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Rating Action:

Moody's reviews 5 Greek Banks' Caa3 deposit and senior unsecured debt ratings

02 Jul 2015

Baseline credit assessments downgraded to ca from caa3

Limassol, July 02, 2015 -- Moody's Investors Service has today placed on review for downgrade the Caa3/(P)Caa3 long-term deposit and senior unsecured debt ratings of five Greek banks: National Bank of Greece SA, Piraeus Bank SA, Eurobank Ergasias SA, Alpha Bank AE and Attica Bank SA. These banks' respective baseline credit assessments (BCAs) were also downgraded to ca from caa3. The rating actions follow Moody's decision to downgrade Greece's sovereign rating to Caa3 (on review for downgrade) from Caa2 (negative) on 1 July 2015: https://www.moodys.com/research/--PR_329070

Today's BCA downgrade is driven by 1) the significant deterioration in banks' funding and liquidity in recent weeks, and 2) the current bank closures and associated capital controls, which constitute a deposit default in Moody's opinion.

The rating review will assess the risk of losses for depositors and senior unsecured creditors, in the context of the uncertainty surrounding the availability of the emergency liquidity assistance (ELA) to Greek banks and the increased risk of the country's possible exit from the euro area. The Caa3 deposit ratings are in line with Greece's deposit ceiling, and incorporate potential losses stemming from the immediate pressures implied by the bank holiday, deposit withdrawal limitations and capital controls recently put in place, alongside the risks of a broad insolvency of the banking system.

The rating agency has also assigned Counterparty Risk Assessments (CR Assessments) of Caa3(cr)/NP(cr) to the above Greek banks, and has placed all the long-term Caa3(cr) CR Assessments on review for downgrade. The assignment of CR Assessments is in line with Moody's new bank rating methodology published on 16 March 2015 (see "Banks," http://www.moodys.com/viewresearchdoc.aspx?docid=PR_320662).

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

RATINGS RATIONALE

--- DOWNGRADE OF BCAs PRIMARILY DRIVEN BY THE IMPOSED BANK HOLIDAY AND CAPITAL CONTROLS RESULTING IN A DEPOSIT DEFAULT

The BCAs of all rated Greek banks were downgraded to ca from caa3 as the bank holiday, along with the associated deposit withdrawal limitations and capital controls, constitute a default on deposits in Moody's opinion. According to the rating agency's bank rating methodology, a BCA of ca is consistent with such an event, indicating the banks' highly speculative standalone financial strength. Despite a certain degree of difference amongst the financial fundamentals of the five banks, the systemic nature of the capital controls and the underlying liquidity stress affects all rated Greek banks equally.

The bank holiday follows the significant deterioration of all banks' funding and liquidity, with accelerated deposit outflows taking place in the last few weeks, as Greek households are concerned about the prospect of forced redenomination of their deposits into a new currency. Moody's estimates that domestic private-sector deposits have declined by around €44 billion since the end of last November to approximately €120 billion. Outflows in the last two weeks alone were in excess of €8 billion.

In response to the persistent decline in deposits, the ECB had in recent weeks allowed the Bank of Greece to gradually increase the amount of ELA provided to the Greek banking sector. However, the ECB's decision on 28 June to freeze the ELA limit at around €89 billion heightens liquidity risk and leaves the banks without an alternative funding source. Moody's estimates that the Greek banking system is now more reliant on funding from the Eurosystem, either in the form of ELA or regular funding, than on domestic private-sector customer deposits.

In addition, Moody's considers that the deteriorating credit conditions associated with the capital controls, and the significantly reduced economic activity in the first half of the year, will exert more pressure on banks' already very weak asset quality. Consequently, the rating agency expects banks' potential losses in 2015 to further increase solvency risk, and likely trigger the need for a new round of recapitalisation for the banking system.

--- RATING REVIEW TO ASSESS EXPECTED LOSSES

The rating review will primarily focus on the assessment of the risk of losses for banks' deposits and senior unsecured debt obligations. The Caa3 ratings are in line with Greece's deposit ceiling, and incorporate potential losses stemming from the immediate pressures implied by the bank holiday, deposit withdrawal limitations and capital controls recently put in place, alongside the risks of a broad insolvency of the banking system. The review for downgrade will assess the implications of the outcome of the referendum for Greece's willingness and ability to reach agreement with its official sector creditors. A "No" vote would likely increase the risk of exit from the euro area and currency redenomination, which would lead to significant losses for bank depositors and creditors.

Moody's believes that political events in the next few weeks will be critical for the availability of the ELA to Greek banks from the ECB, and for the banking system to remain within the eurosystem. The continued availability of ELA to meet funding needs could limit the risk of losses for bank depositors and creditors to levels consistent with the current Caa3 ratings.

