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Rating Action:

Moody's downgrades Kazakh financial institutions; four on review for further downgrade

24 Feb 2009

London, 24 February 2009 -- Moody's Investors Service downgraded the deposit and debt ratings of 15 financial institutions in Kazakhstan. The deposit and debt ratings of five financial institutions previously on review for downgrade were confirmed. The deposit and debt ratings of four financial institutions remain on review for possible further downgrade, while the ratings of one bank are on review with direction uncertain. The outlook on all Kazakh financial institutions' deposit and debt ratings, except for those on review, is negative.

At the same time, the rating agency downgraded the bank financial strength ratings (BFSRs) of six banks and confirmed the BFSRs of three banks. The BFSRs of the remaining six Kazakh financial institutions previously not on review were affirmed. For six banks, the BFSR outlook is stable, and for nine, it is negative.

See rating list below for details of the affected institutions and the rating actions carried out.

Moody's said that the rating downgrades -- which conclude its review initiated on 12 December 2008 -- reflect the increasingly negative impact of the global economic crisis on the Kazakh economy and its financial institutions.

In its review, Moody's had focused on: (i) analysing the impact of the deteriorating macroeconomic conditions on Kazakh financial institutions' fundamentals; and (ii) re-examining the government support incorporated into the deposit and debt ratings of banks and government-related issuers (GRIs -- financial institutions with significant government ownership or a special charter or public policy mandate from the government).

The mounting asset quality and liquidity problems in Kazakh banks continue to exert downward pressure on their financial stability. Moody's estimates that the level of non-performing loans in Kazakh banks accounts for about a quarter of all loans outstanding. Despite the recent recapitalisation of the largest banks by the government, selected institutions may face a significant weakening of their capital positions from rising loan losses in the short term, the rating agency concluded.

Furthermore, the inability to refinance their large foreign wholesale debt, as well as a likely decline in customer funding, creates notable liquidity problems for most banks. As of year-end 2008, the total foreign wholesale debt of Kazakh banks was about USD40 billion, of which USD12 billion is payable in 2009.

"The recent devaluation of the Kazakh tenge also erodes the banks' financial standing by increasing their foreign currency debt burdens and by raising the default probability of their foreign currency loans," says Armen Dallakyan, a London-based Moody's analyst. "All of these problems expose Kazakh financial institutions to substantial risks that challenge the viability of their franchises and financial fundamentals, and therefore the banks' BFSRs, which reflect these risks, remain under pressure," Mr Dallakyan adds.

The rating agency has also re-examined the systemic support probabilities incorporated into Kazakh banks' and GRIs' deposit and debt ratings. The revised assumptions, which reflect Moody's assessment of the government's willingness to actually furnish support, are based on both the individual institution's significance to the Kazakh economy and the potential cost of such support. Moody's acknowledged the Kazakh authorities' commitment to supporting the country's banking system to ensure the security of customer deposits and credit flow to the economy. At the same time, the rating agency cautioned that the uncertainty about the length and severity of the current crisis and its impact on the Kazakh economy may make the government more cautious and selective in using its resources, especially its foreign currency reserves, to support various projects and entities.

Given these considerations, Moody's has lowered its assessment of the systemic support probability of the six largest Kazakh banks. On the other hand, the systemic support assumptions for the rated GRIs remains unchanged, or have been reduced only modestly, reflecting the relative importance of these entities' policy roles, as well as the likely size and expense of any support needed.

The deposit and debt ratings of one bank -- BTA Bank -- remain on review, with direction uncertain. The conclusion of Moody's review will depend on the outcome of the negotiations to resell the bank to Russia's Sberbank following the nationalisation of BTA Bank.

The institutions affected by Moody's rating actions are as follows.

BTA Bank

- BFSR: downgraded to E+ (mapping to a Baseline Credit Assessment of B3) from D- (mapping to a Baseline Credit Assessment of Ba3), negative outlook;

- Local and foreign currency deposit ratings: downgraded to B1 from Ba1;

- Foreign currency senior unsecured debt rating: downgraded to B1 from Ba1;

- Subordinated foreign currency debt rating: downgraded to B2 from Ba2;

- Junior subordinated foreign currency debt rating: downgraded to Caa1 from Ba3;

- The local currency deposit rating benefits from a moderate systemic support probability that results in a two-notch uplift from the Baseline Credit Assessment of B3;

- The bank's deposit and debt ratings are placed on review with direction uncertain.

