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Rating Action:

Moody's downgrades Greek banks' deposit ratings to Caa3; negative outlooks

30 Apr 2015

Rating action follows downgrade of Greece's sovereign rating to Caa2 (negative) and its deposit ceiling to Caa3

Limassol, April 30, 2015 -- Moody's Investors Service has today downgraded to Caa3 from Caa2 the long-term deposit and senior debt ratings of three Greek banks: Piraeus Bank S.A., National Bank of Greece S.A., Alpha Bank AE. At the same time, the rating agency confirmed the Caa3 long-term deposit and senior debt ratings of Eurobank Ergasias S.A. and Attica Bank S.A.. All banks' long-term deposit and senior debt ratings carry negative outlooks.

RATINGS RATIONALE

Today's rating action is primarily driven by the continued deterioration in the banks' funding and liquidity, including sustained deposit outflows and the increased risk of capital controls. Additionally, the rating action also takes into account (1) the weakening operating environment, which will aggravate asset quality pressures and constrain banks' earnings generating capacity, and (2) the high proportion of deferred tax assets (DTAs) and Greek sovereign exposures that undermine the banks' capital and solvency. Today's bank rating action follows the deterioration of the Greek government's credit profile, as reflected by the downgrade of Greece's sovereign rating to Caa2 (negative) from Caa1 and the lowering of its deposit ceiling to Caa3 from Caa1: (https://www.moodys.com/research/Moodys-downgrades-Greeces-government-bond-rating-to-Caa2-from-Caa1--PR_323922).

This rating action concludes the review for downgrade initiated on Greek bank ratings in February 2015.

The full list of affected ratings is provided at the end of this press release.

RATINGS RATIONALE

--- DETERIORATION IN THE BANKS' FUNDING AND LIQUIDITY

The primary driver of today's action to position all the Greek banks' deposit and debt ratings at Caa3, with negative outlook, is the system-wide weakening of funding and liquidity, owing to both significant private-sector deposit outflows, which Moody's estimates at around EUR32 billion since early December 2014, and international banks' reduced appetite to engage in repo transactions with Greek banks. As a result, the rating agency estimates that Greek banks' dependence on Eurosystem funding, both in the form of European Central Bank (ECB) funding and higher-cost emergency liquidity assistance (ELA) from the Bank of Greece, has increased to more than EUR110 billion, representing approximately 31% of the system's total assets.

Moody's also acknowledges the risk of a possible revision by the ECB of the haircuts imposed on collateral posted by Greek banks for ELA purposes, elevating the downside funding risks. Although the rating agency estimates the banks' current ELA collateral buffer at around EUR40 billion, representing around 30% of remaining deposits, the availability of ELA remains contingent on ECB's governing council approval, rendering the banks' liquidity susceptible to government-related developments.

In the context of the above developments, Moody's considers that the risk of capital controls to stem any additional deposit outflows has increased. This risk is also captured by the revision of Greece's deposit ceiling to Caa3 from Caa1. Any restriction on depositor withdraws would be treated as a deposit default. Moody's believes that this heightened risk is captured by the uniform positioning of all Greek banks' deposit ratings at Caa3 (negative).

--- WEAKENING OPERATING CONDITIONS WILL AFFECT ASSET QUALITY AND EARNINGS GENERATION

The rating action also takes into account the expected deterioration of the banks' asset quality and earnings, owing to weakening economic conditions. Moody's expects GDP growth to slow to 0.5% in 2015, compared to 2.9% that was originally envisaged for 2015 in the country's support programme and 0.7% achieved in 2014. The rating agency also notes that the new government has been promoting borrower-friendly measures to alleviate the debt burden on low-income and vulnerable debtors, including proposing legislation to protect primary residences from foreclosures. As a result of these developments, Moody's expects non-performing loans (NPLs) to increase in 2015, from the already very high level of 34.2% of gross loans reported for the system as of December 2014, triggering additional loan loss provisions.

These higher loan loss provisions, in conjunction with the dampening effect of weaker economic expansion on credit growth and revenues, will likely reverse the improving quarterly trend in the banks' pre-provision income (PPI) recorded in 2014.

--- CAPITAL IS UNDERMINED BY HIGH DTAs AND SOVEREIGN EXPOSURE

The rating action also incorporates the relatively weak quality of Greek banks' capital, which is undermined by the high level of deferred tax assets (DTAs) and Greek sovereign exposures.

DTAs, which mainly relate to banks' loan losses and the government securities debt exchange losses in 2012, comprise on average a relatively high 55% of the banking system's common equity Tier 1 (CET1) capital. In addition, the banking system's overall sovereign exposure mainly through treasury bills (T-bills) and other sovereign-related securities and loans accounted for around 80% of CET1 capital as of December 2014.

Both the sovereign exposures and the DTAs dilute the banks' capital quality and their loss-absorption capacity, and could also raise questions with regards to their solvency as viewed by the ECB for ELA purposes. These considerations outweigh the Greek banks' recapitalisation in 2013-14 and estimated average CET1 capital ratio of 13.7% for the system as of December 2014.

