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Rating Action:

Moody's takes action on six UK banks following downgrade of UK sovereign debt rating to Aa3 stable from Aa2 negative

20 Oct 2020

London, 20 October 2020 -- Moody's Investors Service (Moody's) today took an action on six UK banks. The rating agency:

- Downgraded the long-term deposit ratings of three UK banks to A1 from Aa3: HSBC Bank plc (HSBC Bank), Lloyds Bank plc (Lloyds Bank) and Santander UK plc (Santander UK) and changed the outlooks on these ratings to stable from negative.

- Affirmed the A1 long-term deposit ratings of National Westminster Bank Plc (NatWest Bank), and changed the outlook on these ratings to stable from positive.

- Downgraded the long-term issuer and senior unsecured debt ratings -- where applicable -- of four banks: HSBC Bank, HSBC UK Bank plc (HBUK), Lloyds Bank and Santander UK, and changed the outlook on these ratings to stable from negative.

- Downgraded the long-term Counterparty Risk Ratings (CRR) and long-term Counterparty Risk Assessments (CR Assessment) of four banks to Aa3 and Aa3(cr) from Aa2 and Aa2(cr), respectively: HSBC Bank, Barclays Bank UK PLC (Barclays Bank UK), Lloyds Bank and Santander UK.

- Maintained a Strong+ Macro Profile for the UK.

A full list of affected ratings and assessments can be found at the end of this Press Release.

The action on UK banks was driven by Moody's downgrade, on 16 October 2020, of the Government of the United Kingdom's sovereign debt rating to Aa3 with stable outlook from Aa2 with negative outlook. For further information on the sovereign rating action, please refer to Moody's press release published on 16 October 2020: Moody's downgrades the UK's ratings to Aa3, outlook stable (https://www.moodys.com/research/--PR_434172).

RATINGS RATIONALE

The downgrade of the UK sovereign debt rating to Aa3 from Aa2 led to a reduction in the uplift for government support provided to the long-term deposit ratings, senior unsecured debt ratings, CRRs and CR Assessments for the UK banks with the highest ratings, said Moody's.

Moody's includes in its ratings the benefit from potential government support based upon the willingness and the capacity of a government to support banks in case of need. Moody's maintained an assessment of a moderate probability of support from the Government of the UK for the depositors and operating liabilities of the banks affected by today's action. However, such support in some cases no longer provides rating uplift given the lower UK sovereign debt rating.

At the same time, Moody's maintained a Strong+ Macro Profile for the UK, reflecting the rating agency's unchanged view of the country's operating environment.

-- HSBC BANK, LLOYDS BANK AND SANTANDER UK

Moody's downgraded the long-term deposit ratings, senior unsecured debt ratings, and issuer ratings -- where applicable - of HSBC Bank, Lloyds Bank and Santander UK to A1 with stable outlook from Aa3 with negative outlook, and the long-term CRRs and CR Assessments to Aa3 and Aa3(cr) from Aa2 and Aa2(cr), respectively.

The action reflects the proximity of these ratings and assessments to the lower UK sovereign debt rating. With an Aa3 sovereign debt rating, Moody's said that its unchanged view of a moderate probability of support for the affected ratings and assessments no longer results in any uplift.

The stable outlooks balance the risk that banks' financial profiles deteriorate as a result of the current economic shock, with the potential notch of government support that the rating agency could assign should the unsupported long-term deposit ratings, senior unsecured debt ratings, and issuer ratings fall further below the UK sovereign debt rating.

-- HBUK

Moody's downgraded the senior unsecured and long-term issuer ratings of HBUK to A1 with stable outlook from Aa3 with negative outlook.

The action reflects the proximity of these ratings to the lower UK sovereign debt rating. With an Aa3 sovereign debt rating, Moody's said that its unchanged view of a moderate probability of support for the affected ratings no longer results in any uplift.

