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Rating Action:

Moody's concludes review for downgrade of Argentinean financial institutions

22 Jun 2012

NOTE: On October 11, 2012, the press release was revised as follows: The fifth paragraph was corrected to read "All the revised ratings carry a stable outlook, with the exception of Standard Bank Argentina's local currency deposit and debt ratings that remain on review for possible downgrade in light of its acquisition by China's ICBC pending regulatory approval.? Revised release follows.

Buenos Aires City, June 22, 2012 -- Moody's Investors Service has today downgraded the standalone bank financial strength ratings or lowered the standalone credit assessments of 31 financial institutions in Argentina by one to five notches. These rating actions reflect the detrimental effects of Argentina's macroeconomic, political and country risk environment on financial institutions coupled with Moody's assessment of the high correlation between their credit profiles and that of the sovereign.

Moody's also downgraded by one to three notches the global scale local currency deposit ratings of 28 banks and six finance companies, and the issuer ratings of one financial services holding company and one commodities exchange. Moody's Latin America has also downgraded the long term local and foreign currency debt ratings of 19 Argentinean banks and finance companies.

At the same time Moody's downgraded, on its national scale for Argentina, the local currency deposit and issuer ratings of 26 institutions and lowered the local and foreign currency debt ratings of 13 and 7 institutions, respectively.

Short and long term foreign currency deposit ratings on both the global and national scales were unaffected by this rating action; however global scale foreign currency debt ratings of four institutions were affected.

All the revised ratings carry a stable outlook, with the exception of Standard Bank Argentina's local currency deposit and debt ratings that remain on review for possible downgrade in light of its acquisition by China's ICBC pending regulatory approval.

Today's rating actions conclude the reviews for possible downgrade Moody's initiated on November 21, 2011, in light of the potential adverse effects on Argentinean bank credit fundamentals of a weakening economic outlook coupled with government measures and currency controls. The rating actions also conclude the reviews continued or initiated on March 16 and March 21, 2012 of financial institutions with standalone credit assessments above the B3 rating of the Argentinean government, as discussed in the rating implementation guidance "How Sovereign Credit Quality May Affect Other Ratings" published 13 February 2012, and in the special comment "Banks and Sovereigns: Risk Correlations Constrain Standalone Bank Credit Assessments," published 30 April 2012.

Moody's has also reassessed its assumptions about the probability of government support for Argentinean banks, finance companies and commodities exchange. As a result of this reassessment, the systemic support indicator for Argentina has been lowered to B2 from B1, which has contributed to the downgrade of the local currency ratings. The ratings outcomes are also influenced by the recent lowering of Argentina's local currency deposit and debt ceilings to Ba3 from Ba1 in light of increased political and country risk. The new ceiling now caps the local currency ratings of all financial institutions at Ba3.

Moody's standalone bank financial strength ratings and standalone credit assessments for the rated Argentinean financial institutions now range between E+ and E, from D+ and E+ previously, and between ba3 and caa2, from ba1 and caa1 previously.

Local currency deposit and debt ratings now range between Ba3 and B3, from Ba1 and B3 previously, reflecting the downgrade of the standalone ratings together with the reduced systemic support assumptions and local currency ceilings.

Please see http://www.moodys.com/viewresearchdoc.aspx?docid=PBC_143390 for the full list of affected issuers and their credit ratings.

For additional information on bank ratings, please refer to the webpage containing Moody's related announcements http://www.moodys.com/bankratings2012.

RATINGS RATIONALE

DOWNGRADE OF STANDALONE RATINGS TO THE SOVEREIGN DEBT RATING LEVEL

The downgrades of the standalone ratings of the 31 Argentinean financial institutions to the B3 level of the government reflects Moody's assessment that the creditworthiness of these entities is highly correlated with that of the government taking into account (i) the degree to which their businesses depend on the domestic macroeconomic and financial environment; (ii) their direct and indirect exposures to the sovereign, and (iii) their lack of cross border diversification.

The exceptions are Banco de Valores and MATBa, whose standalone assessments were lowered to b2 from ba1, and to b1 from ba3, respectively, and are now one and two notches above the level of the Argentinean government. These exceptions reflect factors that help mitigate the risk correlations with the government, including their key roles as clearing bank for the stock exchange and as the largest domestic commodities exchange, respectively, moderate direct exposures to government debt, as well as their supportive shareholder groups through several economic and financial crises. Valores' b2 standalone assessment reflects its dual role as both a commercial and clearing bank, hence exposed to macroeconomic conditions as other banks.

In the case of the Argentinean banks, the rating downgrades also incorporate the risks related to increasing government intervention through mechanisms unfavorable to the earnings generation, funding dynamics, and financial flexibility of financial institutions. Such mechanisms include the application of ever tighter foreign exchange controls and other administrative and legal measures that have weakened confidence in the financial system as demonstrated by accelerated deposit outflows. These policies, together with the YPF nationalization and the change in the central bank's bylaw, also raise questions regarding the predictability of government policies.