--- ASSIGNMENT OF COUNTERPARTY RISK ASSESSMENTS

Moody's has also assigned CR Assessments of Caa3(cr)/NP(cr) to National Bank of Greece SA, Piraeus Bank SA, Eurobank Ergasias SA, Alpha Bank AE and Attica Bank SA, and has placed all the long-term Caa3(cr) CR Assessments on review for downgrade. CR Assessments are opinions of how counterparty obligations are likely to be treated if a bank fails, and are distinct from debt and deposit ratings in that they (1) consider only the risk of default rather than expected loss and (2) apply to counterparty obligations and contractual commitments rather than debt or deposit instruments. The CR Assessment is an opinion of the counterparty risk related to a bank's covered bonds, contractual performance obligations (servicing), derivatives (e.g., swaps), letters of credit, guarantees and liquidity facilities.

The CR Assessment takes into account the issuer's standalone strength as well as the likelihood of affiliate and government support in the event of need, reflecting the anticipated seniority of these obligations in the liabilities hierarchy. The CR Assessment also incorporates other steps authorities can take to preserve the key operations of a bank should it enter a resolution.

For Greek banks, the CR Assessment is positioned one notch above the banks' Adjusted BCAs, based on the cushion against default provided to the senior obligations represented by the CR Assessment by subordinated instruments. The main difference with Moody's Advanced Loss Given Failure (LGF) approach used to determine instrument ratings is that the CR Assessment captures the probability of default on certain senior obligations, rather than expected loss, therefore Moody's focus purely on subordination and take no account of the volume of the instrument class.

The CR Assessment for Greek banks does not benefit from any government support, in line with Moody's support assumptions on deposits and senior unsecured debt. This reflects the rating agency's view that operating activities and obligations reflected by the CR Assessment are unlikely to benefit from any support provisions from resolution authorities to senior unsecured debt or deposits.

The review on the Greek banks' CR Assessments will follow the associated review on the banks' deposit and debt ratings.

WHAT COULD MOVE THE RATINGS UP/DOWN

An assessment of higher expected losses due to potentially protracted capital controls, in conjunction with risks regarding the availability of central bank funding mainly in the form of ELA, could prompt a downgrade of the banks' ratings. In addition, the ratings could also be downgraded if the rating agency considers that the risk of a potential exit from the euro area, and risk of redenomination, has increased considerably.

Greek banks' ratings could be confirmed if the rating agency considers that potential deposit losses could be contained at levels consistent with a Caa3 rating and if default risks for senior unsecured bond holders do not increase materially. As signaled by the review for downgrade, upside potential for Greek banks' ratings is currently very limited.

THE SPECIFIC RATING CHANGES IMPLEMENTED TODAY ARE AS FOLLOWS:

Issuer: Alpha Bank AE

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

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

.... Long-Term Bank Deposit Ratings, Placed on Review for Downgrade, currently Caa3

.... Senior Unsecured Medium-Term Note Program, Placed on Review for Downgrade, currently (P)Caa3

.... Backed Senior Unsecured Medium-Term Note Program, Placed on Review for Downgrade, currently (P)Caa3

.... Subordinate Multiple Medium-Term Note Program, Placed on Review for Downgrade, currently (P)Ca

.... Counterparty Risk Assessment Long-term, Assigned Caa3(cr); Placed Under Review for Downgrade

.... Counterparty Risk Assessment Short-term, Assigned NP(cr)

....Outlook, Changed To Rating Under Review From Negative

Issuer: Alpha Credit Group plc

....Backed Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture, Placed on Review for Downgrade, currently Caa3

....Backed Subordinate Regular Bond/Debenture, Placed on Review for Downgrade, currently Ca

....Backed Senior Unsecured Medium-Term Note Program, Placed on Review for Downgrade, currently (P)Caa3

....Backed Subordinate Medium-Term Note Program, Placed on Review for Downgrade, currently (P)Ca

....Outlook, Changed To Rating Under Review From Negative

Issuer: Alpha Group Jersey Limited

....Backed Senior Unsecured Medium-Term Note Program, Placed on Review for Downgrade, currently (P)Caa3

....Backed Subordinate Medium-Term Note Program, Placed on Review for Downgrade, currently (P)Ca

....Backed Pref. Stock Non-cumulative, Placed on Review for Downgrade, currently Ca (hyb)

....Outlook, Changed To Rating Under Review From Negative

Issuer: Emporiki Group Finance Plc

....Backed Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture, Placed on Review for Downgrade, currently Caa3

....Outlook, Changed To Rating Under Review From Negative

Issuer: Attica Bank S.A.

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

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

.... Long-Term Bank Deposit Ratings, Placed on Review for Downgrade, currently Caa3

.... Counterparty Risk Assessment Long-term, Assigned Caa3(cr); Placed Under Review for Downgrade

.... Counterparty Risk Assessment Short-term, Assigned NP(cr)

....Outlook, Changed To Rating Under Review From Negative

Issuer: Eurobank Ergasias S.A.

