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Rating Action:

Moody's upgrades The Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc's senior unsecured debt ratings to Baa2 and changes the outlook to positive

16 Jul 2018

Outlook revised to positive from stable on NatWest Markets Plc, National Westminster Bank Plc, The Royal Bank of Scotland plc and Ulster Bank Limited

London, 16 July 2018 -- Moody's Investors Service today upgraded the long-term senior unsecured debt ratings of The Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc (RBSG, the holding company) to Baa2 from Baa3 and the short-term Commercial Paper ratings to P-2 from P-3, reflecting the stronger standalone credit profile of the group and the rating agency's expectation that profitability will continue to improve due to the progress made in its restructuring plan. The rating agency changed the outlook to positive from stable on RBSG's senior unsecured debt.

Moody's also affirmed all ratings of NatWest Markets Plc (NatWest Markets; previously The Royal Bank of Scotland plc), NatWest Markets N.V. (NatWest Markets NV; previously Royal Bank of Scotland N.V.), National Westminster Bank PLC (NatWest Bank), The Royal Bank of Scotland plc (RBS; previously Adam and Company PLC) and Ulster Bank Limited (UBL). At the same time the rating agency changed the outlook to positive from stable on the senior debt and deposit ratings of NatWest Markets and, NatWest Markets NV and changed the outlook to positive from stable on the deposit rating of NatWest Bank, RBS and UBL.

The upgrade to RBSG's ratings reflects the stronger standalone credit profile of the group, as well as Moody's expectation that the group's profitability will increase in the medium-term as it has settled major legal disputes and continues its multi-year restructuring, leading to a group notional baseline credit assessment (BCA) of baa2. Moody's assessment of the volume of loss absorbing debt under its Advanced Loss Given Failure analysis and of the probability of government support have not changed.

"Including the impact of the settlement with the US Department of Justice and the pension charge, RBSG's capital position will be well above regulatory requirements, and will remain well-above management's medium-term target of 13%," said Alessandro Roccati, Senior Vice President at Moody's. "Credit risk has decreased materially over the past five years, driven by reductions in non- core assets and non-performing loans." added Mr Roccati.

The changed ratings and positive outlook on RBSG incorporate the rating agency's view that during the next eighteen months the group will largely complete its complex multi-year restructuring exercise and will generate more stable and sustainable earnings.

The affirmation of the ratings of NatWest Markets, NatWest Markets NV, NatWest Bank, UBL and RBS and the revised outlooks to positive reflect: (1) the more limited impact on operating company financials of the US settlement, because of the holding company's support; (2) the progress in their restructuring; and (3) their improved asset risk profiles.

RATINGS RATIONALE

RBSG

The upgrade of RBSG's ratings reflects the substantial progress the firm has made in its restructuring plan including the de-risking of its balance sheet, the resolution of litigation matters including settlements with the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Housing Financing Agency (FHFA), the top-up of the pension plan and its improved capital and leverage position.

Moody's believes that completion of the plan will make RBSG a more efficient UK-focused group: non-recurring charges will further decrease over the next eighteen months, making the strong core profitability of the bank's retail and commercial operations more tangible.

The baa2 BCA of RBSG reflects: (1) its strong capital position, which is higher than that of its peers and above its own target; (2) sustainable earnings from core retail and corporate businesses, which mitigate downward credit pressures from the weakening UK operating environment and provide substantial shock absorbers relative to the remaining capital markets business; and (3) substantially reduced non-core assets and reduced exposure to more volatile and complex capital markets activities, as well as its improved risk framework and governance.

NatWest Markets, NatWest Markets NV, NatWest Bank, UBL and RBS

Moody's view that the settlement of major legal disputes, including with the US DOJ, increases the chances the restructuring of NatWest Markets, NatWest Markets NV, NatWest Bank, UBL and RBS will be completed successfully. This is because available resources are less constrained by unknown legal liabilities and management can more closely focus on the completion of the restructuring.

