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Announcement:

Moody's comments on the French government's announcement of a package to restore confidence in the financial system

15 Oct 2008
Moody's comments on the French government's announcement of a package to restore confidence in the financial system

Paris, October 15, 2008 -- Moody's Investors Service today commented on the statement made by the French Government regarding a package to restore confidence in the French financial and banking system. Moody's views the announcement as a very positive development, in helping to restore confidence in the banking system. Moody's believes that these actions will support greater stability for ratings of French banks although the rating agency does not expect wholesale rating changes in the sector, where ratings of large banks are already incorporating external support.

The announcement includes the following:

(i) the creation of a new public body ("Caisse de Refinancement des Etablissements de Crédits"), benefiting from an explicit State guarantee, to provide loans to the French banks for up to €320 billion

(ii) the provision of €40 billion of funds to the "Société de prises de participation de l'Etat" to subscribe to Tier 1 subordinated capital, preference shares or ordinary shares of banks (including the participation recently taken in Dexia's capital)

(iii) the confirmation of the guarantee on Dexia's interbank and institutional funding, as agreed with the Governments of Belgium and Luxembourg on 30 September

All financial institutions headquartered in France and respecting regulatory ratios are eligible to apply for loans of a maturity of up to five years, until 31 December 2009. The loans granted by the "Caisse de Refinancement des Etablissements de Crédits" will be collateralized by the following assets:

- first lien mortgage loans

- non-mortgage backed property loans, for properties based in France

- loans to public sector bodies

- high quality corporate loans

- consumer loans to French residents

The pricing of the loans will incorporate the refinancing costs of the "Caisse de Refinancement des Etablissements de Crédits" and an additional spread reflecting the State guarantee.

Also to restore confidence in the system, the Government, through its "Sociétés de prises de participation de l'Etat", will be able to subscribe to subordinated capital or Preference Shares of banks. The Government will decide which banks are eligible for this measure. In addition, the "Sociétés de prises de participation de l'Etat" will also be able to subscribe to ordinary shares of banks facing difficulties and which failure could create systemic problems. Those capital interventions are not limited in time but will be temporary.

The French plan is in accordance with the coordinated Eurozone plan announced on 12 October. It has been approved by the French Cabinet on 13 October and will be submitted to the French Parliament under an emergency procedure.

While to varying degrees, systemic support already had been incorporated into our ratings for the larger banks the provision of liquidity and capital by government actions will result in a reduction of the pace of negative rating actions. However, rating actions (positive or negative) will continue to be influenced by underlying credit and franchise fundamentals utilizing Moody's established bank rating methodology and will anticipate franchise strength following the scaling back of these support programs when the financial crisis abates. The exception will be for obligations of banks for which there is clear substitution of risk by the government for that of the bank, as in the case of explicit guarantees. Here, Moody's will de-link the risk assessment from the bank and apply the appropriate government rating to the specific obligations.

MOODY'S PERSPECTIVE

On 8 October, Moody's released a Special Comment on its approach towards incorporating government support for banking systems into its ratings titled "Assessing the Rating Implications for Banks of the Current Market Turmoil and Governmental Interventions to Support Their Banking Systems" and on 14 October Moody's released another Special Comment on the coordinated European response to the crisis titled "Actions by European Sovereigns provide substantial de-risking for large European banks".

Moody's expects the announced plan to provide French banks with significant capital cushions if needed in a difficult environment. Moody's also expects that the overall demonstrated support by the French and European authorities, through capital, loans or guarantees, will ease the liquidity pressures exerted on banks through the loss of market confidence.

London
Reynold R. Leegerstee
Managing Director
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Paris
Stephane Le Priol
VP - Senior Credit Officer
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's France S.A.
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

No Related Data.
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​​​​
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