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Announcement:

Moody's confirms Santander UK's A2/P-1/C- ratings

25 Oct 2012

Negative outlook on the senior rating; stable outlook on the standalone credit assessment

London, 25 October 2012 -- Moody's Investors Service has today confirmed the A2/Prime-1 debt and deposit ratings of Santander UK Plc. The outlook on the A2 senior debt and deposit rating is negative, reflecting Moody's medium-term view of lower systemic support for large UK banks. Moody's has also confirmed Santander UK's C- bank financial strength rating (equivalent to a baa1 standalone credit assessment) with a stable outlook. In line with the confirmation of the standalone credit assessment, the Baa2 subordinated debt rating, Baa3(hyb) junior subordinated debt rating and the Baa3(hyb)/Ba1(hyb) preference share ratings have been confirmed with a stable outlook.

This action concludes the review on Santander UK's ratings which was initiated on 27 June 2012.

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

RATINGS RATIONALE

The confirmation of the bank's C-/baa1 standalone credit assessment reflects Moody's view that Santander UK is relatively insulated from any potential rating pressure on its parent, Banco Santander S.A. (Baa2 /P-2 negative; C-/baa2 negative). Moody's can therefore rate Santander UK, on a standalone basis, higher than Banco Santander.

Santander UK is lead-regulated by the UK Financial Services Authority (FSA), and is managed on an autonomous basis with limited financial and direct operational connections to Banco Santander. As a result, Santander UK generally funds on an independent basis from Banco Santander and it has no direct exposure to the Spanish government (or regional governments). Santander UK's operational ties to the group are generally to separate legal entities within the Santander group (e.g., with respect to its widespread use of the group's IT infrastructure in many areas), which operate independently of its parent.

In addition, Santander UK is a systemically important bank in the UK. Therefore, Moody's believes there is a very low likelihood that the FSA would allow Santander UK to substantially weaken itself in order to support the parent. The baa1 standalone credit assessment also continues to reflect its solid and improving franchise in the UK as well as its robust, albeit weakening, earnings and strong cost efficiency. The baa1 standalone credit assessment also incorporates the relatively good credit performance of Santander UK's mortgage portfolio, as well as its sound liquidity profile and good capital ratios.

As a result of these characteristics that insulate the bank from pressures on its parent, the standalone credit assessment of Santander UK has the potential to be up to two, potentially even three notches higher than its parent (depending on the circumstances of such a potential gap opening). This reflects that although Moody's views the bank as being relatively insulated from Banco Santander, linkages remain, such as some shared businesses and the fact that the banks share the same branding.

The confirmation of the bank's A2/P-1 bank deposit and senior debt ratings is a result of the confirmation of the baa1 standalone credit assessment and the incorporation of two notches of UK systemic support uplift. Previously, the two-notch uplift of Santander UK's debt ratings comprised one notch of parental and one notch of systemic support. The ongoing two notches of support uplift from the standalone credit assessment is underpinned by Moody's assumption of a high likelihood of systemic support for the bank from the UK authorities. This is a result of the importance of Santander UK as one of the major UK banks, with a large market share of nationwide deposits and loans. The negative outlook on the A2 long-term ratings captures the likelihood of a reduction in the availability of systemic support over the medium to long term.

What Could Change the Rating -- Up/Down

Positive pressure on the standalone credit assessment could develop, if Santander UK (1) maintains its good asset quality even in the face of deteriorating economic conditions; or (2) further improves its profitability and capital. However, given the challenging economic conditions an upgrade is unlikely in the short to medium term. The negative outlooks on both the standalone credit assessment of Banco Santander SA and on the UK government bond rating imply that an upgrade of Santander UK's senior ratings is also unlikely.

Negative pressure on the standalone credit assessment would likely be driven by a worse-than-expected deterioration of Santander UK's loan-book asset quality. In addition, a significant decline in pre-provision income (beyond Moody's expectations) or a deterioration in the bank's funding and liquidity position could also lead to negative rating pressure.

PRINCIPAL METHODOLOGY

The principal methodology used in these ratings was Moody's Consolidated Global Bank Rating Methodology published in June 2012. 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 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.

The ratings have been disclosed to the rated entities or their designated agent(s) and issued with no amendment resulting from that disclosure.

Information sources used to prepare each of the ratings 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.

Moody's Investors Service may have provided Ancillary or Other Permissible Service(s) to the rated entities or their related third parties within the two years preceding the credit rating action. Please see the special report "Ancillary or other permissible services provided to entities rated by MIS's EU credit rating agencies" on the ratings disclosure page on our website www.moodys.com for further information.

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.

Ross?Abercromby
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

Johannes Wassenberg
MD - Banking
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 confirms Santander UK's A2/P-1/C- ratings
No Related Data.
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