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Rating Action:

Moody's confirms ratings of Latin American subsidiaries of BBVA and Banco Santander

25 Oct 2012

Actions follow the confirmations of Spanish parents' standalone ratings

New York, October 25, 2012 -- Moody's Investors Service and its respective local affiliates today confirmed the long and short term ratings of five Latin American banking subsidiaries of Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, S.A. (BBVA) and Banco Santander, S.A. (Santander). These actions conclude the reviews for downgrade that were initiated on 27 June 2012.

Today's actions follow the rating confirmations of BBVA (standalone bank financial strength rating (BFSR)/baseline credit assessment (BCA) of D+/baa3, negative outlook) and Santander (standalone BFSR/BCA of C-/baa2, negative outlook). These actions are discussed in the press release "Moody's concludes rating reviews on majority of Spanish banks after sovereign rating confirmation," dated 24 October 2012 and available on moodys.com.

The long term global local currency deposit ratings of BBVA Bancomer S.A. (BBVA Bancomer) and Banco Santander S.A. (Uruguay) (Santander Uruguay) were confirmed with stable outlooks, while those of Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria Colombia S.A. (BBVA Colombia), Banco Santander Chile (Santander Chile), and Banco Santander Rio S.A. (Santander Rio), were confirmed with negative outlooks.

The local and foreign currency senior debt ratings of BBVA Bancomer were also confirmed with a stable outlook as was the bank's standalone C- BFSR and baa1 BCA. The foreign currency senior debt ratings of Banco Santander Chile were also confirmed, but with a negative outlook. Santander Chile's standalone BFSR and BCA were lowered by one notch to C+ and a2, respectively, with a negative outlook, from B- and a1.

Moody's Latin America confirmed Banco Santander Rio's local currency senior debt ratings on both global and Argentinean national scales with negative outlooks. However, the foreign currency senior debt program ratings were lowered by one notch, to (P)B3 from (P)B2, on the global scale and by two notches, to A2.ar from Aa3.ar, on the national scale, following the lowering of the foreign currency bond ceiling for Argentina to B3, from B2.

The ratings for the subordinated debt of BBVA Bancomer and Santander Chile remain on review for downgrade as Moody's reassesses systemic support for the subordinated debt ratings as discussed in the special comment "Supported Bank Debt Ratings at Risk of Downgrade due to New Approaches to Bank Resolution," published February 2011.

LIST OF AFFECTED RATINGS

BBVA Bancomer S.A.

Bank financial strength rating of C-, confirmed, stable outlook

Long-term global local currency deposit rating of A2, confirmed, stable outlook

Short term global local currency deposit rating of Prime-1, confirmed

Long-term global local currency senior unsecured debt rating of A2, confirmed, stable outlook

Long-term global local currency senior unsecured debt program rating of (P) A2, confirmed, stable outlook

Long-term global local currency subordinated debt rating of A3, continuing review for downgrade

Long-term global local currency subordinated debt program rating of (P) A3, continuing review for downgrade

BBVA Bancomer, S.A. Texas Agency

Long-term foreign currency senior unsecured debt rating of A2, confirmed, stable outlook

Long-term foreign currency subordinated debt rating of A3, continuing review for downgrade

Long-term foreign currency junior subordinated debt rating of Baa2 (hyb), continuing review for downgrade

BBVA Bancomer, S.A. Grand Cayman Branch

Long-term foreign currency junior subordinated debt rating of Baa2 (hyb), continuing review for downgrade

Casa de Bolsa BBVA Bancomer, S.A. de C.V.

Long-term global local currency issuer rating of A2, confirmed, stable outlook

Hipotecaria Nacional, S.A. de C.V.

Long-term global local currency issuer rating of A3, confirmed, stable outlook

Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria Colombia S.A.

Long-term global local currency deposit rating of Baa2 confirmed, negative outlook

Banco Santander Chile

Bank financial strength rating lowered to C+ from B-, negative outlook

Long-term global local and foreign currency deposit ratings of Aa3, confirmed, negative outlook

Short-term global local and foreign currency deposit ratings of Prime-1, confirmed

Foreign currency senior debt of Aa3 confirmed, negative outlook

Foreign currency subordinated debt of A1, continuing review for downgrade

Banco Santander S.A. (Uruguay)

Long-term global local currency deposit rating of Baa3, confirmed, stable outlook

Short-term global local currency deposit rating of Prime-3, confirmed

Long term global foreign currency deposit rating upgraded to Baa3 from Ba1, stable outlook

Short-term global foreign currency deposit rating upgraded to Prime-3, from Not Prime

Long-term Uruguayan national scale local currency deposit rating of Aa1.uy confirmed, stable outlook

Long-term Uruguayan national scale foreign currency deposit rating upgraded to Aa1.uy, from Aa2.uy

Banco Santander Río S.A.