The stable outlook balances the risk that HBUK's financial profile deteriorates as a result of the current economic shock, with the potential notch of government support that the rating agency could assign should the unsupported long-term deposit ratings fall further below the UK sovereign debt rating.

HBUK's long-term deposit ratings of Aa3 with negative outlook, the Aa2 long-term CRRs and the Aa2(cr) long-term CR Assessment were not affected by today's action because they do not incorporate uplift from government support due to their proximity to the UK's sovereign debt rating.

-- BARCLAYS BANK UK

Moody's downgraded the long-term CRRs and CR Assessments of Barclays Bank UK to Aa3 and Aa3(cr) from Aa2 and Aa2(cr), respectively.

The action reflects the proximity of these ratings and assessments to the lower UK sovereign debt rating. With an Aa3 sovereign debt rating, Moody's said that its unchanged view of a moderate probability of support for the affected ratings and assessments no longer results in any uplift.

-- NATWEST BANK

Moody's today affirmed the A1 long-term deposit ratings of NatWest Bank, and changed the outlook on these ratings to stable from positive.

The stable outlook balances the potential benefit coming from years of restructuring with a potentially lower uplift from government support should the unsupported long-term deposit ratings move up towards the UK sovereign debt rating.

All the other ratings and assessments of NatWest Bank were not affected by today's action.

FACTORS THAT COULD LEAD TO AN UPGRADE OR DOWNGRADE OF THE RATINGS

The affected long-term deposit ratings, senior unsecured debt ratings, issuer ratings, CRRs and CR Assessments could be upgraded following an improvement in the standalone creditworthiness of the banks, or an upgrade of the UK sovereign debt rating.

The long-term deposit, senior unsecured debt ratings, and issuer ratings could also be upgraded following a significant increase in the stock of more junior bail-in-able liabilities.

The affected ratings and assessments could be downgraded following a substantial deterioration in the standalone creditworthiness of the banks or following a significant reduction in the stock of bail-in-able liabilities. The ratings and assessments of HSBC Bank could also be downgraded following a deterioration in the creditworthiness of its ultimate parent, HSBC Holdings plc (senior unsecured debt A2 with negative outlook, Baseline Credit Assessment a2).

LIST OF AFFECTED RATINGS

Issuer: HSBC Bank plc

..Downgrades:

....Long-term Counterparty Risk Ratings, downgraded to Aa3 from Aa2

....Long-term Bank Deposits, downgraded to A1 from Aa3, outlook changed to Stable from Negative

....Long-term Counterparty Risk Assessment, downgraded to Aa3(cr) from Aa2(cr)

....Long-term Issuer Rating, downgraded to A1 from Aa3, outlook changed to Stable from Negative

....Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture, downgraded to A1 from Aa3, outlook changed to Stable from Negative

....Senior Unsecured Medium-Term Note Program, downgraded to (P)A1 from (P)Aa3

..Outlook Action:

....Outlook changed to Stable from Negative

Issuer: HSBC Bank plc, Sydney Branch

..Downgrades:

....Long-term Counterparty Risk Ratings, downgraded to Aa3 from Aa2

....Long-term Bank Deposits, downgraded to A1 from Aa3, outlook changed to Stable from Negative

....Long-term Counterparty Risk Assessment, downgraded to Aa3(cr) from Aa2(cr)

..Outlook Action:

....Outlook changed to Stable from Negative

Issuer: HSBC UK Bank Plc

..Downgrades:

....Long-term Issuer Ratings, downgraded to A1 from Aa3, outlook changed to Stable from Negative

....Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture, downgraded to A1 from Aa3, outlook changed to Stable from Negative

....Senior Unsecured Medium-Term Note Program, downgraded to (P)A1 from (P)Aa3

..Outlook Action:

....Outlook changed to Negative(m) from Negative

Issuer: National Westminster Bank Plc

..Affirmations:

....Long-term Bank Deposits, affirmed A1, outlook changed to Stable from Positive

..Outlook Action:

....Outlook changed to Stable(m) from Positive

Issuer: The Royal Bank of Scotland plc

..Affirmations:

