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Rating Action:

Moody's takes multiple ratings actions on large Singapore banking groups

14 Dec 2016

Note: On March 2, 2017, the press release was corrected as follows: In the REGULATORY DISCLOSURES section, the following disclosure was removed: “The person who approved Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation Limited, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation Limited, Sydney Branch, OCBC Capital Corporation (2008), United Overseas Bank Limited, United Overseas Bank Limited, Sydney Branch credit ratings is Gene Fang, Associate Managing Director, Financial Institutions Group, JOURNALISTS: (852) 3758 -1350, SUBSCRIBERS: (852) 3551-3077. The person who approved DBS Group Holdings Ltd, DBS Bank Ltd., DBS Bank Ltd., Australia Branch, DBS Bank Ltd., Hong Kong Branch, DBS Bank Ltd., London Branch, DBS Capital Funding II Corp credit ratings is Stephen Long, MD - Financial Institutions, Financial Institutions Group, JOURNALISTS: (852) 3758 -1350, SUBSCRIBERS: (852) 3551-3077.” Revised release follows.

Singapore, December 14, 2016 -- Moody's Investors Service has taken the following rating actions on DBS Bank Ltd. (DBS), DBS Group Holdings Ltd (DBSH), Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation Limited (OCBC) and United Overseas Bank Limited (UOB):

1. Affirmed the Aa1 long-term deposits and senior debt ratings of DBS, OCBC and UOB

2. Affirmed the Aa2 senior unsecured rating of DBSH

3. Downgraded by one notch the subordinated debt and capital instrument ratings of DBS, DBSH, OCBC and UOB

4. Downgraded the baseline credit assessments (BCA) and adjusted BCAs of DBS, OCBC and UOB to a1 from aa3

The outlook on the long-term ratings of DBS, DBSH, OCBC and UOB was revised to stable from negative, reflecting Moody's view that further solvency pressure will be manageable for these financial institutions.

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

RATINGS RATIONALE

Following today's rating actions, Moody's considers that the large Singapore banks still maintain very robust intrinsic credit metrics in both the global and regional context. In addition, the affirmed Aa1 senior debt and deposit ratings benefit from very high support from the Government of Singapore (Aaa stable) in case of need.

However, weakening solvency metrics -- namely asset quality and profitability -- have contributed to today's BCA downgrades to a1 from aa3. The ongoing credit challenges that these banks face at home and broadly in Asia -- where they have around 50% of their loans -- have translated into higher problem assets this year, and Moody's expects further negative pressure on asset quality in 2017 to create downward pressure on profitability due to higher credit provisions.

RATIONALE BEHIND THE AFFIRMATION OF THE SENIOR DEBT AND DEPOSIT RATINGS

The Aa1 senior debt and deposit ratings of DBS, OCBC and UOB were affirmed despite the one-notch BCA downgrades, because Moody's expects that these banks will benefit from very high government support in case of need. As a result, their Aa1 ratings now benefit from 3 notches of uplift, compared to 2 notches previously.

In Moody's view, the Singapore government has a strong incentive to prevent losses to senior creditors of any of the three largest domestic banks, because they represent a combined market share of 63% in Singapore dollar deposits and the failure of any one institution could create large knock-on effects on the entire banking system and economy.

The current regulatory proposal to introduce an enhanced bank resolution and bail-in regime in Singapore further reinforces Moody's view that senior creditors of the three Singapore banks will continue to benefit from government support. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has proposed to exclude all existing and prospective senior debt, customer deposits, and interbank liabilities from the scope of bail-in.

Capacity-wise, Moody's considers that the Singapore government has ample resources to recapitalize the country's large banks if needed, particularly taking into account the strong fiscal position of the government.

The Aa2 issuer and senior unsecured debt ratings of DBSH -- a holding company -- also incorporate Moody's "very high" public support assumptions. However, the senior unsecured ratings of this issuer are positioned one notch lower than those of DBS Bank Ltd., to reflect the structural subordination of creditors at the holding company level relative to the creditors at the operating bank.