WHAT COULD MOVE THE RATINGS UP/DOWN

The negative outlooks on Greek banks' ratings signal their limited upside potential.

Should the imposition of capital controls become inevitable, or have occurred, or access to central bank funding is restricted, Moody's would further downgrade the banks' baseline credit assessment (BCA) to ca. In that case, the debt and deposit ratings would be positioned at levels that capture the likelihood of default and recovery rates for the relevant creditor classes.

In addition, the ratings could be downgraded if the rating agency considers that potential asset-quality deterioration will consume significant capital, further compromising the banks' solvency.

LIST OF AFFECTED RATINGS

Issuer: Alpha Bank AE

....Baseline Credit Assessment, Downgraded to caa3 from caa2

....Adjusted Baseline Credit Assessment, Downgraded to caa3 from caa2

....Long-term Bank Deposit Ratings, Downgraded to Caa3 Negative from Caa2 Rating Under Review for Downgrade

....Short-term Bank Deposit Ratings, Affirmed NP

....Senior Unsecured Medium-Term Note Program, Downgraded to (P)Caa3 from (P)Caa2

....Backed Senior Unsecured Medium-Term Note Program, Downgraded to (P)Caa3 from (P)Caa2

....Subordinated Medium-Term Note Program, Downgraded to (P)Ca from (P)Caa3

....Short-term Medium-Term Note Program, Affirmed (P)NP

....Outlook, Negative

Issuer: Alpha Credit Group plc

....Backed Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture, Downgraded to Caa3 Negative from Caa2 Rating Under Review for Downgrade

....Backed Subordinated Regular Bond/Debenture, Downgraded to Ca from Caa3 Rating Under Review for Downgrade

....Backed Senior Unsecured Medium-Term Note Program, Downgraded to (P)Caa3 from (P)Caa2

....Backed Subordinated Medium-Term Note Program, Downgraded to (P)Ca from (P)Caa3

....Backed Short-term Medium-Term Note Program, Affirmed (P)NP

....Backed Short-term Commercial Paper, Affirmed NP

....Outlook, Negative

Issuer: Alpha Group Jersey Limited

....Backed Senior Unsecured Medium-Term Note Program, Downgraded to (P)Caa3 from (P)Caa2

....Backed Subordinated Medium-Term Note Program, Downgraded to (P)Ca from (P)Caa3

....Backed Pref. Stock Non-cumulative, Confirmed at Ca(hyb)

....Outlook, Negative

Issuer: Emporiki Group Finance Plc

....Backed Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture, Downgraded to Caa3 Negative from Caa2 Rating Under Review for Downgrade

....Outlook, Negative

++++++++++

Issuer: Attica Bank S.A.

....Baseline Credit Assessment,Confirmed at caa3

....Adjusted Baseline Credit Assessment, Confirmed at caa3

....Long-term Bank Deposit Ratings, Confirmed at Caa3 Negative

....Short-term Bank Deposit Ratings, Affirmed NP

....Outlook, Negative

++++++++++

Issuer: Eurobank Ergasias S.A.

....Baseline Credit Assessment, Confirmed at caa3

....Adjusted Baseline Credit Assessment, Confirmed at caa3

....Long-term Bank Deposit Ratings, Confirmed at Caa3 Negative

....Short-term Bank Deposit Ratings, Affirmed NP

....Backed Senior Unsecured Medium-Term Note Program, Confirmed at (P)Caa3

....Senior Unsecured Medium-Term Note Program, Confirmed at (P)Caa3

....Subordinated Medium-Term Note Program, Confirmed at (P)Ca

....Backed Short-term Medium-Term Note Program, Affirmed (P)NP

....Short-term Medium-Term Note Program, Affirmed (P)NP

....Outlook, Negative

Issuer: ERB Hellas (Cayman Islands) Limited

....Backed Senior Unsecured Medium-Term Note Program, Confirmed at (P)Caa3

....Backed Subordinated Medium-Term Note Program, Confirmed at (P)Ca

....Backed Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture, Confirmed at Caa3 Negative

....Backed Short-term Medium-Term Note Program, Affirmed (P)NP

....Outlook, Negative

Issuer: ERB Hellas Funding Limited

....Backed Pref. Stock Non-cumulative, Confirmed at Ca(hyb)

....Outlook, Negative

Issuer: ERB Hellas PLC

....Backed Senior Unsecured Medium-Term Note Program, Confirmed at (P)Caa3

....Backed Subordinated Medium-Term Note Program, Confirmed at (P)Ca

....Backed Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture, Confirmed at Caa3 Negative

....Backed Subordinated Regular Bond/Debenture, Confirmed at Ca

....Backed Short-term Medium-Term Note Program, Affirmed (P)NP

....Backed Short-term Commercial Paper, Affirmed NP

....Outlook, Negative

++++++++++

Issuer: National Bank of Greece S.A.