....Long-term Bank Deposits, affirmed A1, outlook changed to Stable from Positive

..Outlook Action:

....Outlook changed to Stable(m) from Positive

Issuer: Ulster Bank Limited

..Affirmations:

....Long-term Bank Deposits, affirmed A1, outlook changed to Stable from Positive

..Outlook Action:

....Outlook changed to Stable(m) from Positive

Issuer: Bank of Scotland plc

..Downgrades:

....Long-term Counterparty Risk Ratings, downgraded to Aa3 from Aa2

....Long-term Bank Deposits, downgraded to A1 from Aa3, outlook changed to Stable from Negative

....Long-term Counterparty Risk Assessment, downgraded to Aa3(cr) from Aa2(cr)

....Long-term Issuer Rating, downgraded to A1 from Aa3, outlook changed to Stable from Negative

....Backed Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture, downgraded to A1 from Aa3, outlook changed to Stable from Negative

..Outlook Action:

....Outlook changed to Stable from Negative

Issuer: HBOS plc

..Downgrades:

....Long-term Counterparty Risk Ratings, downgraded to Aa3 from Aa2

....Long-term Counterparty Risk Assessment, downgraded to Aa3(cr) from Aa2(cr)

....Long-term Issuer Rating, downgraded to A1 from Aa3, outlook changed to Stable from Negative

..Outlook Action:

....Outlook changed to Stable from Negative

Issuer: HBOS Treasury Services Ltd

..Downgrades:

....Backed Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture, downgraded to A1 from Aa3, outlook changed to Stable from Negative

..Outlook Action:

....Outlook changed to Stable from Negative

Issuer: Lloyds Bank plc

..Downgrades:

....Long-term Counterparty Risk Ratings, downgraded to Aa3 from Aa2

....Long-term Bank Deposits, downgraded to A1 from Aa3, outlook changed to Stable from Negative

....Long-term Counterparty Risk Assessment, downgraded to Aa3(cr) from Aa2(cr)

....Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture, downgraded to A1 from Aa3, outlook changed to Stable from Negative

....Backed Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture, downgraded to A1 from Aa3, outlook changed to Stable from Negative

....Senior Unsecured Shelf, downgraded to (P)A1 from (P)Aa3

....Senior Unsecured Medium-Term Note Program, downgraded to (P)A1 from (P)Aa3

..Outlook Action:

....Outlook changed to Stable from Negative

Issuer: Santander Financial Services plc

..Downgrades:

....Long-term Counterparty Risk Ratings, downgraded to Aa3 from Aa2

....Long-term Bank Deposits, downgraded to A1 from Aa3, outlook changed to Stable from Negative

....Long-term Counterparty Risk Assessment, downgraded to Aa3(cr) from Aa2(cr)

....Long-term Issuer Ratings, downgraded to A1 from Aa3, outlook changed to Stable from Negative

..Outlook Action:

....Outlook changed to Stable from Negative

Issuer: Santander UK plc

..Downgrades:

....Long-term Counterparty Risk Ratings, downgraded to Aa3 from Aa2

....Long-term Bank Deposits, downgraded to A1 from Aa3, outlook changed to Stable from Negative

....Long-term Counterparty Risk Assessment, downgraded to Aa3(cr) from Aa2(cr)

....Long-term Issuer Rating, downgraded to A1 from Aa3, outlook changed to Stable from Negative

....Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture, downgraded to A1 from Aa3, outlook changed to Stable from Negative

....Senior Unsecured Shelf, downgraded to (P)A1 from (P)Aa3

....Senior Unsecured Medium-Term Note Program, downgraded to (P)A1 from (P)Aa3

..Outlook Action:

....Outlook changed to Stable from Negative

Issuer: Barclays Bank UK PLC

..Downgrades:

....Long-term Counterparty Risk Ratings, downgraded to Aa3 from Aa2

....Long-term Counterparty Risk Assessment, downgraded to Aa3(cr) from Aa2(cr)

..Negative Outlook not affected

PRINCIPAL METHDOLOGY

The principal methodology used in these ratings was Banks Methodology published in November 2019 and available at https://www.moodys.com/researchdocumentcontentpage.aspx?docid=PBC_1147865. Alternatively, please see the Rating Methodologies page on www.moodys.com for a copy of this methodology.