RATIONALE BEHIND THE DOWNGRADE OF THE SUBORDINATED AND CAPITAL INSTRUMENT RATINGS

The subordinated and capital instrument ratings of the banks were downgraded by one notch, because the Adjusted BCAs of these banks were downgraded by one notch. When rating such obligations, Moody's uses the banks' Adjusted BCAs as anchor and then notches down these instruments based on the specific features that make them more, or less, risky for investors.

For OCBC, Moody's has withdrawn its (P)A1 junior subordinate program rating because it has no such obligations outstanding.

RATIONALE BEHIND THE BCA AND ADJUSTED BCA DOWNGRADES

DBS

DBS' problem loan ratio rose to 1.3% at end-September 2016, from 0.9% a year ago, mainly due to asset quality issues from its offshore and marine sector exposures, including Swiber Holdings Ltd. (unrated), a large Singapore-based services company that defaulted on its bond repayment and filed for judicial management in August. DBS has indicated in November 2016 that the remaining oil services exposures with potential asset quality weakness has increased to 20% of its oil service portfolio, from 13% in previous quarter. As such, DBS expects more NPLs to surface from its oil services portfolio in the coming quarters.

DBS' profitability has shown more resilience relative to its peer banks, but was nevertheless impacted by higher credit costs stemming from asset quality deterioration. Return on tangible assets deteriorated slightly to 0.98% at end-September 2016, from 1.05% a year ago.

The bank's capital and liquidity profiles remain strong, offsetting the downside risks of further asset quality deterioration, and supporting its a1 BCA. DBS' BCA no longer incorporates a positive adjustment for corporate behaviour, after taking into account multiple developments in the recent quarters that, in Moody's view, are not consistent with exemplary stewardship by bank management.

OCBC

OCBC's problem loans ratio weakened to 1.2% at end-September 2016, from 0.9% at year-end 2015 and 0.6% at year-end 2014. Most new problem loans originate from oil service companies, where OCBC has around 2% of its gross loans. Moody's expects OCBC's problem loans will increase in 2017, driven by further weaknesses in the oil and gas portfolio, as well as more challenging operating conditions, both domestically and in the region.

OCBC maintains a strong problem loans coverage ratio of 101% at end-September 2016, a ratio that is however lower than 171% at end-December 2014.

OCBC's capital buffer is strong with a 15.4% TCE / RWA ratio at end-September 2016. Moody's notes that part of this capital is located at OCBC's insurance subsidiary, and not available to cover banking risks. The bank's fully-loaded CET1 ratio, which fully excludes all regulatory deductions, stood at a strong 12.8% as of the same date.

OCBC's return on tangible assets decreased to 0.93% for the first nine months of 2016, from 1% for the same period of 2015, mainly due to higher credit allowances. Moody's expects profitability to decrease slightly in 2017, due to elevated credit costs and an uncertain outlook for the net interest margin.

OCBC maintains strong funding and liquidity profiles, with only 9% of assets funded by market borrowings, and 32% of assets in liquid form at end-September 2016.

UOB

UOB's problem loans ratio increased to 1.6% at end-September 2016 from 1.4% in 2015 and 1.2% in 2014. The recent deterioration was mainly driven by the oil service companies, where UOB has a lower exposure compared to the other major Singapore banks. We expect problem loans to increase further in 2017, driven by challenging operating conditions domestically and in the region. UOB maintained a sound 112% problem loans coverage ratio as of end-September 2016; this ratio is the highest among the three large Singapore banks.

UOB reported stable return on tangible assets of 1% for the first nine months of 2016. We expect some weakening by 5-10 basis points in 2017, related to new credit provisions. UOB has a good capital buffer, with a 12.2% TCE / RWA ratio at end-September 2016. The TCE ratio improved from 11.6% at year-end 2015. UOB maintains strong funding and liquidity profiles, with only 9% of assets funded by market borrowings, and 30% assets in liquid form.

In addition, the a1 BCAs of OCBC and UOB continue to incorporate a positive adjustment for corporate behaviour to reflect the banks' exemplary management through the cycle.

WHAT COULD MOVE THE RATINGS UP/ DOWN

The outlook is stable for the long-term ratings of DBS, DBSH, OCBC and UOB, reflecting Moody's view that further solvency pressures will be manageable for these financial institutions.