The BCA of ba2 for NatWest Markets - the group's non-ring fenced bank - reflects: (1) its exposure to volatility and tail risk from its large capital markets activities; (2) inherently less diversified and hence less stable earnings profile; (3) weak profitability due to continued high restructuring costs and losses on legacy assets; and (4) high use of wholesale funding, albeit mitigated by sound liquidity. NatWest Markets NV's ratings are aligned with those of NatWest Markets.

The BCAs of baa1 for NatWest Bank, UBL and RBS - the group's ring fenced banks -- reflect: (1) moderate asset risk, with legacy exposures mitigated by these banks' predominantly retail and small business lending activities; (2) robust capitalisation and modest leverage; (3) good and stable profits from the retail and business banking activities, underpinned by the banks' strong franchises; and (4) strong funding profile and ample liquidity of the ring-fenced sub-group.

WHAT COULD MOVE THE RATINGS UP/DOWN

RBSG

A further upgrade of RBSG's ratings could occur if the bank were to return to sustainable profitability in line with that of its higher-rated peers, continue to generate capital organically and substantially complete its multi-year restructuring exercise.

RBSG's ratings could be downgraded if the group's restructuring and de-risking strategy fails to deliver improvements in its credit fundamentals, weakening its capital, profitability and operational efficiency levels and raising its asset risk. A significant deterioration in the operating environment beyond our base case expectations, potentially resulting from Brexit, may also result in a downgrade of the BCA. The ratings could also be downgraded as a result of a sizeable reduction in the outstanding liabilities that could be bailed in, resulting in a higher loss-given-failure for senior creditors.

NatWest Markets, NatWest Markets NV

NatWest Markets' and NatWest Markets NV's ba2 BCA could be upgraded if NatWest Markets were to substantially complete its restructuring, its asset risk profile were to improve due to run-off or disposal of its legacy assets, its profitability and efficiency improved on a sustainable basis, and/or its capitalisation were to increase significantly. An upgrade of the BCA would likely lead to an upgrade of all ratings. An upgrade could also result from an upgrade of the notional BCA of RBSG, which would likely provide support to these entities in case of need. An upgrade of NatWest Markets' and NatWest Markets NV's long-term senior unsecured debt and deposit rating could also result from a higher-than-expected stock of more junior bail-in-able liabilities that would provide greater protection for senior liabilities.

NatWest Markets' and NatWest Markets NV's BCAs of ba2 could be downgraded in the event of: (1) a substantial increase in riskier trading activities; (2) a decline in capitalisation; (3) large losses from its book of legacy assets; (4) a material weakening of the liquidity profile; or (5) large unexpected additional restructuring costs. A downgrade of the BCA would likely lead to a downgrade of all ratings. A downgrade could also result from a downgrade of the BCA of RBSG, indicating lower likelihood of support. The ratings could also be downgraded due to a reduction in the stock of bail- in-able liabilities that would reduce the degree of protection for senior ratings.

NatWest Bank, UBL and RBS

NatWest Bank's, UBL's and RBS's baa1 BCAs could be upgraded if the banks were to substantially complete their restructuring, their asset risk profiles were to improve materially, and/or if profitability were to improve significantly. An upgrade of NatWest Bank's long-term senior unsecured debt and deposit ratings and UBL's and RBS's long-term deposit ratings could also result from a higher-than-expected stock of more junior bail-in-able liabilities at the ring-fenced sub-group that would provide greater protection for the bank's junior depositors.

NatWest Bank's, UBL's and RBS's baa1 BCAs could be downgraded in the event of: (1) a deterioration in operating conditions in the UK, beyond Moody's current expectations, leading to higher asset risk and lower profitability; (2) a decline in capitalisation; (3) large losses from their books from legacy assets; (4) a material weakening of the sub-group's liquidity profile; or (5) a weakening of the intra- group capital and liquidity support mechanisms. The ratings could also be downgraded due to a reduction in the stock of bail-in-able liabilities that would reduce the degree of protection for senior creditors.