REGULATORY DISCLOSURES

For further specification of Moody's key rating assumptions and sensitivity analysis, see the sections Methodology Assumptions and Sensitivity to Assumptions in the disclosure form. Moody's Rating Symbols and Definitions can be found at: https://www.moodys.com/researchdocumentcontentpage.aspx?docid=PBC_79004.

For ratings issued on a program, series, category/class of debt or security this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to each rating of a subsequently issued bond or note of the same series, category/class of debt, security 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 credit rating action on the support provider and in relation to each particular credit 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 credit rating action, and whose ratings may change as a result of this credit 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 ratings have been disclosed to the rated entity or its designated agent(s) and issued with no amendment resulting from that disclosure.

These ratings are solicited. Please refer to Moody's Policy for Designating and Assigning Unsolicited Credit Ratings available on its website www.moodys.com.

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

Moody's general principles for assessing environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks in our credit analysis can be found at https://www.moodys.com/researchdocumentcontentpage.aspx?docid=PBC_1133569.

The below contact information is provided for information purposes only. Please see the ratings tab of the issuer page at www.moodys.com, for each of the ratings covered, Moody's disclosures on the lead rating analyst and the Moody's legal entity that has issued the ratings.

The Lead Rating Analyst for HSBC Bank plc, HSBC Bank plc, Sydney Branch, HSBC UK Bank plc, National Westminster Bank Plc, The Royal Bank of Scotland plc and Ulster Bank Limited credit ratings is Edoardo Calandro, Vice President - Senior Analyst, Financial Institutions Group, JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456, Client Service: 44 20 7772 5454.

The Lead Rating Analyst for Barclays Bank UK PLC, Lloyds Bank plc, HBOS plc, Bank of Scotland plc, HBOS Treasury Services Ltd, Santander UK plc and Santander Financial Services plc credit ratings is Alessandro Roccati, Senior Vice President, Financial Institutions Group, JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456, Client Service: 44 20 7772 5454.

The person who approved National Westminster Bank Plc, The Royal Bank of Scotland plc and Ulster Bank Limited credit ratings is Nicholas Hill, MD - Banking, Financial Institutions Group, JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456, Client Service: 44 20 7772 5454. The person who approved Lloyds Bank plc, HBOS plc, Bank of Scotland plc, HBOS Treasury Services Ltd, Santander UK plc and Santander Financial Services plc credit ratings is Laurie Mayers, Associate Managing Director, Financial Institutions Group, JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456, Client Service: 44 20 7772 5454. The person who approved HSBC Bank plc, HSBC Bank plc, Sydney Branch, HSBC UK Bank plc and Barclays Bank UK PLC credit ratings is Ana Arsov, MD - Financial Institutions, Financial Institutions Group, JOURNALISTS: 1 212 553 0376, Client Service: 1 212 553 1653.

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.

Edoardo Calandro
Vice President - Senior Analyst
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
One Canada Square
Canary Wharf
London E14 5FA
United Kingdom
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
Client Service: 44 20 7772 5454

Laurie Mayers
Associate Managing Director
Financial Institutions Group
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
Client Service: 44 20 7772 5454

Alessandro Roccati
Senior Vice President
Financial Institutions Group
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
Client Service: 44 20 7772 5454

Releasing Office:
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
One Canada Square
Canary Wharf
London E14 5FA
United Kingdom
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
Client Service: 44 20 7772 5454

No Related Data.
© 2020 Moody's Corporation, Moody's Investors Service, Inc., Moody's Analytics, Inc. and/or their licensors and affiliates (collectively, "MOODY'S"). All rights reserved.

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