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Rating Action:

Moody's takes positive rating actions on six Armenian banks

03 Sep 2019

Action follows the upgrade of Armenia's sovereign rating to Ba3 from B1 with a stable outlook and the change in the country's Macro Profile to 'Weak+" from 'Weak'

London, 03 September 2019 -- Moody's Investors Service ("Moody's") has today taken rating actions on six Armenian banks (Ameriabank CJSC, Ardshinbank CJSC, Inecobank CJSC, Armeconombank (Armenian Economy Devt Bank), Converse Bank CJSC, VTB Bank (Armenia)). These follow the upgrade of Armenia's sovereign rating to Ba3 (stable outlook) from B1 (positive outlook) on 27 August 2019 and the change in the country's Macro Profile to 'Weak+" from 'Weak'. (Please see " https://www.moodys.com/research/-PR_404870). The rating actions were driven by strengthened operating environment for the Armenian banks, on the back of improvements in the country's economic strength and the bank's consistently sound solvency metrics.

Specifically, Moody's has:

(1) Upgraded the Baseline Credit Assessments (BCAs) and adjusted BCAs of five banks (Ameriabank, Ardshinbank, Inecobank, Armeconombank, and Converse Bank) and affirmed BCA and adjusted BCA of one bank (VTB Bank (Armenia));

(2) Upgraded the long-term Local Currency (LC) deposit ratings of five banks (Ameriabank, Ardshinbank, Inecobank, Armeconombank, and Converse Bank) and affirmed LC deposit rating of one bank (VTB Bank (Armenia));

(3) Upgraded the Foreign Currency (FC) deposit ratings of six banks (Ameriabank, Ardshinbank, Inecobank, Armeconombank, Converse Bank and VTB Bank (Armenia);

(4) Upgraded the long-term FC senior unsecured debt rating of one bank (Ardshinbank);

(5) Upgraded the long-term Counterparty Risk Assessments (CR Assessments) of five banks (Ameriabank, Ardshinbank, Inecobank, Armeconombank, and Converse Bank) and affirmed CR Assessments of one bank (VTB Bank (Armenia));

(6) Upgraded the long-term Counterparty Risk Ratings (CRR) of five banks (Ameriabank, Ardshinbank, Inecobank, Armeconombank, and Converse Bank) and affirmed CRR of one bank (VTB Bank (Armenia));

(7) Affirmed the short-term ratings and assessments of six banks (Ameriabank, Ardshinbank, Inecobank, Armeconombank, Converse Bank and VTB Bank (Armenia));

Moody's has changed the outlooks to stable from positive (m) on the ratings of three banks (Ameriabank, Ardshinbank, Converse Bank).

RATINGS RATIONALE

(1) CHANGE IN THE MACRO PROFILE TO 'WEAK+' FROM 'WEAK' REFLECTS IMPROVING OPERATING ENVIRONMENT IN ARMENIA AND EXERTS UPWARD PRESSURE ON BANKS' RATINGS

Moody's rating methodology for banks includes an assessment of each individual country's operating environment, expressed as a Macro Profile, which is designed to capture system-wide factors that are predictive of the propensity of banks to fail. The Macro Profile assigned to each bank informs the financial factors, which are key inputs into the determination of each bank's BCA.

Moody's has changed Armenia's Macro Profile to "Weak+" from "Weak" to reflect the improvements in the country's economic strength. Consequently, Moody's assessment of more favorable credit conditions for banks in Armenia has resulted in one-notch BCA upgrades for the banks affected by today's rating actions, with the exception of VTB Bank (Armenia), whose BCA has been affirmed

(2) BANK-SPECIFIC FACTORS

AMERIABANK

The upgrade of Ameriabank's long-term local currency deposit rating to Ba3 from B1 was driven by the upgrade of its BCA to ba3 from b1. The upgrade of the bank's BCA to ba3 reflects a combination of improved Armenian banking system's Macro Profile to "Weak+" from "Weak" and the bank's consistently sound financial metrics. The bank's BCA is underpinned by (1) historically strong asset quality indicators with the average problem loan ratio being around 4% in recent years, (2) its strong capital position with TCE ratio improved to 13.5% in 2018 from 12% in 2017, (3) robust profitability metrics (the net profit over tangible assets stood at 1.4% at end-June 2019) and (4) sufficient liquidity and diversified funding base. At the same time, high exposure to FC loans (around 73% of gross loans) remains the key factor constraining Ameriabank's ratings.

ARDSHINBANK

The upgrade of Ardshinbank's long-term local currency deposit rating to Ba3 from B1 was driven by the upgrade of the bank's BCA to ba3 from b1. The upgrade of the bank's BCA to ba3 from b1 is driven by a combination of improved Armenian banking system's Macro Profile to "Weak+" from "Weak" and the bank's strengthened solvency profile. The improvements in solvency profile are reflected in (1) the bank's declining problem loan ratio, which stood at 3.3% at end-June 2019, down from 3.9% at year-end 2018; as well as (2) improving profitability (the net profit over tangible assets stood at 1.5% at end-June 2019) and strengthened capital position with tangible common equity ratio improving to around 13% as at 30 June 2019 from 12% at the end-2018. At the same time, Ardshinbank's BCA is constrained by its high exposure to FC loans (around 55% of gross loans) and dependence on wholesale funding.

