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Rating Action:

Moody's confirms Credit Agricole SA at Aa1, downgrades Calyon to Aa3

04 Feb 2009

BFSRs downgraded; outlook negative on all ratings

Paris, February 04, 2009 -- Moody's Investors Service today downgraded the bank financial strength rating (BFSR) of Credit Agricole SA (CASA) to B- from B and confirmed its long-term debt and deposit ratings at Aa1. At the same time, Moody's downgraded the BFSR of its subsidiary Calyon to D from C and its long-term debt and deposit ratings to Aa3 from Aa1. The BFSR of Le Credit Lyonnais (LCL), another CASA subsidiary, was also downgraded to C+ from B-, while LCL's long-term debt and deposit ratings were confirmed at Aa1.

All long-term debt and deposit ratings and BFSRs were assigned negative outlooks except LCL's C+ BFSR, which carries a stable outlook. The long-term debt and deposit ratings of other CASA subsidiaries are also affected. Please see the list of affected ratings at the end of this press release. All short-term ratings were affirmed.

Moody's rating actions conclude the review for possible downgrade initiated on 28 August 2008 in response to reported losses at Calyon.

In Moody's view, Calyon remains exposed to potentially significant additional impairments on its structured finance portfolios in the event that the global capital markets remain stressed. The rating agency believes that Calyon could, in such circumstances, require further support from Groupe Credit Agricole (GCA) to shore up its capital position or protect it from additional losses. This is the principal reason for the downgrade of Calyon's BFSR to D from C, as well as the negative outlook on the BFSR.

Moody's added that, while Calyon has taken initial steps to reduce its risk profile, its risk management retains weaknesses that leave it exposed to potential earnings volatility that is inconsistent with C rated banks. The rating agency also noted that Calyon's loan portfolio has sizable concentrations in a number of sectors, including shipping finance and commercial real estate, which are likely to come under significant pressure due to the global economic slowdown. These exposures could also contribute to increased earnings volatility over the medium term.

Despite these challenges, Moody's said that Calyon's BFSR remains supported by its good liquidity situation, its strong position in corporate banking in France, and leading institutional equities brokerage platforms in Europe and Asia.

The downgrade of Calyon's deposit and debt ratings to Aa3 from Aa1 reflects the downgrade of the bank's BFSR. Although Calyon is a wholly owned subsidiary of CASA, it is not directly covered by GCA's mutualist support mechanisms. The downgrade therefore recognises that group support falls short of a full guarantee. Nonetheless, Calyon's debt and deposit ratings still benefit from a very high probability of group support from CASA and the group due to Calyon's strategic importance to the group. These ratings thus enjoy an eight-notch uplift from the bank's baseline credit assessment of Ba2. The negative outlook on Calyon's debt and deposit ratings reflects both the negative outlook on the BFSR and the negative outlook on CASA's ratings.

Moody's notes that Calyon continues to weigh on GCA's overall profitability and efficiency. This impact is even more marked for CASA, which consolidates only 25% of the regional banks in its accounts. Given the relative heavier weight of Calyon in CASA than in GCA, as well as the corresponding lesser importance of more stable retail banking activities in CASA than in GCA, Moody's has decided to position CASA's BFSR below what a BFSR for GCA would be -- hence, the downgrade of CASA's BFSR to B- from B previously. However, Moody's continues to recognise the integration between CASA and the regional banks through the mutualist support mechanisms, which together with a very high probability of systemic support translates into a three-notch uplift for CASA's long-term senior debt and deposit ratings of Aa1.

GCA has demonstrated a significant resilience to the stresses at Calyon thanks to its other activities, including retail banking and insurance. However, Moody's remains concerned that additional stresses at Calyon, captured by the negative outlook on Calyon's BFSR, combined with a marked deterioration in the retail activities in a challenging macro-economic environment, could exert pressure on GCA's and CASA's creditworthiness. These concerns are reflected in the negative outlook on both CASA's BFSR and its long-term ratings. If Calyon's profitability situation improved and the regional banks' retail activities demonstrated a marked resilience, Moody's could consider changing the outlook on CASA back to stable.

LCL's BFSR was also downgraded by one notch to C+ from B-. Although Moody's acknowledges the operating improvements displayed by the bank in 2008, LCL's market positioning will put it more at risk in the coming market downturn than the regional banks of the group. Moody's is concerned that a likely deterioration in LCL's loan portfolio may offset some of the recent benefits of the restructuring. LCL is more appropriately and more firmly positioned at the C+ level, as recognised by the stable outlook on the bank's BFSR. At the same time, LCL continues to benefit from its integration in and support from the group -- hence, its long-term debt and deposit ratings are in line with those of CASA at Aa1, with a negative outlook.

In respect of the Group's main operating units, the following rating actions have been taken:

- Credit Agricole SA's BFSR downgraded to B- from B, deposit and senior unsecured debt ratings confirmed at Aa1, subordinated debt ratings and junior subordinated debt ratings confirmed at Aa2, and preferred stock rating confirmed at Aa3; all ratings have a negative outlook. The Prime-1 short-term rating is affirmed.