LOCAL CURRENCY DEPOSIT AND DEBT RATINGS LIFTED BY PARENTAL AND/OR GOVERNMENT SUPPORT

Moody's deposit ratings incorporate assumptions about potential external support from a parent institution, or a regional or national government. These assumptions reflect both the capacity and the willingness of such third parties to support a bank in the event of stress.

Increasing political risk and country risk in Argentina over the past few years has led Moody's to reassess its assumptions about the probability of government support that can be incorporated into financial institutions' deposit and debt ratings, with the degree of uplift from such assumptions depending on a bank's systemic importance as a deposit-taker and lender.

Foreign-owned institutions in Argentina continue to have the highest global local currency deposit rating of Ba3 primarily due to the probability of support from higher rated foreign parent institutions and aligned to the shareholder's percentage ownership. These banks include Banco Santander Rio S.A., HSBC Bank Argentina S.A., Standard Bank Argentina S.A., Banco Patagonia S.A., Banco Itau Argentina S.A., BNP Paribas (Argentina branch), Toyota Compania Financiera de Argentina S.A., Banco Cetelem Argentina S.A., Banco de Servicios Financieros S.A., and Caterpillar Financial Services Argentina S.A.

PSA Finance Argentina S.A. and GPAT Compania Financiera S.A. are now rated B1 for local currency deposits, also reflecting support from their higher-rated parent institutions, Banque PSA Finance and Banco Patagonia, respectively. Banco de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires is the only domestic bank now rated at the B1 level because it benefits from uplift due to the assumption of the probability of support from its parent, the City of Buenos Aires, currently rated B1 in local currency by Moody's.

Large domestically-owned institutions whose standalone ratings receive uplift due to our assessment of the probability of systemic support are now rated B2 for global local currency deposits . They are: Banco Macro S.A., Banco del Tucum?n S.A., Banco de Galicia y Buenos Aires S.A., Compa??a Financiera Argentina S.A., Banco Comafi S.A., Banco del Chubut, Banco de Santiago del Estero S.A., Nuevo Banco de la Rioja S.A., Banco Credicoop Cooperativo Limitado, Banco de Valores S.A., Banco de Inversi?n y Comercio Exterior S.A., Banco Supervielle S.A., and Cordial Compa??a Financiera S.A. The B3 local currency issuer rating of Grupo Supervielle reflects one notch of subordination from its main operating company, Banco Supervielle.

The B3 rating of the following institutions is in line with their standalone ratings as they do not benefit from uplift due to systemic support, given their more modest deposit and loan market shares: Banco Piano S.A., Banco S?enz S.A., Banco de Servicios y Transacciones S.A., Banco Industrial S.A., Multifinanzas Compa??a Financiera S.A., Banco de la Provincia de C?rdoba S.A., Banco Finansur S.A., Banco Columbia S.A., and Caja de Cr?dito Cuenca Cooperativo Ltda.

The local currency senior and subordinated debt ratings of 13 banks and 5 finance companies have been downgraded in line with the downgrades of the local currency deposit ratings. As per Moody's notching convention, subordinated debts are rated one notch below the issuers' deposit ratings.

FOREIGN CURRENCY DEPOSIT AND DEBT RATINGS

Foreign currency deposit ratings of Caa1 for all issuers were unaffected by this rating action and remain with stable outlooks. However, the B2 foreign currency senior debt ratings of three institutions -- Banco de Servicios y Transacciones, Banco Saenz, and Banco Columbia were lowered by one notch to B3, mapping directly from their local currency debt ratings. The foreign currency subordinated debt ratings of Banco Galicia and Banco Supervielle were also lowered to B3 from B2, indicating one notch of subordination.

In the case of Banco Macro's foreign currency junior subordinated debt, the rating has been downgraded by four notches from B2 to Caa3, and on the national scale, by seven notches from Aa3.ar to Caa1.ar. The rating reflects a three-notch differential from the bank's B3 standalone rating in accordance with Moody's hybrid methodology for banks, and reflects the instrument's deep subordination and optional deferral and loss absorption features.

NATIONAL SCALE RATINGS

The downgrade of the global local currency deposit and issuer ratings of 26 banks and finance companies has led to the downgrade of their deposit ratings on the Argentinean national scale by one to four notches. The local and/or foreign currency national scale debt ratings of 14 institutions have also been downgraded by between one and two notches.

Moody's National Scale Ratings (NSRs) are intended as relative measures of creditworthiness among debt issues and issuers within a country, enabling market participants to better differentiate relative risks. NSRs differ from Moody's global scale ratings in that they are not globally comparable with the full universe of Moody's rated entities, but only with NSRs for other rated debt issues and issuers within the same country. NSRs are designated by a ".nn" country modifier signifying the relevant country, as in ".ar" for Argentina. For further information on Moody's approach to national scale ratings, please refer to Moody's Rating Methodology published in March 2011 entitled "Mapping Moody's National Scale Ratings to Global Scale Ratings.