ATF Bank

- BFSR: downgraded to E+ (mapping to a Baseline Credit Assessment of B2) from D- (mapping to a Baseline Credit Assessment of Ba3);

- Local currency deposit rating: downgraded to Ba1 from Baa2;

- Foreign currency senior unsecured debt rating: downgraded to Ba1 from Baa2;

- Junior subordinated foreign currency debt rating: downgraded to Ba3 from Ba1;

- The local currency deposit rating benefits from a high probability of support from its ultimate parent, UniCredit, and a low systemic support probability that result in a four-notch uplift from the Baseline Credit Assessment of B2;

- The outlook on all of the bank's ratings is negative.

Temirbank

- BFSR: unchanged at E (mapping to a Baseline Credit Assessment of Caa1), stable outlook;

- Local and foreign currency deposit ratings: downgraded to B3 from B2;

- Foreign currency senior unsecured debt rating: downgraded to B3 from B2;

- Subordinated foreign currency debt rating: downgraded to Caa1 from B3;

- The local currency deposit rating benefits from a high probability of support from its parent, BTA Bank, that results in a one-notch uplift from the Baseline Credit Assessment of Caa1;

- The bank's deposit and debt ratings remain on review for possible further downgrade.

Kazkommertsbank

- BFSR: downgraded to E+ (mapping to a Baseline Credit Assessment of B2) from D- (mapping to a Baseline Credit Assessment of Ba3);

- Local and foreign currency deposit ratings: downgraded to Ba3 from Ba1;

- Foreign currency senior unsecured debt rating: downgraded to Ba3 from Ba1;

- Subordinated debt rating: downgraded to B1 from Ba2;

- Junior subordinated debt rating: downgraded to B3 from Ba3;

- The local currency deposit rating benefits from a moderate systemic support probability that results in a two-notch uplift from the Baseline Credit Assessment of B2;

- The outlook on all of the bank's ratings is negative.

Bank CenterCredit

- BFSR: downgraded to E+ (mapping to a Baseline Credit Assessment of B1) from D- (mapping to a Baseline Credit Assessment of Ba3);

- Local and foreign currency deposit ratings: downgraded to Ba3 from Ba1;

- Foreign currency senior unsecured debt rating: downgraded to Ba3 from Ba1;

- Junior subordinated debt rating: downgraded to B2 from Ba3;

- The local currency deposit rating benefits from a moderate systemic support probability that results in a one-notch uplift from the Baseline Credit Assessment of B1;

- The outlook on all of the bank's ratings is negative.

Halyk Savings Bank of Kazakhstan

- BFSR: downgraded to D- (mapping to a Baseline Credit Assessment of Ba3) from D (mapping to a Baseline Credit Assessment of Ba2);

- Local currency deposit rating: downgraded to Ba2 from Baa3;

- Foreign currency deposit rating: downgraded to Ba2 from Ba1;

- Foreign currency senior unsecured debt rating: downgraded to Ba2 from Baa3;

- The local currency deposit rating benefits from a moderate systemic support probability that results in a one-notch uplift from the Baseline Credit Assessment of Ba3;

- The outlook on all of the bank's ratings is negative.

Nurbank

- BFSR: unchanged at E+ (mapping to a Baseline Credit Assessment of B2), stable outlook;

- Local and foreign currency deposit ratings: downgraded to B2 from B1;

- The outlook on all of the bank's deposit ratings is negative.

Tsesna Bank

- BFSR: unchanged at E+ (mapping to a Baseline Credit Assessment of B3 from B1);

- Local and foreign currency deposit ratings: downgraded to B3 from B1;

- The outlook on all of the bank's ratings is negative.

Kazakhstan Mortgage Company

- Baseline Credit Assessment: lowered to 14 from the range of 11-13;

- Local currency issuer rating: downgraded to Baa3 from Baa1;

- The local currency issuer rating benefits from a very high systemic support probability that results in a four-notch uplift from the Baseline Credit Assessment of 14, two notches lower than the local currency government bond rating for Kazakhstan;

- The outlook on the rating is negative.

House Construction Savings Bank of Kazakhstan

- BFSR: unchanged at E+ (mapping to a Baseline Credit Assessment of B2), stable outlook;

- Local currency deposit rating: downgraded to Baa3 from Baa2;

- Local currency issuer rating benefits from a very high systemic support probability that results in a five-notch uplift from the Baseline Credit Assessment of B2;

- The outlook on the local currency deposit rating is negative.

