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Rating Action:

Moody's takes rating actions on Turkish banks, following sovereign upgrade

03 Jul 2012

Actions also conclude review initiated on 16 March 2012

Frankfurt am Main, July 03, 2012 -- Moody's Investors Service has today taken a range of rating actions on 16 Turkish financial groups and their subsidiaries. The rating actions primarily reflect three drivers:

(i) The Turkish sovereign's creditworthiness has improved, reflected in Moody's upgrade on 20 June of Turkey's government bond rating to Ba1, with a positive outlook, from Ba2. Moody's says that the Turkish sovereign upgrade has had credit-positive effects on ratings of various banks (see "Moody's upgrades Turkey's government bond ratings to Ba1, positive outlook", http://www.moodys.com/research/Moodys-upgrades-Turkeys-government-bond-ratings-to-Ba1-positive-outlook--PR_248584).

(ii) Moody's has today concluded the review -- initiated on 16 March 2012 -- of Turkish banks' standalone credit assessments that were previously above the sovereign rating level. The conclusion of the review reflects Moody's revised assessment of the linkage between the credit profiles of sovereigns and financial institutions globally. Taking into account the high correlation between sovereign and bank creditworthiness, and consistent with Moody's global approach, Moody's has lowered its standalone credit assessments on 11 banks at the level of the sovereign rating (see "Moody's reviews Turkish banks' local currency issuer and deposit ratings for downgrade", 16 March 2012, http://www.moodys.com/research/Moodys-reviews-Turkish-banks-local-currency-issuer-and-deposit-ratings--PR_240499, and "Banks and sovereigns: risk correlations constrain standalone bank credit assessments", 30 April 2012, http://www.moodys.com/researchdocumentcontentpage.aspx?docid=PBC_141585)

(iii) For three foreign-owned Turkish banks, their parent banks' weakened creditworthiness has negatively affected either their standalone credit assessment or Moody's assumptions of parental support.

These partly counter-acting drivers resulted in a number of Turkish bank rating upgrades, downgrades, affirmations and confirmations. The rating actions are summarised below, and the ratings rationales are discussed after that.

The numbers of affected banks shown in the summary of actions below focus on Turkish banking groups. The actions on the rated subsidiaries of these groups are discussed later in the press release. Please click on the following link to access the full list of affected credit ratings. This list is an integral part of this press release and identifies each affected issuer: (http://www.moodys.com/viewresearchdoc.aspx?docid=PBC_143429)

SUMMARY OF ACTIONS

--- FOREIGN-CURRENCY DEPOSIT RATINGS MOSTLY UPGRADED

Of the 15 Turkish banks or banking groups with long-term foreign currency deposit ratings, 14 were upgraded by one notch to Ba2, and one is unchanged. In particular, the ratings were upgraded by one notch to Ba2 for all seven-largest Turkish banks, namely Akbank TAS (Akbank), T.C. Ziraat Bankasi (Ziraatbank), Turkiye Garanti Bankasi AS (Garantibank), Turkiye Halk Bankasi AS (Halkbank), Turkiye Is Bankasi AS (Isbank), Turkiye Vakiflar Bankasi TAO (Vakiflar), and Yapi Ve Kredi Bankasi (Yapi Kredi). The upgrades were triggered by Moody's decision to increase its ceiling for foreign currency deposit ratings of private Turkish issuers, which defines the highest foreign currency deposit rating any Turkish bank can achieve. This ceiling increased to Ba2, following the sovereign upgrade (see 20 June press release "Moody's upgrades Turkey's government bond ratings to Ba1, positive outlook"). The ratings of the seven largest Turkish banks are now at the revised Ba2 foreign currency deposit ceiling.

--- FOREIGN-CURRENCY DEBT AND/OR ISSUER RATINGS MOSTLY UPGRADED

Of the seven banking groups with foreign currency debt and/or issuer ratings (as applicable), five banks (Akbank, Garantibank, Isbank, Vakiflar and Yapi Kredi) saw these ratings upgraded by two notches to Baa2; and at two banks they remain unchanged. These upgrades were triggered by Moody's decision to raise its ceiling for foreign currency debt and issuer ratings, which defines the highest such rating any Turkish private issuer (including banks) can achieve. Following the sovereign upgrade, this ceiling was raised to Baa2, and the ratings of Akbank, Garantibank, Isbank, Vakiflar and Yapi Kredi are now at the revised Baa2 foreign currency debt and issuer rating ceiling.

