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Rating Action:

Moody's downgrades Banca Popolare di Marostica Scpaarl (Italy) to Baa1/P-2/C-; outlook negative

01 Dec 2010

Milan, December 01, 2010 -- Moody's Investors Service has today downgraded the standalone bank financial strength rating (BFSR) of Banca Popolare di Marostica Scpaarl (BP Marostica) to C- from C, which now translates into a Baa2 baseline credit assessment (BCA) from A3 previously. At the same time, its long- and short-term deposit ratings were downgraded to Baa1/P-2 from A2/P-1. The C- BFSR and Baa1 long-term deposit rating both carry a negative outlook.

RATINGS RATIONALE

Moody's said that this rating action is the result of the acquisition by BP Marostica of a 60.31% shareholding in Banca di Treviso Spa (Banca Treviso) from Cassa di Risparmio di Ferrara Spa (rated Baa3/D/P-3), which is effective on December 1st 2010. The rating agency added that the downgrade of BP Marostica's BFSR reflects the substantial increase of the bank's risk profile, as well as the challenges with regards to the integration process and the envisioned de-risking of Banca Treviso, which is almost a third the size of BP Marostica. Moody's said that these challenges are somewhat mitigated by high capital levels (Tier 1 post acquisition expected at just above 12%, down from 14% at year end 2009), as well as BP Marostica's confirmed low risk group strategy. However BP Marostica has no track record of integrating an acquired bank.

The downgrade of BP Marostica's long- and short-term deposit ratings to Baa1/P-2 from A2/P-1 reflects the downgrade of the bank's standalone BFSR. The bank's deposit ratings benefit from Moody's expectation of a low probability of systemic support, resulting in a one-notch uplift from its BFSR.

According to Moody's, the negative outlook on the ratings reflects the ongoing weakness of the local economy, the uncertainties regarding the integration process, as well as challenges the bank is facing in reinforcing Banca Treviso's risk-management procedures and turning the latter into a profitable bank.

BP Marostica operates 49 branches, with total assets at 2009 year end of EUR1.5 billion, in the wealthy north-east of Italy. Credit strengths include the bank's strong franchise, with market share for loans and deposits at 25% and 60% in the cities of Marostica and Nove, respectively, its good financial fundamentals and its sound strategy of focusing on traditional banking. Financials are good, although they have been weakening during the crisis.

Banca Treviso was established in 1998 by a number of local entrepreneurs, which currently hold 39.69% of the bank. It has eleven branches in the area of Treviso and total assets of EUR398 million at year end 2009. Banca Treviso became part of the CR Ferrara group in 2003. The general profile of the bank is similar to that of BP Marostica, although financials and its risk profile are much weaker. Given its high fixed-cost structure and high credit costs, the bank has been reporting losses over the past few years. In fact, it reported a EUR9 million loss in 2009 and EUR4 million loss in 2008. The Tier 1 ratio stood at 17.0% at year-end 2009 up from 7.2% in 2008, following a EUR 10million capital increase and more favourable risk-weighting of its assets.

With the acquisition BP Marostica accelerates its growth strategy in Treviso, where the bank is currently present with six branches. The integration process will focus on the adoption of BP Marostica's risk procedures and on cost control.

A stable outlook on the ratings could develop from (i) the successful integration of Banca Treviso, especially the full implementation of BP Marostica's risk management practises; (ii) a decrease in borrower and sector concentration levels; (iii) reduced cost structure at Banca Treviso; and (iv) credit losses at an aggregate level in line with current expectations.

Downward pressure on the ratings could result from (i) a decrease in capital associated with higher than expected credit losses; (ii) difficulties arising from the integration process, especially with regards to corporate governance, cost control and risk management changes; and/or (iii) pressure on liquidity, stemming from a decrease in retail confidence.

The principal methodologies used in this rating were "Bank Financial Strength Ratings: Global Methodology" published in February 2007, and "Incorporation of Joint-Default Analysis into Moody's Bank Ratings: A Refined Methodology" published in March 2007.

Moody's previous rating action on BP Marostica was implemented on 18 June 2009, when the ratings were affirmed.

Headquartered in Marostica, Italy, Banca Popolare di Marostica Scpaarl reported total consolidated assets of EUR1.5 billion at the end of 2009.

REGULATORY DISCLOSURES

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

Moody's Investors Service considers the quality of information available on the issuer or obligation satisfactory for the purposes of maintaining a credit rating.

The rating has been disclosed to the rated entity or its designated agents and issued with no amendment resulting from that disclosure.

Moody's Investors Service may have provided Ancillary or Other Permissible Service(s) to the rated entity or its related third parties within the three years preceding the Credit Rating Action. Please see the ratings disclosure page www.moodys.com/disclosures on our website for further information.

Moody's adopts all necessary measures so that the information it uses in assigning a credit 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 ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on Moodys.com for the last rating action and the rating history.

The date on which some Credit Ratings were first released goes back to a time before Moody's Investors Service's Credit Ratings were fully digitized and accurate data may not be available. Consequently, Moody's Investors Service 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.

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Milan
Christina Sterr
Associate Analyst
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Italia S.r.l
Telephone:+39-02-9148-1100

London
Johannes Wassenberg
MD - Banking
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Moody's Italia S.r.l
Corso di Porta Romana 68
Milan 20122
Italy

Moody's downgrades Banca Popolare di Marostica Scpaarl (Italy) to Baa1/P-2/C-; outlook negative
No Related Data.
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