The affected banks' deposit and senior debt ratings could be downgraded if their BCAs are downgraded. All other rating factors constant, the BCAs of the banks would come under downward pressure if: (1) new non-performing loan formation remains elevated, pointing towards a material worsening of asset quality metrics, (2) return on assets ratios deteriorate significantly due to lower core profits and/or increased credit costs, or (3) capital buffers decline continuously over several quarters, indicating a deterioration in loss absorption buffers.

The banks' ratings are among the highest assigned to any financial institution globally, and upward pressure on the ratings is unlikely. However, improvements in the macroeconomic conditions in Singapore and/or in the region as well as in the banks' financial metrics would be credit positive for the banks' BCAs.

The principal methodology used in these ratings was Banks published in January 2016. Please see the Rating Methodologies page on www.moodys.com for a copy of this methodology.

LIST OF AFFECTED RATINGS

DBS GROUP HOLDINGS LTD

• Long-term local and foreign currency issuer rating affirmed at Aa2; outlook changed to stable from negative

• Short-term local and foreign currency issuer rating affirmed at P-1;

• Foreign currency other short term program rating affirmed at (P)P-1;

• Local and foreign currency senior unsecured debt rating affirmed at Aa2; outlook changed to stable from negative

• Foreign currency senior unsecured medium-term note (MTN) program rating affirmed at (P)Aa2;

• Local and foreign currency subordinated debt ratings downgraded to A3(hyb) from A2 (hyb);

• Foreign currency subordinated MTN program rating downgraded to (P)A3 from (P)A2;

• Local and foreign currency preferred stock rating downgraded to Baa1(hyb) from A3(hyb);

• Foreign currency preferred stock MTN program rating downgraded to (P)Baa1 from (P)A3;

• Outlook for the company revised to stable from negative.

DBS BANK LTD.

• Long-term local and foreign currency bank deposit ratings affirmed at Aa1; outlook changed to stable from negative

• Short-term local and foreign currency bank deposit ratings affirmed at P-1;

• Short-term foreign currency commercial paper rating affirmed at P-1;

• Foreign currency senior unsecured commercial paper rating affirmed at (P)Aa1;

• Foreign currency other short term program rating affirmed at (P)P-1;

• Foreign currency senior unsecured debt rating affirmed at Aa1; outlook changed to stable from negative

• Foreign currency senior unsecured MTN program rating affirmed at (P)Aa1;

• Local and foreign currency subordinated debt ratings downgraded to A1 from Aa3;

• Foreign currency subordinated MTN program rating downgraded to (P)A3 from (P)A2;

• Local currency preferred stock rating downgraded to Baa1(hyb) from A3 (hyb);

• Foreign currency preferred stock MTN program rating downgraded to (P)Baa1 from (P)A3;

• BCA and adjusted BCA downgraded to a1 from aa3;

• CR Assessment affirmed at Aa1(cr)/P-1(cr);

• Outlook for the bank revised to stable from negative.

DBS BANK LTD., AUSTRALIA BRANCH

• Short-term foreign currency commercial paper rating affirmed at P-1.

DBS BANK LTD., HONG KONG BRANCH

• Short-term foreign currency commercial paper rating affirmed at P-1;

• Foreign currency other short term program rating affirmed at (P)P-1;

• Local and foreign currency senior unsecured debt ratings affirmed at Aa1; stable outlook

• Foreign currency senior unsecured MTN program rating affirmed at (P)Aa1;

• CR Assessment affirmed at Aa1(cr)/P-1(cr);

• Outlook for the branch revised to stable from negative.

DBS BANK LTD., LONDON BRANCH

• Short-term foreign currency commercial paper rating affirmed at P-1;

• Foreign currency other short term program rating affirmed at (P)P-1;

• Foreign currency senior unsecured MTN program rating affirmed at (P)Aa1;

• CR Assessment affirmed at Aa1(cr)/P-1(cr).

DBS CAPITAL FUNDING II CORP

• Foreign currency BACKED preferred stock non-cumulative ratings downgraded to Baa1(hyb) from A3 (hyb).