Long-term global local currency deposit rating of Ba3 confirmed, negative outlook

Long-term Argentinean national scale local currency deposit rating of Aaa.ar confirmed, negative outlook

Long-term global local currency senior debt rating of Ba3 confirmed, negative outlook

Long-term Argentinean national scale local currency senior debt rating of Aaa.ar confirmed, negative outlook

Long term global foreign currency debt rating lowered to (P) B3 from (P) B2, stable outlook

Long-term Argentinean national scale foreign currency senior debt rating of Aa3.ar lowered to A2.ar, stable outlook

Please click on this link http://www.moodys.com/viewresearchdoc.aspx?docid=PBC_146781 for the List of Affected Credit Ratings. This list is an integral part of this Press Release and identifies each affected issuer.

RATINGS RATIONALE

Today's rating actions reflect Moody's assessment of how subsidiary stand alone credit profiles may be affected by close ties with their parent banks, including financial, business, branding, operational, and managerial linkages and/or dependence. The rating actions on the standalone ratings of BBVA Bancomer and Santander Chile encompass these considerations. The actions on the deposit and debt ratings of BBVA Colombia, Santander Rio, and Santander Uruguay take into account parental support considerations.

BBVA BANCOMER

Moody's confirmed BBVA Bancomer's C- financial strength rating and baa1 baseline credit assessment with a stable outlook. Moody's also confirmed the bank's A2 and Prime-1 long and short-term global local currency deposit ratings. The ratings for BBVA Bancomer's senior subordinated and junior subordinated debts remain on review for downgrade, as Moody's reconsiders systemic support for subordinated debt. During the review period, Moody's will assess the ability and the willingness of the Mexican regulators to impose losses on holders of the subordinated debt issued by Mexican banks outside a liquidation process.

Moody's also confirmed the local currency issuer ratings of A2 and A3 of Casa de Bolsa BBVA Bancomer, S.A. and Hipotecaria Nacional, S.A., assigning stable outlooks to both issuers.

The confirmation of BBVA Bancomer's baa1 standalone credit assessment follows the confirmation of the parent bank's standalone financial strength and credit assessment at baa3. BBVA Bancomer's standalone rating at two notches above that of the parent reflects the subsidiary's earnings power in Mexico where it derives the bulk of its earnings, its adequate capitalization that provides good loss absorption capacity, as well as its ample and low-cost core funding and access to capital markets funding at a reasonable cost. The standalone credit assessment also takes into account the bank's leadership across various business segments in Mexico, including a superior foothold in retail banking. These factors support the resilience of BBVA Bancomer's franchise within the Mexican operating environment.

Moody's also highlighted local banking regulations that prevent extraordinary upstream support by BBVA Bancomer of its parent. Mexican regulators limit intercompany and related party transactions, as well as the dividend distributions or extraordinary outflows from subsidiaries of international banks to their respective parent companies. Credit issues affecting the parent have so far had limited effect on BBVA Bancomer's market presence and brand image in the Mexican market, said Moody's.

The stable outlook on BBVA Bancomer's ratings contrasts with the negative outlook assigned to the ratings of BBVA. The stable outlook takes into account the intrinsic financial strength of the subsidiary as well as regulatory mechanisms that prevent the parent bank from having automatic or unlimited recourse to its resources. Moody's also noted that there is relatively low alignment of business or funding risk between parent and subsidiary and highlighted the subsidiary's notable funding, operational, and earnings independence, particularly with respect to its largely independent treasury and risk management operations.

Moody's said that the current two notch differential between Bancomer and BBVA's standalone ratings is warranted absent any negative funding or branding development that could affect the subsidiary .

BBVA COLOMBIA

Moody's confirmed BBVA Colombia's Baa2 long-term global local currency deposit rating with a negative outlook in line with the confirmation of the parent's standalone rating and negative outlook. The negative outlook reflects the sensitivity of the deposit rating to a downgrade of the parent rating by one notch, as the subsidiary's rating derives one notch of uplift due to parental support from its standalone credit assessment of ba1, mapped from its standalone financial strength rating of D+. The rating also derives one notch of uplift due to systemic support, in case of stress, which reflects Moody's assessment of very high probability of systemic support given the bank's considerable market shares in deposits and loans, and as the largest mortgage lender in Colombia.

SANTANDER CHILE

Moody's confirmed Santander Chile's Aa3 local and foreign currency deposit and senior debt ratings, with negative outlook. Moody's also lowered the bank's standalone financial strength rating to C+ from B-, and its baseline credit assessment, to a2 from a1, with a negative outlook, in line with the negative outlook on the parent's standalone ratings. The deposit and debt ratings now benefit from two notches of uplift due to systemic support from one notch previously, given the size and importance of the bank's deposit and loan franchise as one of Chile's two largest banks. Moody's also confirmed the bank's Prime-1 short term local and foreign currency deposit ratings.