--- LOCAL-CURRENCY DEPOSIT RATINGS MOSTLY DOWNGRADED OR UNCHANGED

Of the 15 Turkish banking groups with local currency deposit ratings, the ratings of four were upgraded, six remained unchanged and the ratings of another five banks were downgraded. For all of the seven largest Turkish banks, the local currency deposit rating is Baa2. Of the seven largest Turkish banks, Ziraatbank, Halkbank and Vakiflar saw their local currency deposit ratings upgraded by one notch, at Isbank and Yapi Kredi, these ratings are unchanged. The local currency deposit ratings of Akbank and Garantibank were downgraded by one notch. The combination of lower standalone credit assessments (see below) and higher sovereign creditworthiness had counter-acting effects on these ratings.

--- STANDALONE CREDIT ASSESSMENTS MOSTLY LOWER

Of the 16 Turkish banking groups with standalone credit assessments, five experienced no change, and 11 experienced a decrease. Moody's lowered the standalone credit assessments for all seven largest banks to ba1 (on a scale from aaa, highest, to c, lowest), in line with the sovereign rating, reflecting our view of the linkages between sovereign and bank creditworthiness.

--- OTHER RATINGS

Other affected ratings include short-term foreign and local currency ratings, as well as national-scale ratings (NSRs). Today's actions on these ratings follow closely the actions on foreign and local currency long-term ratings and standalone credit assessments, as discussed below.

RATINGS RATIONALE

RATIONALE --- STANDALONE CREDIT ASSESSMENTS

The lower standalone credit assessments of 11 Turkish banking groups reflect Moody's assessment of high correlation between sovereign and bank creditworthiness. Moody's believes that the creditworthiness of financial institutions with low cross-border operational diversification and/or high balance-sheet exposure to the debt of their domestic sovereign is closely linked to the domestic sovereign's credit strength. Banks in systems with these characteristics, which apply to Turkey, are unlikely to have standalone credit assessments above the sovereign, which is often viewed as the lowest credit risk in the local market or currency.

Turkish banks have strong capital bases against potential losses from their loan portfolios and a moderate reliance on wholesale market funds. Both factors limit the banks' vulnerability to sovereign risk. However, Moody's says that the banks' revenue generation is primarily within Turkey and their balance sheets have a high direct exposure to the sovereign (primarily through securities holdings). These two factors elevate the banks' susceptibility to event risk at the sovereign level. Moody's has therefore adjusted these standalone credit assessments at the same level of the sovereign's rating.

The recent upgrade of Turkey's government debt rating limited the scope and magnitude of the number of banks that were downgraded. Moody's says that since the sovereign upgrade, banks with standalone credit assessments of ba1 or lower are no longer constrained by the sovereign rating. These ratings were therefore confirmed at their current level.

The outlooks of Moody's standalone credit assessments are stable at nine of the 16 Turkish banking groups that have standalone credit assessments. The outlooks are negative for three banks, positive for one bank and the standalone credit assessments remain on review for downgrade at three banks. In each case, the negative outlooks and ongoing reviews reflect institution-specific drivers.

RATIONALE --- DEBT AND DEPOSIT RATINGS

In addition to a bank's standalone creditworthiness, Moody's deposit ratings also incorporate assumptions about potential external support from a parent institution, and/or a regional or national government. These assumptions reflect both the capacity and the willingness of such a third party to support a bank in the event of stress.

In most cases, the deposit and debt ratings of the banks benefit from several notches of uplift due to government and/or parental support assumptions. These ratings have been positioned up to three notches above the Turkish banks standalone credit assessment, depending on (i) Moody's assessment of the willingness and capacity of parents to provide support in the event of need; and (ii) each bank's systemic importance to the Turkish financial system as a deposit-taker and lender.

