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Rating Action:

Moody's takes rating actions on EXIMT, SCIB and TMB

24 Jun 2009

Singapore, June 24, 2009 -- Moody's Investors Service has taken rating actions on the deposit and debt ratings of three Thai banks. The rating actions conclude the review initiated on May 27, 2009, when Moody's placed the debt and deposit ratings of these banks on review for possible downgrade.

The banks affected are Export-Import Bank of Thailand (EXIMT), Siam City Bank (SCIB) and TMB Bank (TMB).

Moody's previously used the local currency deposit ceiling (LCDC) as the main input for its assessment of the ability of a national government to support its banks. Although anchoring the probability of support at the LCDC is appropriate in many circumstances -- regarding the provision of liquidity to a selected number of institutions over a short period of time -- this might overestimate the capacity of a central bank to support financial institutions in the event of a banking crisis becoming both truly systemic and protracted. This approach is outlined in the Special Comment entitled "Financial Crisis More Closely Aligns Bank Credit Risk and Government Ratings in Non-Aaa Countries", which was published in May 2009.

In the Special Comment, Moody's points out that the appropriate reference rating for the capacity of a national government to provide support to banks in a prolonged and widespread crisis would be aligned with or constrained by the government's own debt rating. However, Moody's also believes that this rating could be adjusted, usually positively, to reflect the non-fiscally dependent measures that many central banks and governments can deploy to support banks.

Consistent with the analytical criteria specified in that report and in light of Thailand's current situation and future prospects, Moody's has concluded that the systemic support input for Thai bank ratings be changed to A2 from Aa2, the former being two notches above Thailand's local currency government debt rating of Baa1.

This change has led to the downgrade of (i) EXIMT's foreign currency issuer rating to Baa1 from A3 with a negative outlook, and (ii) TMB's foreign currency deposit rating to Baa3/Prime-3 from Baa2/Prime-2 with a stable outlook.

Separately, in the review process, Moody's also examined banks' short- and long-term liquidity postions in relation to their corresponding ratings. As a result, SCIB's foreign currency short-term deposit rating was upgraded to P-2 from P-3 with a stable outlook, in line with its peers with similar long-term deposit ratings. This reflects the bank's heightened ability to repay short-term debt obligations.

In deciding whether the local currency-denominated deposits of a bank can be rated higher than the local currency-denominated debt issued by the national government due to systemic support, Moody's considers a number of factors for each banking system.

These include the size of the banking system in relation to government resources, the level of stress in the banking system, the foreign currency obligations of the banking systems relative to the government's own foreign exchange resources, and changes to the government's political patterns and priorities.

Moody's assesses Thailand to be a high support country. This guideline takes into consideration the history of support for banks, the size, strength and the degree of fragmentation of the Thai banking system.

Thai banking assets equal around 110% of GDP. Thailand's government debt, low relative to the country's GDP, is underpinned by the hardiness of the domestic banking and financial system, allowing the government a high degree of flexibility in extending support to the banking system through liquidity and capital assistance, as exemplified in the past. The banking system does not rely substantially on the supply of foreign currency to fund its operations.

The credit stress evident in the Thai banking system is low relative to other Asian countries, following the worldwide economic recession and domestic political unrest. Banking system NPLs have remained rather resilient to the global downturn and have shown signs of only a gradual increase to date (approximately 0.5% on average).

Thai banking system loans have experienced tepid growth in the past 10 years, and are expected to continue to grow during the course of 2009.

The rating review of the Thai banks was prompted by the severity and longevity of the global economic crisis and the country's political turmoil -- as reflected by Moody's negative credit outlook on the Thai banking system. Over the next two years, banks are likely to experience higher credit-related write-downs, lower growth and lower revenue, which in turn may pressure the banks' current capitalization levels.

With regard to political and historical patterns, necessary procedures and policy instruments to deal with banking system problems have been established and tested since the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis.

In Moody's view, in case of need, support is likely to be provided for the system's banks. The support framework for problematic banks will likely aim to maintain ordinary banking functions and to avoid the liquidation of any bank.

In conclusion, the A2 systemic support input for Thai banks is two notches above the Baa1 local currency government debt rating. The uplift is predicated on Moody's view that the risk of a system-wide banking crisis is low and that the likelihood of the government "ring-fencing" its own fiscal position from the banking system is low.

All other bank ratings in Thailand are not impacted by the reassessment of the systemic support level.

PREVIOUS RATING ACTIONS AND PRINCIPAL METHODOLOGIES

The last rating actions for Bangkok Bank (BBL), Bank of Ayudhya (BAY), EXIMT, Government Housing Bank (GHB), Kasikornbank (KBank), Krung Thai Bank (KTB), Siam Commercial Bank (SCB), Standard Chartered Bank Thailand (SCBT), SCIB, TMB and United Overseas Bank Thailand (UOBT), were on May 27, 2009, when their debt and deposit ratings were placed on review for possible downgrade.