INECOBANK

The upgrade of Inecobank's long-term local currency deposit rating to Ba3 from B1 was driven by the upgrade of its BCA to ba3 from b1. The upgrade of bank's BCA to ba3 from b1 reflects a combination of improved Armenian banking system's Macro Profile to "Weak+" from "Weak" and the bank's strong solvency profile.

In particular, Inecobank's BCA reflects the bank's (1) good loan book diversification and sound asset risk metrics with problem loan (stage 3) ratio decreased to 3.2% in 2018 from 5.7% at year end-2017, (2) strong loss-absorption capacity evidenced by its high TCE ratio of 15.4% at end-2018, (3) strong profitability (the net profit over tangible assets ratio stood at 2.8% at end- 2018, and (4) stable funding and ample liquidity. At the same time, Inecobank 's ratings are constrained by the bank's high exposure to FC loans (around 50% of gross loans).

ARMECONOMBANK

The upgrade of Armeconombank's long-term local currency deposit rating to B1 from B2 was driven by the upgrade of its BCA to b1 from b2. The upgrade of the bank's BCA to b1 reflects a combination of improved Armenian banking system's Macro Profile to "Weak+" from "Weak" and the bank's strengthened solvency metrics. In particular, the BCA reflects the bank's (1) track record of low problem loans,(2) improved profitability (the net profit over tangible assets ratio increased to 1.2% in H1 2019 from 0.8% at the end of 2018, (3) strengthened capital buffer and solid liquidity cushion. At the same time, the bank's BCA is constrained by its high exposure to FC loans (47% of gross loans), low efficiency resulting in modest profitability, and rapid growth of its consumer loans in 2018 (42%).

CONVERSE BANK

The upgrade of Conversebank's long-term local currency deposit rating to B1 from B2 was driven by the upgrade of its BCA to b1 from b2. The upgrade of the bank's BCA to b1 reflects a combination of improved Armenian banking system's Macro Profile to "Weak+" from "Weak" and the bank's bank's consistently sound solvency metrics. The bank's BCA remains supported by its (1) solid capital buffers with TCE ratio of above 12% and healthy profitability; (2) diversified funding and liquidity profiles; and (3) strong financial and business support from its Argentinean shareholder. At the same time, Converse Bank's BCA is constrained by its high exposure to FC loans (67% of gross loans) and currently low loan loss reserve coverage of problem loans (40% as of 1 July 2019), while downside risks to the bank's asset quality stem from the loan book seasoning after a period of rapid growth.

VTB BANK (ARMENIA)

The upgrade of VTB Bank (Armenia)'s long term FC deposit rating to B1 from B2 follows the change in the country's FC deposit ceiling to B1 from B2.

The affirmation of the bank's b3 BCA reflects its still weak standalone credit profile, in particular, its weak solvency position reflected in (1) its large stock of legacy problem loans (around 20% of gross loans at the end June 2019) while downside risks to the bank's asset quality stem from the consumer loan book seasoning after a period of rapid growth (60% in 2018), (2) its loss-making performance in 2014-2018 and Moody's expectation that the bank will remain loss making in 2019. At the same time, the bank's BCA is supported by its healthy liquidity profile and benefits from capital injections from its parent.

VTB Bank (Armenia)'s B1 local-currency deposit rating is based on its b3 Baseline Credit Assessment (BCA) and Moody's expectation of a high probability of affiliate support from its parent, Bank VTB, PJSC (Bank VTB, long-term LC deposit rating Baa3, b1 BCA).

FOREIGN CURRENCY DEPOSIT RATINGS

Moody's has upgraded FC deposit ratings of six banks to B1 with a stable outlook following the change in the country's FC deposit ceiling to B1 from B2. The FC deposit ratings of three banks continue to be constrained by the country's FC bank deposit ceiling.

OUTLOOK

The stable outlooks on the long-term ratings of these six Armenian bank ratings reflect the stable outlook on the sovereign rating and Moody's expectations for a steady performance of these banks over the next 12-18 months.