RATIONALE --- LOCAL CURRENCY DEPOSIT AND ISSUER RATINGS

For many banks, the negative impact of lower standalone credit assessments were outweighed by the positive impact of improved sovereign creditworthiness which led to an increase in the support-driven ratings uplift for banks which Moody's views as systemically important in Turkey. For some banks, increased support-driven ratings uplift led to upgrades for their local currency issuer or deposit ratings. For others, Moody's says that this increase was offset by the lowering of their standalone credit assessments and/or the impact of the weakened credit profiles of their European parents. These banks had their local and foreign currency long-term ratings either confirmed or downgraded. At three banks, these ratings remain on review for further downgrade (or with direction uncertain) to capture factors specific to these banks.

SUPPORT ASSUMPTIONS LIFT MANY BANK RATINGS ABOVE THEIR STANDALONE CREDIT ASSESSMENTS

For 10 out of the 15 Turkish banking groups with local currency deposit and issuer ratings, these ratings are now at Baa3 or Baa2, and thus above the Ba1 government bond rating. The differential reflects Moody's opinion that the Turkish government has a high propensity to provide support to its domestic banking system, even if doing so could weaken the government's own credit profile in the unlikely event of a systemic crisis. Moody's assessment of support takes into account

(i) The Turkish government's ability and strong willingness to support the banking system, as demonstrated during past financial crises;

(ii) The government's broad array of financial and non-financial tools available to offer support, including liquidity support and regulatory forbearance; and

(iii) The banking system's intrinsic strength, demonstrated during the ongoing crisis and past global downturns, as well as the banking system's limited size relative to the Turkish economy which limits the potential support need in a crisis scenario.

Given the above-mentioned considerations, support assumptions can result in a Turkish bank's local currency deposit, debt and issuer ratings being up to two notches higher than the sovereign rating. The up-to-two notches differential is higher than for many other countries. This reflects Moody's view that the Turkish government has a comparatively stronger ability and willingness to support domestic banks than, for example, countries whose banking systems are large relative to their economies, because this increases the potential cost of support.

Moody's recognises that government (or systemic) support is a function of evolving social, political, economic and financial developments in a country. Moody's believes that the Turkish banking system and its financial obligations will continue to grow strongly relative to the country's economy and the government's own financial sources in coming years.

Therefore, Moody's would expect that over time, the maximum rating level a Turkish bank can achieve as a result of government support assumptions will converge towards the sovereign rating. In this case, further improvements in the creditworthiness and the rating of the Turkish sovereign would have only a muted or no impact on the support-driven uplift factored into bank ratings. Accordingly, Moody's has assigned stable outlooks to most debt, deposit and issuer ratings of Turkish banks, even though the outlook on the sovereign rating is positive.

RATIONALE --- FOREIGN-CURRENCY DEPOSITS, ISSUER AND DEBT RATINGS

As stated above, the recent upgrade of Turkey's country ceilings for foreign currency bank deposits (to Ba2 from Ba3) and for foreign currency issuer and debt ratings (to Baa2 from Ba1), has led to upgrades of the foreign currency deposit and debt ratings of the banks, where applicable. The outlooks on the foreign currency debt ratings are the same as the outlooks on the local currency deposit ratings.

RATIONALE -- SHORT-TERM RATINGS

Short-term ratings are closely linked to the respective long-term ratings. Accordingly, short-term rating changes follow changes to the respective long-term ratings (see "Short-term prime ratings", 22 June 2010, http://www.moodys.com/researchdocumentcontentpage.aspx?docid=PBC_125609).

RATIONALE --- NATIONAL SCALE RATINGS

The rating actions on the local currency deposit ratings of the affected banks caused similar rating actions on the NSRs of these banks. The NSRs map directly from the banks' local currency deposit ratings and are intended as relative measures of creditworthiness among debt issues and issuers within a country, enabling market participants to better differentiate relative risks.

RATIONALE -- OTHER AFFECTED RATINGS

- Turkiye Sinai Kalkinma Bankasi AS's issuer rating has been downgraded due to Moody's reassessment of the level of parental support that is incorporated in the bank's rating.

- Garantibank International NV (GBI): The lowering of Garanti Bank's standalone credit assessment (GBI's parent) below that of its Dutch-based subsidiary resulted in the downgrade of GBI's deposit ratings; they are now solely based on the bank's baa2 standalone credit assessment.

