lending portfolio remains exposed to some downside risks given its relatively high average loan-to-value ratios; (2) solid capital levels; (3) stronger profitability amid a more competitive operating environment in the UK; and (4) sound funding profile, supported by a broad deposit base sourced largely through its relationship with the Post Office in addition to deposits from Northern Ireland and GB Business banking.

AFFIRMATION OF DEPOSITS AND SENIOR UNSECURED RATINGS

The Ba2 deposit ratings incorporate the results of Moody's Advanced LGF analysis. The analysis is forward-looking and is based on the bank's pro-forma balance sheet at-failure incorporating the two capital transactions performed during the course of 2015.

A relatively low level of subordinated debt in BOI UK's liability structure that would otherwise provide a loss absorbing cushion results in no uplift from the BCA level for deposit ratings.

RATIONALE FOR THE POSITIVE OUTLOOK

The positive outlook on BOI UK's long-term deposit ratings is aligned with the outlook on BOI's ratings and reflects Moody's expectation that the improving trends in BOI UK's asset quality and profitability will continue, supported by the favourable operating environment.

WHAT WOULD MOVE THE RATING UP / DOWN

BOI UK's deposit ratings could be upgraded as a result of (1) an increase of its standalone ba2 BCA; or (2) a significant increase in the bank's bail-in-able debt. BOI UK's BCA of ba2 could also be upgraded to the extent that the bank establishes a longer track record of independence from its parent while further maintaining strong credit fundamentals.

BOI UK's deposit ratings could be downgraded as a result of a lowering of its ba2 BCA. The BCA could be lowered if higher than expected losses were to cause BOI UK's capitalisation to decline materially. A substantial increase in the bank's risk profile could also lead to negative rating pressure. Given the level of integration with BOI, a downgrade of the parent's BCA could also result in the lowering of BOI UK's ratings.

PRINCIPAL METHODOLOGY

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.

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.

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.

Carlos Suarez Duarte
Vice President - Senior Analyst
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
One Canada Square
Canary Wharf
London E14 5FA
United Kingdom
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Nicholas Hill
Managing Director
Financial Institutions Group
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Releasing Office:
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
One Canada Square
Canary Wharf
London E14 5FA
United Kingdom
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Moody's changes outlook on Bank of Ireland UK's deposit ratings to positive
No Related Data.
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