Moody's explained that Santander Chile's standalone ratings remain at three notches above those of the parent. This ratings gap recognizes the subsidiary's strong intrinsic financial fundamentals and market positioning in Chile's relatively stable operating environment, its independent management and Board of Directors, as well as a satisfactory level of protection from both business and regulatory standpoints from credit risks at the parent level. Santander Chile's 100% domestic Chilean business focus, strong local core funding and extensive relationships in both the retail and corporate customer segments in Chile, support the bank's ratings, which remain among the highest assigned by Moody's to banks globally.

Santander Chile's limited direct business or funding linkage with the Spanish parent also supports the current three notch differential, said Moody's, as does the independent technology infrastructure in accordance with Santander's own internal governance as well as under Chilean law. Santander Chile's operations also benefit from local regulatory mechanisms that include higher minimum capital requirements for systemically important banks as well as strict limitations on interbank and related party lending and deposit placements with offshore banks. In practice, the bank has consistently maintained Tier 1 and Total Capital ratios above those of its peers and its higher internal minimum of 12%.

Moody's said that although the bank has maintained strong funding access in Chile, the bank does benefit from, and is therefore exposed to, the Santander brand name when accessing the international debt markets, a key aspect of its overall funding and liquidity strategy. In light of this exposure, Moody's has limited the gap between the subsidiary and parent ratings to three notches, which results in a negative outlook on the standalone rating, in line with that of the parent.

The continuing review for downgrade on Santander Chile's A1 subordinated debt rating reflects Moody's revised approach of notching the ratings of subordinated debt from the bank's standalone credit assessment, instead of from the supported deposit rating, which now includes one notch of uplift due to systemic support. During the review period, Moody's will assess the ability and the willingness of the Chilean regulators to impose losses on holders of the subordinated debt issued by Chilean banks outside a liquidation process.

SANTANDER URUGUAY

Moody´s confirmed Santander Uruguay's global and national scale local currency deposit ratings of Baa3 and Aa1.uy, respectively, with stable outlook, reflecting Moody's assessment of a moderate probability of parental support, which results in one notch of uplift from the ba1 baseline credit assessment (mapped from the D+ BFSR). The stable outlook also reflects the stable outlook on Santander Uruguay's own standalone ratings and reflects the bank's well positioned franchise as the second largest bank in Uruguay and the largest of the privately-owned banks.

Moody's has also upgraded the bank's long term foreign currency deposit ratings on both global and national scales, respectively, to Baa3 from Ba1, and to Aa1.uy from Aa2.uy, following the upgrade of Uruguay's foreign currency deposit ceiling to Baa3 from Ba2 on 31 July 2012. The short-term global foreign currency deposit rating was also therefore upgraded to Prime-3, from Not Prime.

SANTANDER RIO

Moody's Investors Service confirmed Santander Rio´s global local currency deposit rating of Ba3 with a negative outlook, in line with the confirmation of the parent's standalone rating and negative outlook. Because the Ba3 deposit rating benefits from one notch of uplift due to parental support, the rating carries a negative outlook. However, the negative outlook is also derived from the negative outlook on the bank's standalone E+ BFSR and b3 baseline credit assessment, which in turn reflects the negative outlook on the Argentine government's ratings due to sovereign credit risk linkages. Santander Rio's Aaa.ar national scale rating was also confirmed with a negative outlook as it is mapped directly from the global scale rating.

Moody´s Latin America also downgraded Santander Rio's foreign currency debt program rating to (P)B3 from (P)B2, following the recent lowering of Argentina's foreign-currency bond ceiling to B3 from B2. Santander Rio's foreign currency debt ratings are constrained by the foreign currency bond ceiling for Argentina. As a result, Moody's downgraded the foreign currency national scale debt program rating to A2.ar, from Aa3.ar with stable outlook.

LAST RATING ACTIONS

The last rating action on BBVA Bancomer was on June 28, 2012, when Moody's placed its standalone, local currency deposit and debt ratings on review for possible downgrade.

The last rating action on BBVA Colombia was on June 27, 2012, when Moody's placed the local currency deposit rating on review for downgrade.

The last rating action on Santander Chile was on June 27, 2012, when Moody's placed all the ratings of the bank on review for downgrade.

The principal methodology used in rating BBVA Bancomer, BBVA Colombia, and Santander Chile was Moody's Consolidated Global Bank Rating Methodology published in June 2012. Please see the Credit Policy page on www.moodys.comfor a copy of this methodology.

REGULATORY DISCLOSURES

The Global Scale Credit Ratings on this press release that are issued by one of Moody's affiliates outside the EU are 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

BBVA Bancomer, S.A.

BBVA Colombia S.A.

Banco Santander-Chile

Banco Santander Rio 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 entity, obligation or credit satisfactory for the purposes of issuing a rating.

Moody's adopts all necessary measures so that the information it uses in assigning a rating 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.

Jeanne?Del Casino
VP - Senior Credit Officer
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service, Inc.
250 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10007
U.S.A.
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

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

Releasing Office:
Moody's Investors Service, Inc.
250 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10007
U.S.A.
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

Moody's confirms ratings of Latin American subsidiaries of BBVA and Banco Santander
No Related Data.
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