LIST OF AFFECTED RATINGS

Issuer: The Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc

..Upgrades:

....Adjusted Baseline Credit Assessment, upgraded to baa2 from baa3

....Baseline Credit Assessment, upgraded to baa2 from baa3

....Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture, upgraded to Baa2 Positive from Baa3 Stable

....Senior Unsecured Medium-Term Note Program, upgraded to (P)Baa2 from (P)Baa3

....Senior Unsecured Shelf, upgraded to (P)Baa2 from (P)Baa3

....Subordinate Regular Bond/Debenture, upgraded to Baa3 from Ba1

....Subordinate Medium-Term Note Program, upgraded to (P)Baa3 from (P)Ba1

....Subordinate Shelf, upgraded to (P)Ba1 from (P)Ba2

....Subordinate Shelf, upgraded to (P)Baa3 from (P)Ba1

....Junior Subordinated Regular Bond/Debenture, upgraded to Ba1(hyb) from Ba2(hyb)

....Junior Subordinated Medium-Term Note Program, upgraded to (P)Ba1 from (P)Ba2

....Junior Subordinate Shelf, upgraded to (P)Ba1 from (P)Ba2

....Preferred Stock Non-cumulative, upgraded to Ba2(hyb) from Ba3(hyb)

....Preferred Shelf Non-cumulative, upgraded to (P)Ba2 from (P)Ba3

....Preference Shelf, upgraded to (P)Ba2 from (P)Ba3

....Preference Shelf, upgraded to (P)Ba1 from (P)Ba2

....Commercial Paper, upgraded to P-2 from P-3

....Other Short Term, upgraded to (P)P-2 from (P)P-3

..Outlook Action:

....Outlook changed to Positive from Stable

Issuer: NatWest Markets Plc

..Affirmations:

....Adjusted Baseline Credit Assessment, affirmed ba1

....Baseline Credit Assessment, affirmed ba2

....Long-term Counterparty Risk Assessment, affirmed A3(cr)

....Short-term Counterparty Risk Assessment, affirmed P-2(cr)

....Long-term Counterparty Risk Ratings, affirmed A3

....Short-term Counterparty Risk Ratings, affirmed P-2

....Long-term Bank Deposits, affirmed Baa2, outlook changed to Positive from Stable

....Short-term Bank Deposits, affirmed P-2

....Short-term Deposit Note/CD Program, affirmed P-2

....Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture, affirmed Baa2, outlook changed to Positive from Stable

....Backed Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture, affirmed Baa2, outlook changed to Positive from Stable

....Senior Unsecured Medium-Term Note Program, affirmed (P)Baa2

....Backed Senior Unsecured Medium-Term Note Program, affirmed (P)Baa2

....Subordinate Regular Bond/Debenture, affirmed Ba3

....Subordinate Regular Bond/Debenture, affirmed Ba2

....Subordinate Medium-Term Note Program, affirmed (P)Ba2

....Backed Subordinate Medium-Term Note Program, affirmed (P)Ba2

....Junior Subordinated Regular Bond/Debenture, affirmed Ba3(hyb)

....Backed Junior Subordinated Regular Bond/Debenture, affirmed Ba3(hyb)

....Junior Subordinate Medium-Term Note Program, affirmed (P)Ba3

....Backed Junior Subordinate Medium-Term Note Program, affirmed (P)Ba3

....Commercial Paper, affirmed P-2

....Backed Commercial Paper, affirmed P-2

....Other Short Term, affirmed (P)P-2

....Backed Other Short Term, affirmed (P)P-2

..Outlook Action:

....Outlook changed to Positive from Stable

Issuer: National Westminster Bank PLC

..Affirmations:

....Adjusted Baseline Credit Assessment, affirmed baa1

....Baseline Credit Assessment, affirmed baa1

....Long-term Counterparty Risk Assessment, affirmed Aa3(cr)

....Short-term Counterparty Risk Assessment, affirmed P-1(cr)

....Long-term Counterparty Risk Ratings, affirmed Aa3

....Short-term Counterparty Risk Ratings, affirmed P-1

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

....Short-term Bank Deposits, affirmed P-1

....Long-term Issuer Rating, affirmed A2, outlook changed to Positive from Stable