WHAT COULD MOVE THE RATINGS UP/DOWN

As the key drivers of today's actions are largely structural in nature, upward rating movement is unlikely in the near term. Beyond the foreseeable future, a combination of an improving operating environment and an improvement in the credit risk profile of the national government could positively influence Argentinean banks' ratings. Conversely, deterioration in the banks' operating environment and/or a weakening of their standalone financial fundamentals could exert further downward pressure on the ratings.

WHICH FIRMS ARE AFFECTED

Foreign-Owned Banks with Uplift due to Parental Support

Banco Santander Rio S.A.

HSBC Bank Argentina S.A.

Standard Bank Argentina S.A.

Banco Patagonia S.A.

GPAT Compania Financiera S.A.

Banco Itau Argentina S.A.

BNP Paribas (Argentine branch)

PSA Finance Argentina S.A.

Banco de Servicios Financieros S.A.

Banco Cetelem S.A.

Caterpillar Financial Services Argentina S.A.

Toyota Compa??a Financiera S.A.

Domestically-Owned Banks with Uplift due to Systemic Support

Banco de Galicia y Buenos Aires S.A.

Compania Financiera Argentina S.A.

Banco Supervielle

Grupo Supervielle

Cordial Compania Financiera S.A.

Banco de la Ciudad y Buenos Aires S.A.

Banco Macro S.A.

Banco del Tucum?n S.A.

Banco Credicoop Cooperativo Limitado

Banco de Valores S.A.

Banco Comafi S.A.

Banco de Inversi?n y Comercio Exterior

Banco del Chubut S.A.

Banco de Santiago del Estero S.A.

Banco de Nuevo Rioja S.A.

Domestic institutions Not Benefiting from Parental or Systemic Support

Banco Columbia S.A.

Banco Piano S.A.

Banco S?enz S.A.

Banco de Servicios y Transacciones S.A.

Banco Industrial S.A.

Multifinanzas Compa??a Financiera S.A.

Banco de la Provincia de C?rdoba S.A.

Banco Finansur S.A.

Caja de Cr?dito Cuenca Cooperativo Ltda.

Mercado a Termino de Buenos Aires S.A. (MATba)

REGULATORY DISCLOSURES

The following Global Scale Credit Ratings are EU endorsed by Moody's Investors Service Ltd., One Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E 14 5FA, UK, 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 has issued a particular Credit Rating is available on www.moodys.com.

Banco Comafi S.A.

Banco de Galicia y Buenos Aires S.A.

Banco de Inversion y Comercio Exterior S.A.

Banco de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires

Banco Macro S.A.

Banco Patagonia S.A.

Banco Santander Rio S.A.

Banco Supervielle S.A.

Deutsche Bank S.A. (Argentina)

HSBC Bank Argentina S.A.

Standard Bank Argentina S.A.

For ratings issued on a program, series or category/class of debt, this announcement provides relevant 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 relevant 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 relevant 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.

Information sources used to prepare the rating are the following: parties involved in the ratings, public information, and confidential and proprietary Moody's Investors Service information.

Moody's considers the quality of information available on the rated entities, obligations or credits satisfactory for the purposes of issuing these ratings.

Moody's adopts all necessary measures so that the information it uses in assigning the ratings is of sufficient quality and from sources Moody's considers to be reliable including, when appropriate, independent third-party sources. However, Moody's is not an auditor and cannot in every instance independently verify or validate information received in the rating process.

Please see the ratings disclosure page on www.moodys.com for general disclosure on potential conflicts of interests.

Please see the ratings disclosure page on www.moodys.com for information on (A) MCO's major shareholders (above 5%) and for (B) further information regarding certain affiliations that may exist between directors of MCO and rated entities as well as (C) the names of entities that hold ratings from MIS that have also publicly reported to the SEC an ownership interest in MCO of more than 5%. A member of the board of directors of this rated entity may also be a member of the board of directors of a shareholder of Moody's Corporation; however, Moody's has not independently verified this matter.

Please see Moody's Rating Symbols and Definitions on the Rating Process page on www.moodys.com for further information on the meaning of each rating category and the definition of default and recovery.

Please see ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on www.moodys.com for the last rating action and the rating history.

The date on which some ratings were first released goes back to a time before Moody's ratings were fully digitized and accurate data may not be available. Consequently, Moody's provides a date that it believes is the most reliable and accurate based on the information that is available to it. Please see the ratings disclosure page on our website www.moodys.com for further information.

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.

Maria Valeria Azconegui
Analyst
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Latin America
Ing. Butty 240
16th Floor
Buenos Aires City C1001AFB
Argentina
JOURNALISTS: (800) 666 -3506
SUBSCRIBERS: (5411) 5129 2600

Maria Celina?Vansetti-Hutchins
MD - Banking
Financial Institutions Group
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

Releasing Office:
Moody's Latin America
Ing. Butty 240
16th Floor
Buenos Aires City C1001AFB
Argentina
JOURNALISTS: (800) 666 -3506
SUBSCRIBERS: (5411) 5129 2600

Moody's concludes review for downgrade of Argentinean financial institutions
No Related Data.
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