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Announcement:

Moody's changes the outlook on Banco de Galicia's ratings to positive

08 Sep 2010

Buenos Aires, September 08, 2010 -- Moody's Investors Service changed to positive, from stable, the outlook on Banco de Galicia y Buenos Aires (Galicia)'s D - (minus) bank financial strength rating (BFSR), as well as on its Ba3 global local currency deposit rating. The global long- and short-term foreign currency deposit ratings of Caa1 and Not Prime were affirmed. At the same time, Moody's Latin America changed to positive, from stable, the outlook on Galicia's national scale local currency deposit rating of Aa2.ar. The national scale foreign currency deposit rating of Ba1.ar was affirmed.

Moody's said the change in outlook is supported by the improvement in Galicia's balance sheet profile, as indicated by the substantial reduction reported in its exposure to the Argentine public sector, and the resulting positive effect on its asset mix and liquidity. Galicia managed to halve such exposure to 7.3% of its assets in mid 2010, from 15.9% in June 2009, mainly by swapping its stock of "Guaranteed Loans" (Préstamos Garantizados) for Argentine government bonds, and by selling its holdings of government Bodens 2012. Additionally, Galicia has been reducing its stock of foreign debt as it has repurchased part of its outstanding bonds.

As a result, Moody's noted, Galicia's risk assets have shifted towards private sector, peso-denominated loans, which have increased by a hefty 25% over the past 12 months. On the other hand, loans to individuals accounted for 56% of its total loans as of June 2010 up from 46% in 2008. Moreover, lending growth has allowed Galicia to increase its core profitability, which management has used to accelerate the amortization of legal proceedings ("amparos"). These are a legacy of the Argentine crisis, and have been declining gradually, with a modest Ar$115 million yet to be amortized.

Moody's noted that it will closely monitor Galicia's asset quality, however, particularly as it relates to the performance of its growing credit card portfolio, including that of its subsidiaries, Tarjetas Regionales. This business line has experienced consistent expansion over the past several years and now accounts for 39% of Galicia's total loans; a further increase in its credit card concentration could put the upward rating movement at risk, the rating agency said.

Banco Galicia y Buenos Aires S.A. is a universal bank headquartered in Buenos Aires. The bank offers financial services to retail, small and medium companies as well as to corporates. As of June 2010, Banco Galicia accounted assets and equity for Ar$ 30.3 billion and Ar$ 2.3 billion respectively on a consolidated basis.

The outlook for the following ratings were changed to positive from stable:

Bank Financial Strength Rating of D-

Long- and short-term global local-currency deposit ratings of Ba3

Long-Term National Scale Local-Currency Deposit Rating of Aa2.ar

The following ratings were affirmed:

Long- and short-term global foreign-currency deposit ratings of Caa1 and Not Prime

Long -Term National Scale Foreign Currency Deposit Rating of Ba1.ar

Buenos Aires
Maria Andrea Manavella
VP - Senior Credit Officer
Financial Institutions Group

New York
Jeanne Del Casino
VP - Senior Credit Officer
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

Moody's Latin America, Calificadora de Riesgo
Cerrito 1186, 11th fl
Buenos Aires C1010AAX
Argentina

Moody's changes the outlook on Banco de Galicia's ratings to positive
No Related Data.
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