....Baseline Credit Assessment, Downgraded to caa3 from caa2

....Adjusted Baseline Credit Assessment, Downgraded to caa3 from caa2

....Long-term Bank Deposit Ratings, Downgraded to Caa3 Negative from Caa2 Rating Under Review for Downgrade

....Short-term Bank Deposit Ratings, Affirmed NP

....Backed Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture (Government Guaranteed), Downgraded to Caa2 Negative from Caa1 Rating Under Review for Downgrade

....Backed Senior Unsecured Medium-Term Note Program, Downgraded to (P)Caa3 from (P)Caa2

....Pref. Stock Non-cumulative, Confirmed at Ca(hyb)

....Backed Short-term Medium-Term Note Program, Affirmed (P)NP

....Backed Short-term Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture, Affirmed NP

....Outlook, Negative

Issuer: NBG Finance plc

....Backed Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture, Downgraded to Caa3 Negative from Caa2 Rating Under Review for Downgrade

....Backed Subordinated Regular Bond/Debenture, Downgraded to Ca from Caa3 Rating Under Review for Downgrade

....Backed Senior Unsecured Medium-Term Note Program, Downgraded to (P)Caa3 from (P)Caa2

....Backed Subordinated Medium-Term Note Program, Downgraded to (P)Ca from (P)Caa3

....Outlook, Negative

Issuer: National Bank of Greece Funding Limited

....Backed Pref. Stock Non-cumulative, Confirmed at Ca(hyb)

....Outlook, Negative

++++++++++

Issuer: Piraeus Bank S.A.

....Baseline Credit Assessment, Downgraded to caa3 from caa2

....Adjusted Baseline Credit Assessment, Downgraded to caa3 from caa2

....Long-term Bank Deposit Ratings, Downgraded to Caa3 Negative from Caa2 Rating Under Review for Downgrade

....Short-term Bank Deposit Ratings, Affirmed NP

....Senior Unsecured Medium-Term Note Program, Downgraded to (P)Caa3 from (P)Caa2

....Subordinated Medium-Term Note Program, Downgraded to (P)Ca from (P)Caa3

....Outlook, Negative

Issuer: Piraeus Group Capital Limited

....Backed Pref. Stock Non-cumulative, Confirmed at Ca(hyb)

....Outlook, Negative

Issuer: Piraeus Group Finance Plc

....Backed Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture, Downgraded to Caa3 Negative from Caa2 Rating Under Review for Downgrade

....Backed Subordinated Regular Bond/Debenture, Downgraded to Ca from Caa3 Rating Under Review for Downgrade

....Backed Senior Unsecured Medium-Term Note Program, Downgraded to (P)Caa3 from (P)Caa2

....Backed Subordinated Medium-Term Note Program, Downgraded to (P)Ca from (P)Caa3

....Backed Short-term Medium-Term Note Program , Affirmed (P)NP

....Backed Short-term Commercial Paper, Affirmed NP

....Outlook, Negative

Moody's has also withdrawn the outlooks on all subordinated debt ratings of the above Greek banks. It has withdrawn these outlooks for its own business reasons. Please refer to Moody's Investors Service's Policy for Withdrawal of Credit Ratings, available on its website, www.moodys.com. Outlooks are now only assigned to long-term senior debt and deposit ratings, indicating the direction of any rating pressures.

The principal methodology used in these ratings was Banks published in March 2015. Please see the Credit Policy page on www.moodys.com for a copy of this methodology.

All banks affected by today's rating actions are headquartered in Athens, Greece:

- National Bank of Greece SA reported total assets of EUR115.5 billion as of December 2014

- Piraeus Bank SA reported total assets of EUR89.1 billion as of December 2014

- EFG Eurobank Ergasias SA reported total assets of EUR75.5 billion as of December 2014

- Alpha Bank SA reported total assets of EUR72.9 billion as of December 2014

- Attica Bank SA reported total assets of EUR4 billion as of December 2014

REGULATORY DISCLOSURES

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

For any affected securities or rated entities receiving direct credit support from the primary entity(ies) of this rating action, and whose ratings may change as a result of this rating action, the associated regulatory disclosures will be those of the guarantor entity. Exceptions to this approach exist for the following disclosures, if applicable to jurisdiction: Ancillary Services, Disclosure to rated entity, Disclosure from rated entity.

Regulatory disclosures contained in this press release apply to the credit rating and, if applicable, the related rating outlook or rating review.

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.

Please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on www.moodys.com for additional regulatory disclosures for each credit rating.

Nondas Nicolaides
VP - Senior Credit Officer
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Cyprus Ltd.
Kanika Business Centre
319 28th October Avenue
PO Box 53205
Limassol CY 3301
Cyprus
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Sean Marion
Managing Director
Financial Institutions Group
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Releasing Office:
Moody's Investors Service Cyprus Ltd.
Kanika Business Centre
319 28th October Avenue
PO Box 53205
Limassol CY 3301
Cyprus
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Moody's downgrades Greek banks' deposit ratings to Caa3; negative outlooks
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