OVERSEA-CHINESE BANKING CORPORATION LIMITED

• Long-term local and foreign currency bank deposit ratings affirmed at Aa1; outlook changed to stable from negative

• Short-term local and foreign currency bank deposit ratings affirmed at P-1;

• Short-term foreign currency commercial paper rating affirmed at P-1;

• Foreign currency other short term program rating affirmed at (P)P-1;

• Foreign currency senior unsecured debt rating affirmed at Aa1; outlook changed to stable from negative

• Foreign currency senior unsecured MTN program rating affirmed at (P)Aa1;

• Foreign currency Basel II-compliant subordinated debt rating downgraded to A1 from Aa3;

• Foreign currency Basel III-compliant subordinated debt rating downgraded to A3(hyb) from A2(hyb);

• Foreign currency Basel III-compliant subordinated MTN program rating downgraded to (P)A3 from (P)A2;

• Foreign currency junior subordinated MTN program rating of (P)A1 withdrawn;

• Local currency preferred stock rating downgraded to Baa1(hyb) from A3 (hyb);

• BCA and adjusted BCA downgraded to a1 from aa3;

• CR Assessment affirmed at Aa1(cr)/P-1(cr);

• Outlook for the bank revised to stable from negative.

OVERSEA-CHINESE BANKING CORPORATION LIMITED, SYDNEY BRANCH

• Foreign currency other short term program rating affirmed at (P)P-1;

• Local currency senior unsecured debt rating affirmed at Aa1; outlook changed to stable from negative

• Foreign currency senior unsecured MTN program rating affirmed at (P)Aa1;

• CR Assessment affirmed at Aa1(cr)/P-1(cr).

• Outlook for the branch revised to stable from negative.

OCBC CAPITAL CORPORATION (2008)

• Foreign currency BACKED preferred stock non-cumulative rating downgraded to Baa1(hyb) from A3 (hyb).

UNITED OVERSEAS BANK LIMITED

• Long-term local and foreign currency bank deposit ratings affirmed at Aa1; outlook changed to stable from negative

• Short-term local and foreign currency bank deposit ratings affirmed at P-1;

• Short-term foreign currency commercial paper rating affirmed at P-1;

• Local currency other short term program rating affirmed at (P)P-1;

• Foreign currency senior unsecured debt rating affirmed at Aa1; outlook changed to stable from negative

• Local currency senior unsecured MTN program rating affirmed at (P)Aa1;

• Local and foreign currency Basel II-compliant subordinated debt ratings downgraded to A1 from Aa3;

• Local and foreign currency Basel III-compliant subordinated debt ratings downgraded to A3(hyb) from A2(hyb);

• Local currency Basel III-compliant subordinated MTN program rating downgraded to (P)A3 from (P)A2;

• Local currency preferred stock rating downgraded to Baa1(hyb) from A3 (hyb);

• BCA and adjusted BCA downgraded to a1 from aa3;

• CR Assessment affirmed at Aa1(cr)/P-1(cr);

• Outlook for the bank revised to stable from negative.

UNITED OVERSEAS BANK LIMITED, SYDNEY BRANCH

• Foreign currency other short term program rating affirmed at (P)P-1;

• Local currency senior unsecured debt rating affirmed at Aa1; outlook changed to stable from negative

• Foreign currency senior unsecured MTN program rating affirmed at (P)Aa1;

• CR Assessment affirmed at Aa1(cr)/P-1(cr);

• Outlook for the branch revised to stable from negative.

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 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 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 analyst and the Moody's legal entity that has issued the ratings.

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.

Eugene Tarzimanov
VP - Senior Credit Officer
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Singapore Pte. Ltd.
50 Raffles Place #23-06
Singapore Land Tower
Singapore 48623
Singapore
JOURNALISTS: (852) 3758 -1350
SUBSCRIBERS: (852) 3551-3077

Gene Fang
Associate Managing Director
Financial Institutions Group
JOURNALISTS: (852) 3758 -1350
SUBSCRIBERS: (852) 3551-3077

Releasing Office:
Moody's Investors Service Singapore Pte. Ltd.
50 Raffles Place #23-06
Singapore Land Tower
Singapore 48623
Singapore
JOURNALISTS: (852) 3758 -1350
SUBSCRIBERS: (852) 3551-3077

No Related Data.
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