Kazagrofinance

- Baseline Credit Assessment: lowered to 15 from 14;

- Local and foreign currency issuer ratings: downgraded to Baa3 from Baa2;

- The local currency issuer rating benefits from a very high systemic support probability that results in a five-notch uplift from the Baseline Credit Assessment of 15, two notches lower than the local currency government bond rating for Kazakhstan;

- The outlook on the ratings is negative.

Agrarian Credit Corporation

- Baseline Credit Assessment: unchanged at 15;

- Local and foreign currency issuer ratings: downgraded to Baa3 from Baa2;

- The local currency issuer rating benefits from a very high systemic support probability that results in a five-notch uplift from the Baseline Credit Assessment of 15, two notches lower than the local currency government bond rating for Kazakhstan;

- The outlook on the ratings is negative.

Astana Finance

- Baseline Credit Assessment: lowered to 17 from 14;

- Local and foreign currency debt ratings: downgraded to B3 from Ba1;

- The local currency issuer rating benefits from a high systemic support probability that results in a one-notch uplift from the Baseline Credit Assessment of 17, eight notches lower than the local currency government bond rating for Kazakhstan;

- The outlook on all of the company's ratings is negative.

Delta Bank

- BFSR: confirmed at E+ (mapping to a Baseline Credit Assessment of B3);

- Local and foreign currency deposit ratings: confirmed at B3;

- The outlook on all of the bank's ratings is negative.

Eximbank

- BFSR: confirmed at E+ (mapping to a Baseline Credit Assessment of B3);

- Local and foreign currency deposit ratings: confirmed at B3;

- The outlook on all of the bank's ratings is negative.

Eurasian Bank

- BFSR: unchanged at E+ (mapping to a Baseline Credit Assessment of B1), stable outlook;

- Local and foreign currency deposit ratings: confirmed at B1;

- The outlook on all of the bank's deposit ratings is negative.

Kaspi Bank

- BFSR: downgraded to E+ (mapping to a Baseline Credit Assessment of B1) from D- (mapping to a Baseline Credit Assessment of Ba3);

- Local and foreign currency deposit ratings: downgraded to B1 from Ba3;

- The outlook on all of the bank's ratings is negative.

SB Sberbank

- BFSR: unchanged at E+ (mapping to a Baseline Credit Assessment of B2), stable outlook;

- Local and foreign currency deposit ratings: confirmed at Ba2;

- The local currency deposit rating benefits from a high probability of support from its Russian parent, Sberbank, that results in a three-notch uplift from the Baseline Credit Assessment of B2;

- The outlook on all of the bank's deposit ratings is negative.

Alfa Bank Kazakhstan

- BFSR: unchanged at E+ (mapping to a Baseline Credit Assessment of B1), stable outlook;

- Local and foreign currency deposit ratings: confirmed at Ba3;

- The local currency deposit rating benefits from a high probability of support from its Russian parent, Alfa Bank, that results in a one-notch uplift from the Baseline Credit Assessment of B1;

- The outlook on all of the bank's deposit ratings is negative.

Development Bank of Kazakhstan

- Baseline Credit Assessment: unchanged in the range of 11-13;

- Local and foreign currency issuer ratings: downgraded to Baa2 from Baa1;

- The local currency issuer rating benefits from a very high systemic support probability that results in a four-notch uplift from the Baseline Credit Assessment in the range of 11-13, one notch lower than the local currency government bond rating for Kazakhstan;

- The outlook on all of the bank's ratings is negative.

DBK Leasing

- Baseline Credit Assessment: lowered to 16 from 15;

- Local currency issuer rating is affirmed at Ba3;

- The local currency issuer rating benefits from a high systemic support probability that results in a three-notch uplift from the Baseline Credit Assessment of 16, five notches lower than the local currency government bond rating for Kazakhstan;

- The outlook on the rating is negative.

Moody's previous rating action on BTA Bank was on 12 December 2008 when the bank's D- BFSR, local currency and foreign currency deposit ratings of Ba1, senior unsecured debt rating of Ba1 were placed on review for possible downgrade.

Moody's previous rating action on ATF Bank was on 12 December 2008 when the bank's D- BFSR, local currency deposit rating of Baa2, local currency deposit rating of Baa2, senior unsecured debt rating of Baa2 were placed on review for possible downgrade.

Moody's previous rating action on Temirbank was on 9 February 2009 when the bank's E+ BFSR was downgraded to E, and long-term bank deposit and unsecured debt ratings were downgraded to B2 from Ba3.