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

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

.... Long-Term Bank Deposit Ratings, Placed on Review for Downgrade, currently Caa3

.... Senior Unsecured Medium-Term Note Program, Placed on Review for Downgrade, currently (P)Caa3

.... Backed Senior Unsecured Medium-Term Note Program, Placed on Review for Downgrade, currently (P)Caa3

.... Subordinate Multiple Medium-Term Note Program, Placed on Review for Downgrade, currently (P)Ca

.... Counterparty Risk Assessment Long-term, Assigned Caa3(cr); Placed Under Review for Downgrade

.... Counterparty Risk Assessment Short-term, Assigned NP(cr)

....Outlook, Changed To Rating Under Review From Negative

Issuer: ERB Hellas (Cayman Islands) Limited

....Backed Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture, Placed on Review for Downgrade, currently Caa3

....Backed Senior Unsecured Medium-Term Note Program, Placed on Review for Downgrade, currently (P)Caa3

....Backed Subordinate Medium-Term Note Program, Placed on Review for Downgrade, currently (P)Ca

....Outlook, Changed To Rating Under Review From Negative

Issuer: ERB Hellas Funding Limited

....Backed Pref. Stock Non-cumulative, Placed on Review for Downgrade, currently Ca (hyb)

....Outlook, Changed To No Outlook From Negative

Issuer: ERB Hellas PLC

....Backed Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture, Placed on Review for Downgrade, currently Caa3

....Backed Subordinate Regular Bond/Debenture, Placed on Review for Downgrade, currently Ca

....Backed Senior Unsecured Medium-Term Note Program, Placed on Review for Downgrade, currently (P)Caa3

....Backed Subordinate Medium-Term Note Program, Placed on Review for Downgrade, currently (P)Ca

....Outlook, Changed To Rating Under Review From Negative

Issuer: National Bank of Greece S.A.

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

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

.... Long-Term Bank Deposit Ratings, Placed on Review for Downgrade, currently Caa3

.....Backed Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture (Government Guaranteed), Downgraded to Caa3 Placed Under Review for further Downgrade from Caa2 Negative;

.... Backed Senior Unsecured Medium-Term Note Program, Placed on Review for Downgrade, currently (P)Caa3

.....Pref. Stock Non-cumulative, Placed on Review for Downgrade, currently Ca (hyb)

.... Counterparty Risk Assessment Long-term, Assigned Caa3(cr); Placed Under Review for Downgrade

.... Counterparty Risk Assessment Short-term, Assigned NP(cr)

....Outlook, Changed To Rating Under Review From Negative

Issuer: National Bank of Greece Funding Limited

....Backed Pref. Stock Non-cumulative, Placed on Review for Downgrade, currently Ca (hyb)

....Outlook, Changed To No Outlook From Negative

Issuer: NBG Finance plc

....Backed Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture, Placed on Review for Downgrade, currently Caa3

....Backed Subordinate Regular Bond/Debenture, Placed on Review for Downgrade, currently Ca

....Backed Senior Unsecured Medium-Term Note Program, Placed on Review for Downgrade, currently (P)Caa3

....Backed Subordinate Medium-Term Note Program, Placed on Review for Downgrade, currently (P)Ca

....Outlook, Changed To Rating Under Review From Negative

Issuer: Piraeus Bank S.A.

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

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

.... Long-Term Bank Deposit Ratings, Placed on Review for Downgrade, currently Caa3

.... Senior Unsecured Medium-Term Note Program, Placed on Review for Downgrade, currently (P)Caa3

.... Subordinate Multiple Medium-Term Note Program, Placed on Review for Downgrade, currently (P)Ca

.... Counterparty Risk Assessment Long-term, Assigned Caa3(cr); Placed Under Review for Downgrade

.... Counterparty Risk Assessment Short-term, Assigned NP(cr)

....Outlook, Changed To Rating Under Review From Negative

Issuer: Piraeus Group Capital Limited

....Backed Pref. Stock Non-cumulative, Placed on Review for Downgrade, currently Ca (hyb)

....Outlook, Changed To No Outlook From Negative

Issuer: Piraeus Group Finance Plc

....Backed Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture, Placed on Review for Downgrade, currently Caa3

....Backed Subordinate Regular Bond/Debenture, Placed on Review for Downgrade, currently Ca

....Backed Senior Unsecured Medium-Term Note Program, Placed on Review for Downgrade, currently (P)Caa3

....Backed Subordinate Medium-Term Note Program, Placed on Review for Downgrade, currently (P)Ca

....Outlook, Changed To Rating Under Review From Negative

The short-term NP/(P)NP ratings for all the banks above were not affected by today's rating action.

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 consolidated assets of EUR119.3 billion as of March 2015

- Piraeus Bank SA reported total consolidated assets of EUR88.5 billion as of March 2015

- Eurobank Ergasias SA reported total consolidated assets of EUR77.5 billion as of March 2015

- Alpha Bank SA reported total consolidated assets of EUR73 billion as of March 2015

- Attica Bank SA reported total consolidated assets of EUR3.9 billion as of March 2015

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.

The following information supplements Disclosure 10 ("Information Relating to Conflicts of Interest as required by Paragraph (a)(1)(ii)(J) of SEC Rule 17g-7") in the regulatory disclosures made at the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on www.moodys.com for each credit rating as indicated:

Moody's was not paid for services other than determining a credit rating in the most recently ended fiscal year by the person(s) that paid Moody's to determine this credit rating.

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 reviews 5 Greek Banks' Caa3 deposit and senior unsecured debt ratings
No Related Data.
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