WHAT COULD MOVE THE RATINGS UP/DOWN

As the key drivers of today's actions are largely structural in nature, upwards rating pressure is unlikely in the near term, as reflected by stable or negative outlooks on most of the ratings. Beyond the immediate future, a combination of an improvement in the credit risk profile of some of the individual banks and/or the national government could positively influence Turkish banks' ratings.

Conversely, deterioration in the banks' operating environment -- and/or a weakening of their standalone financial fundamentals or those of their parents -- could exert downwards pressure on the ratings.

PRINCIPAL METHODOLOGIES

The methodologies used in these ratings were Moody's Consolidated Global Bank Rating Methodology published in July 2012 and Government-Related Issuers: Methodology Update published in July 2010. Please see the Credit Policy page on www.moodys.com for a copy of these methodologies.

Moody's National Scale Ratings (NSRs) are intended as relative measures of creditworthiness among debt issues and issuers within a country, enabling market participants to better differentiate relative risks. NSRs differ from Moody's global scale ratings in that they are not globally comparable with the full universe of Moody's rated entities, but only with NSRs for other rated debt issues and issuers within the same country. NSRs are designated by a ".nn" country modifier signifying the relevant country, as in ".tr" for Turkey. For further information on Moody's approach to national scale ratings, please refer to Moody's Rating Implementation Guidance published in March 2011 entitled "Mapping Moody's National Scale Ratings to Global Scale Ratings".

REGULATORY DISCLOSURES

For ratings issued on a program, series or category/class of debt, this announcement provides relevant 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 relevant 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 relevant 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.

The deposit ratings of Turk Ekonomi Bankasi were initiated by Moody's and were not requested by the rated entity.

Turk Ekonomi Bankasi rated entity or its agent(s) participated in the rating process. The rated entity or its agent(s) provided Moody's access to the books, records and other relevant internal documents of the rated entity.

The ratings have been disclosed to the rated entities or their designated agent(s) and issued with no amendment resulting from that disclosure.

Information sources used to prepare each of the ratings are the following: parties involved in the ratings, and public information.

Moody's considers the quality of information available on the rated entities, obligations or credits satisfactory for the purposes of issuing these ratings.

Moody's adopts all necessary measures so that the information it uses in assigning the ratings is of sufficient quality and from sources Moody's considers to be reliable including, when appropriate, independent third-party sources. However, Moody's is not an auditor and cannot in every instance independently verify or validate information received in the rating process.

Moody's Investors Service may have provided Ancillary or Other Permissible Service(s) to the rated entities or their related third parties within the two years preceding the credit rating action. Please see the special report "Ancillary or other permissible services provided to entities rated by MIS's EU credit rating agencies" on the ratings disclosure page on our website www.moodys.com for further information.

Please see the ratings disclosure page on www.moodys.com for general disclosure on potential conflicts of interests.

Please see the ratings disclosure page on www.moodys.com for information on (A) MCO's major shareholders (above 5%) and for (B) further information regarding certain affiliations that may exist between directors of MCO and rated entities as well as (C) the names of entities that hold ratings from MIS that have also publicly reported to the SEC an ownership interest in MCO of more than 5%. A member of the board of directors of this rated entity may also be a member of the board of directors of a shareholder of Moody's Corporation; however, Moody's has not independently verified this matter.

Please see Moody's Rating Symbols and Definitions on the Rating Process page on www.moodys.com for further information on the meaning of each rating category and the definition of default and recovery.

Please see ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on www.moodys.com for the last rating action and the rating history.

The date on which some ratings were first released goes back to a time before Moody's ratings were fully digitized and accurate data may not be available. Consequently, Moody's provides a date that it believes is the most reliable and accurate based on the information that is available to it. Please see the ratings disclosure page on our website www.moodys.com for further information.

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.

Arif Bekiroglu
Asst Vice President - Analyst
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Deutschland GmbH
An der Welle 5
Frankfurt am Main 60322
Germany
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Carola?Schuler
MD - Banking
Financial Institutions Group
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Releasing Office:
Moody's Deutschland GmbH
An der Welle 5
Frankfurt am Main 60322
Germany
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Moody's takes rating actions on Turkish banks, following sovereign upgrade
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