Moody's previous rating action on Kazkommertsbank was on 12 December 2008 when the bank's D- BFSR, local currency and foreign currency deposit ratings of Ba1, and senior unsecured debt rating of Ba1 were placed on review for possible downgrade.

Moody's previous rating action on Bank CenterCredit was on 12 December 2008 when the bank's D- BFSR, local currency and foreign currency deposit ratings of Ba1, and senior unsecured debt rating of Ba1 were placed on review for possible downgrade.

Moody's previous rating action on Halyk Savings Bank of Kazakhstan was on 12 December 2008 when the bank's D BFSR, local currency deposit rating of Baa3, and senior unsecured debt rating of Baa3 were placed on review for possible downgrade.

Moody's previous rating action on Nurbank was implemented on 12 December 2008 when the bank's E+ BFSR was affirmed, local currency and foreign currency deposit ratings of B1 were placed on review for possible downgrade.

Moody's previous rating action on Tsesna Bank was on 12 December 2008 when the E+ BFSR was affirmed, and local currency and foreign currency deposit ratings of B1, senior unsecured debt rating of B1 were placed on review for possible downgrade.

Moody's previous rating action on Kazakhstan Mortgage Company was on 12 December 2008 when the Baa1 issuer rating was placed on review for possible downgrade.

Moody's previous rating action on House Construction Saving Bank of Kazakhstan was on 12 December 2008 when the bank's E+ BFSR was affirmed, and the local currency deposit rating of Baa2 was placed on review for possible downgrade.

Moody's previous rating action on KazAgroFinance was on 12 December 2008 when the Baa2 issuer rating was placed on review for possible downgrade.

Moody's previous rating action on Agrarian Credit Corporation was on 12 December 2008 when the Baa2 issuer rating was placed on review for possible downgrade.

Moody's previous rating action on Astana Finance was on 12 December 2008 when the Ba1 issuer rating was placed on review for possible downgrade.

Moody's previous rating action on Delta Bank JSC was on 12 December 2008 when the bank's E+ BFSR, and local currency and foreign currency deposit ratings of B3 were placed on review for possible downgrade.

Moody's previous rating action on Eximbank Kazakhstan was on 12 December 2008 when the bank's E+ BFSR, and local currency and foreign currency deposit ratings of B3 were placed on review for possible downgrade.

Moody's previous rating action on Eurasian Bank was on 12 December 2008 when the bank's E+ BFSR was affirmed, and local currency and foreign currency deposit ratings of B1 were placed on review for possible downgrade.

Moody's previous rating action on Kaspi Bank was on 12 December 2008 when the bank's D- BFSR, local currency and foreign currency deposit ratings of Ba3, and senior unsecured debt rating of Ba3 were placed on review for possible downgrade.

Moody's previous rating action on SB Sberbank JSC was on 12 December 2008 when the bank's E+ BFSR was affirmed, and local currency and foreign currency deposit ratings of Ba2 were placed on review for possible downgrade.

Moody's previous rating action on Alfa-Bank Kazakhstan was on 12 December 2008 when the bank's E+ BFSR was affirmed, and local currency and foreign currency deposit ratings of Ba3 were placed on review for possible downgrade.

Moody's previous rating action on Development Bank of Kazakhstan was implemented on 12 December 2008 when the issuer rating was downgraded to Baa1 from A2, and placed on review for possible further downgrade.

Moody's previous rating action on DBK Leasing was 12 December 2008 when the Ba3/Not Prime ratings were affirmed.

The principal methodologies used in rating the 15 banks -- Alfa-Bank Kazakhstan, ATF Bank, Bank CenterCredit, BTA Bank, Caspian Bank, Delta Bank, Eurasian Bank, Eximbank Kazakhstan, Halyk Savings Bank of Kazakhstan, House Construction Savings Bank of Kazakhstan, Kazkommertsbank, Nurbank, SB Sberbank, Temirbank and Tsesna Bank -- 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 subdirectory.

The principal methodologies used in rating the six GRIs -- Agrarian Credit Corporation, Astana Finance, Development Bank of Kazakhstan, DBK-Leasing, Kazakhstan Mortgage Company and KazAgroFinance -- are "The Application of Joint-Default Analysis to Government Related Issuers".

Other methodologies and factors that may have been considered in the process of rating these entities can also be found in the Credit Policy & Methodologies directory.

London
Reynold R. Leegerstee
Managing Director
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

London
Armen L. Dallakyan
Asst Vice President - Analyst
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Moody's downgrades Kazakh financial institutions; four on review for further downgrade
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