LIST OF AFFECTED RATINGS

Issuer: Ameriabank CJSC

..Upgrades:

....Long-term Counterparty Risk Ratings (Local and Foreign Currency), upgraded to Ba2 from Ba3

....Long-term Bank Deposits (Foreign Currency), upgraded to B1 from B2, outlook remains Stable

....Long-term Bank Deposits (Local Currency), upgraded to Ba3 from B1, outlook changed to Stable from Positive

....Long-term Counterparty Risk Assessment, upgraded to Ba2(cr) from Ba3(cr)

....Baseline Credit Assessment, upgraded to ba3 from b1

....Adjusted Baseline Credit Assessment, upgraded to ba3 from b1

..Affirmations:

....Short-term Counterparty Risk Ratings (Local and Foreign Currency), affirmed NP

....Short-term Bank Deposits (Local and Foreign Currency), affirmed NP

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

..Outlook Action:

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

Issuer: Ardshinbank CJSC

..Upgrades:

....Long-term Counterparty Risk Ratings (Local and Foreign Currency), upgraded to Ba2 from Ba3

....Long-term Bank Deposits (Foreign Currency), upgraded to B1 from B2, outlook remains Stable

....Long-term Bank Deposits (Local Currency), upgraded to Ba3 from B1, outlook changed to Stable from Positive

....Long-term Counterparty Risk Assessment, upgraded to Ba2(cr) from Ba3(cr)

....Baseline Credit Assessment, upgraded to ba3 from b1

....Adjusted Baseline Credit Assessment, upgraded to ba3 from b1

....Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture (Foreign Currency), upgraded to Ba3 from B1, outlook changed to Stable from Positive

..Affirmations:

....Short-term Counterparty Risk Ratings (Local and Foreign Currency), affirmed NP

....Short-term Bank Deposits (Local and Foreign Currency), affirmed NP

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

..Outlook Action:

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

Issuer: Armeconombank (Armenian Economy Devt Bank)

..Upgrades:

....Long-term Counterparty Risk Ratings (Local and Foreign Currency), upgraded to Ba3 from B1

....Long-term Bank Deposits (Local and Foreign Currency), upgraded to B1 from B2, outlook remains Stable

....Long-term Counterparty Risk Assessment, upgraded to Ba3(cr) from B1(cr)

....Baseline Credit Assessment, upgraded to b1 from b2

....Adjusted Baseline Credit Assessment, upgraded to b1 from b2

..Affirmations:

....Short-term Counterparty Risk Ratings (Local and Foreign Currency), affirmed NP

....Short-term Bank Deposits (Local and Foreign Currency), affirmed NP

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

..Outlook Action:

....Outlook remains Stable

Issuer: Converse Bank CJSC

..Upgrades:

....Long-term Counterparty Risk Ratings (Local and Foreign Currency), upgraded to Ba3 from B1

....Long-term Bank Deposits (Foreign Currency), upgraded to B1 from B2, outlook remains Stable

....Long-term Bank Deposits (Local Currency), upgraded to B1 from B2, outlook changed to Stable from Positive

....Long-term Counterparty Risk Assessment, upgraded to Ba3(cr) from B1(cr)

....Baseline Credit Assessment, upgraded to b1 from b2

....Adjusted Baseline Credit Assessment, upgraded to b1 from b2

..Affirmations:

....Short-term Counterparty Risk Ratings (Local and Foreign Currency), affirmed NP

....Short-term Bank Deposits (Local and Foreign Currency), affirmed NP

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

..Outlook Action:

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

Issuer: Inecobank CJSC

..Upgrades:

....Long-term Counterparty Risk Ratings (Local and Foreign Currency), upgraded to Ba2 from Ba3

....Long-term Bank Deposits (Foreign Currency), upgraded to B1 from B2, outlook remains Stable

....Long-term Bank Deposits (Local Currency), upgraded to Ba3 from B1, outlook remains Stable

....Long-term Counterparty Risk Assessment, upgraded to Ba2(cr) from Ba3(cr)

....Baseline Credit Assessment, upgraded to ba3 from b1

....Adjusted Baseline Credit Assessment, upgraded to ba3 from b1

..Affirmations:

....Short-term Counterparty Risk Ratings (Local and Foreign Currency), affirmed NP

....Short-term Bank Deposits (Local and Foreign Currency), affirmed NP

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

..Outlook Action:

....Outlook remains Stable

Issuer: VTB Bank (Armenia)

..Upgrades:

....Long-term Bank Deposits (Foreign Currency), upgraded to B1 from B2, outlook remains Stable

..Affirmations:

....Long-term Counterparty Risk Ratings (Local and Foreign Currency), affirmed Ba3

....Short-term Counterparty Risk Ratings (Local and Foreign Currency), affirmed NP

....Long-term Bank Deposits (Local Currency), affirmed B1, outlook remains Stable

....Short-term Bank Deposits (Local and Foreign Currency), affirmed NP

....Long-term Counterparty Risk Assessment, affirmed Ba3(cr)

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

....Baseline Credit Assessment, affirmed b3

....Adjusted Baseline Credit Assessment, affirmed b1

..Outlook Action:

....Outlook remains Stable

PRINCIPAL METHODOLOGY

The principal methodology used in these ratings was Banks published in August 2018. Please see the Rating Methodologies page on www.moodys.com for a copy of this methodology.

REGULATORY DISCLOSURES

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.

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

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.

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.

Lev Dorf
Asst Vice President - Analyst
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Limited, Russian Branch
7th floor, Four Winds Plaza
21 1st Tverskaya-Yamskaya St.
Moscow 125047
Russia
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
Client Service: 44 20 7772 5454

Nicholas Hill
MD - Banking
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.
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