- Calyon's BFSR downgraded to D from C, deposit and senior unsecured debt ratings downgraded to Aa3 from Aa1, and subordinated debt rating downgraded to A1 from Aa2; all ratings have a negative outlook. The Prime-1 short-term rating is affirmed.

- Le Credit Lyonnais' BFSR downgraded to C+ from B-, deposit and senior unsecured debt ratings confirmed at Aa1, subordinated debt ratings and junior subordinated debt ratings confirmed at Aa2; long-term ratings have a negative outlook. The Prime-1 short-term rating is affirmed.

In respect of the Group's other subsidiaries, the following rating actions have been taken:

- Credit Agricole SA, London Branch's Aa1 deposit and senior unsecured debt ratings and Aa2 junior subordinated debt ratings have been confirmed and assigned a negative outlook.

- The deposit and senior unsecured debt ratings of the 29 rated Caisses Regionales de Credit Agricole Mutuel (CRCAM) have been confirmed at Aa1 and assigned a negative outlook.

- CA Preferred Funding Trust's Aa3 backed preferred stock rating has been confirmed and assigned a negative outlook.

- CA Preferred Funding Trust II's Aa3 backed preferred stock rating has been confirmed and assigned a negative outlook.

- Calyon New York Branch's long-term deposit ratings and deposit note ratings downgraded to Aa3 from Aa1 and carry a negative outlook.

- Calyon Tokyo Branch's long-term deposit rating downgraded to Aa3 from Aa1 and carries a negative outlook.

- Calyon Financial Products (Guernsey) Ltd's backed senior unsecured debt ratings downgraded to Aa3 from Aa1, and subordinated debt rating downgraded to A1 from Aa2; Junior subordinated debt ratings of Aa2 have been withdrawn as there is no debt outstanding of this seniority. All long-term ratings have a negative outlook.

- Calyon Finance (Guernsey) Limited's backed senior unsecured debt ratings downgraded to Aa3 from Aa1, and subordinated debt rating downgraded to A1 from Aa2; Junior subordinated debt ratings of Aa2 have been withdrawn as there is no debt outstanding of this seniority. All long-term ratings have a negative outlook.

- Calyon Financial Solutions' backed senior unsecured debt ratings downgraded to Aa3 from Aa1 and carry a negative outlook.

- Calyon Bank Ukraine's senior unsecured rating downgraded to Ba1 from Baa1; local and foreign currency deposit ratings affirmed at Ba1 and B2, respectively, with stable outlook.

- CL Capital Trust's Aa3 backed preferred stock rating has been confirmed and assigned a negative outlook.

- Credit Lyonnais Capital SCA's Aa3 backed preferred stock rating has been confirmed and assigned a negative outlook.

- Lukas Bank SA's local currency deposit rating downgraded to A2 from A1 with stable outlook. The BFSR is unchanged at C- with stable outlook.

- Europejski Fundusz Leasingowy SA's issuer rating downgraded to A2 from A1 with stable outlook.

All short-term debt and deposit ratings are unchanged.

No rating action has been taken on the Group's following subsidiaries:

- Calyon North America

- Cassa di Risparmio di Parma e Piacenza

- Banca Popolare Friuladria

- Credit Uruguay Banco SA

- Credit du Maroc

- Credit Lyonnais Australia Limited

The last rating action on CASA, Calyon and LCL was on 28 August 2008, when Moody's placed CASA's, Calyon's and LCL's respective BFSRs of B, C and B- and their deposit and senior unsecured debt ratings of Aa1 on review for possible downgrade.

The principal methodologies used in rating the issuers affected by this press release are "Bank Financial Strength Ratings: Global Methodology" and "Incorporation of Joint-Default Analysis into Moody's Bank Ratings: A Refined Methodology", which can be found at www.moodys.com in the Credit Policy & Methodologies directory, in the Ratings Methodologies sub-directory. Other methodologies and factors that may have been considered in the process of rating these issuers can also be found in the Credit Policy & Methodologies directory.

Headquartered in Paris, CASA reported IFRS consolidated assets of EUR1.4 trillion at end-June 2008. CASA's H1 2008 net income (Group share) declined by 75% to EUR968 million versus the same period in 2007. The Crédit Agricole Group disclosed net income (Group share) of EUR1.5 billion in H1 2008, down by 66% versus the same period in 2007. At end-June 2008, the Group reported total consolidated assets of EUR1.5 trillion.

Headquartered in Paris La Défense, Calyon had total assets of EUR693 billion at end-June 2008. The bank recorded a negative net income, group share, of EUR-1.2 billion for the first half of 2008.

Headquartered in Paris, LCL had total assets of EUR95 billion at end-June 2008. In H1 2008, the bank reported net profit, group share, of EUR289 million.

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

Frankfurt
Carola Schuler
Senior Vice President
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Deutschland GmbH
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Moody's confirms Credit Agricole SA at Aa1, downgrades Calyon to Aa3
No Related Data.
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