The principal methodologies used in rating these banks are "Bank Financial Strength Ratings: Global Methodology" (February 2007) and "Incorporation of Joint-Default Analysis into Moody's Bank Ratings: A Refined Methodology" (March 2007). The principal methodology used in rating EXIMT -- a government-related issuer and a government-controlled financial company with specific policy mandates -- is "The Application of Joint-Default Analysis to Government Related Issuers". These documents can be found at www.moodys.com in the Credit Policy & Methodologies directory, in the Ratings Methodologies subdirectory.

The ratings for hybrid securities were assigned based on Moody's existing methodology entitled "Guidelines for Rating Bank Junior Securities" dated June 2007. Moody's noted that it released a Request for Comment entitled, "Moody's Proposed Changes to Bank Subordinated Capital Ratings" dated June 2009, in which the rating agency has requested market feedback on potential changes to its bank hybrid rating methodology. Should Moody's implement this revised methodology as proposed, the ratings on the hybrid securities could potentially be negatively affected.

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

Karolyn Seet, a Moody's AVP/Analyst, explained the rating actions as follows:

EXIMT: The foreign currency issuer rating was downgraded to Baa1 from A3 with a negative outlook;

TMB: The foreign currency long-term deposit rating was downgraded to Baa3 from Baa2; the foreign currency short-term deposit rating was downgraded to P-3 from P-2 with a stable outlook;

SCIB: The foreign currency short-term deposit rating was upgraded to P-2 from P-3 with a stable outlook.

The following ratings were confirmed:

(i) BBL: the foreign currency long-term deposit rating of Baa1 with a negative outlook; the foreign currency short-term deposit rating of P-2 with a stable outlook; the foreign currency subordinated debt rating of Baa1 with a stable outlook;

(ii) BAY: the foreign currency long-term deposit rating of Baa2; the foreign currency senior unsecured debt rating of Baa2; the foreign currency short-term deposit rating of P-2; all with stable outlooks;

(iii) GHB: the foreign currency long-term deposit rating of Baa1 with a negative outlook and the foreign currency short-term deposit rating of P-2 with a stable outlook;

(iv) KBank: the foreign currency long-term deposit rating of Baa1 with a negative outlook; the foreign currency short-term deposit rating of P-2 with a stable outlook; the local currency deposit ratings of A3/P-1 with stable outlooks; the foreign currency subordinated debt rating of Baa1 with a negative outlook;

(v) KTB: the foreign currency long-term deposit rating of Baa; the foreign currency short-term deposit rating of P-2; the local currency deposit ratings of A3/P-1; the foreign currency certificate of deposit program rating of Baa1 and the foreign currency preferred stock rating of Baa3; all with negative outlooks;

(vi) SCIB: the foreign currency long-term deposit rating of Baa2, the foreign currency senior unsecured debt ratings of Baa2; the foreign currency subordinated debt ratings of Baa3/P-3; all with stable outlooks;

(vii) SCB: the foreign currency long-term deposit rating of Baa1 with a negative outlook; the foreign currency short-term deposit rating of P-2 with a stable outlook; the local currency deposit ratings of A3/P-1 with stable outlooks;

(viii) SCBT: the foreign currency long-term deposit rating of Baa1 with a negative outlook; the foreign currency short-term deposit rating of P-2 with a stable outlook; the foreign currency issuer ratings of A3/P-2; the local currency issuer ratings of A3/P-1; the local currency deposit ratings of A3/P-1 with stable outlooks;

(ix) TMB: the foreign currency preferred stock rating of B1 with a stable outlook;

(x) UOBT: the foreign currency long-term deposit rating of Baa1 with a negative outlook; the foreign currency short-term deposit rating of P-2 with a stable outlook.

BBL, headquartered in Bangkok, had total assets of Bt1,677 billion as of end-2008.

BAY, headquartered in Bangkok, had total assets of Bt745 billion as of end-2008.

EXIMT, headquartered in Bangkok, had total assets of Bt60 billion as of end-2008.

GHB, headquartered in Bangkok, had total assets of Bt664 billion as of end-2008.

KBank, headquartered in Bangkok, had total assets of Bt1,303 billion as of end-2008.

KTB, headquartered in Bangkok, had total assets of Bt1,330 billion as of end-2008.

SCIB, headquartered in Bangkok, had total assets of Bt420 billion as of end-2008.

SCB, headquartered in Bangkok, had total assets of Bt1,241 billion as of end-2008.

SCBT, headquartered in Bangkok, had total assets of Bt290 billion as of end-2008.

TMB, headquartered in Bangkok, had total assets of Bt602 billion as of end-2008.

UOBT, headquartered in Bangkok, had total assets of Bt217 billion as of end-2008.

Singapore
Karolyn C. Seet
Asst Vice President - Analyst
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Singapore Pte Ltd.
JOURNALISTS: (852) 2916-1150
SUBSCRIBERS: (65) 6398-8308

Singapore
Beatrice Woo
VP - Senior Credit Officer
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Singapore Pte Ltd.
JOURNALISTS: (852) 2916-1150
SUBSCRIBERS: (65) 6398-8308

Moody's takes rating actions on EXIMT, SCIB and TMB
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