....Senior Unsecured Shelf, affirmed (P)A2

....Subordinate Shelf, affirmed (P)Baa2

....Junior Subordinated Regular Bond/Debenture, affirmed Baa3(hyb)

....Subordinate Regular Bond/Debenture, affirmed Baa2

....Preferred Stock Non-cumulative, affirmed Ba1(hyb)

....Preference Shelf, affirmed (P)Baa3

....Commercial Paper, affirmed P-1

..Outlook Action:

....Outlook changed to Positive from Stable

Issuer: The Royal Bank of Scotland plc

..Affirmations:

....Adjusted Baseline Credit Assessment, affirmed baa1

....Baseline Credit Assessment, affirmed baa1

....Long-term Counterparty Risk Assessment, affirmed Aa3(cr)

....Short-term Counterparty Risk Assessment, affirmed P-1(cr)

....Long-term Counterparty Risk Ratings, affirmed Aa3

....Short-term Counterparty Risk Ratings, affirmed P-1

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

....Short-term Bank Deposits, affirmed P-1

....Long-term Issuer Ratings, affirmed A2, outlook changed to Positive from Stable

..Outlook Action:

....Outlook changed to Positive from Stable

Issuer: RBS Capital Trust II

..Upgrade:

....Backed Preferred Stock Non-cumulative, upgraded to Ba2(hyb) from Ba3(hyb)

..No Outlook assigned

Issuer: NatWest Markets N.V.

..Affirmations:

....Adjusted Baseline Credit Assessment, affirmed ba1

....Baseline Credit Assessment, affirmed ba2

....Long-term Counterparty Risk Assessment, affirmed A3(cr)

....Short-term Counterparty Risk Assessment, affirmed P-2(cr)

....Long-term Counterparty Risk Ratings, affirmed A3

....Short-term Counterparty Risk Ratings, affirmed P-2

....Long-term Bank Deposits, affirmed Baa2, outlook changed to Positive from Stable

....Short-term Bank Deposits, affirmed P-2

....Short-term Deposit Note/CD Program, affirmed P-2

....Long-term Issuer Rating, affirmed Baa2, outlook changed to Positive from Stable

....Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture, affirmed Baa2, outlook changed to Positive from Stable

....Backed Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture, affirmed Baa2, outlook changed to Positive from Stable

....Senior Unsecured Medium-Term Note Program, affirmed (P)Baa2

....Backed Senior Unsecured Medium-Term Note Program, affirmed (P)Baa2

....Subordinate Regular Bond/Debenture, affirmed Ba2

....Subordinate Medium-Term Note Program, affirmed (P)Ba2

....Junior Subordinate Medium-Term Note Program, affirmed (P)Ba3

....Other Short Term, affirmed (P)P-2

....Commercial Paper, affirmed P-2

..Outlook Action:

....Outlook changed to Positive from Stable

Issuer: NatWest Markets N.V., London Branch

..Affirmations:

....Long-term Counterparty Risk Assessment, affirmed A3(cr)

....Short-term Counterparty Risk Assessment, affirmed P-2(cr)

....Long-term Counterparty Risk Ratings, affirmed A3

....Short-term Counterparty Risk Ratings, affirmed P-2

..No Outlook assigned

Issuer: Ulster Bank Limited

..Affirmations:

....Adjusted Baseline Credit Assessment , Affirmed baa1

....Baseline Credit Assessment , Affirmed baa1

....Long-term Counterparty Risk Assessment, affirmed Aa3(cr)

....Short-term Counterparty Risk Assessment, affirmed P-1(cr)

....Long-term Counterparty Risk Ratings, affirmed Aa3

....Short-term Counterparty Risk Ratings, affirmed P-1

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

....Short-term Bank Deposits, affirmed P-1

....Long-term Issuer Rating, affirmed A2, outlook changed to Positive from Stable

..Outlook Action:

....Outlook changed to Positive from Stable

PRINCIPAL METHODOLOGY

The principal methodology used in these ratings was Banks published in July 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 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.

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.

Alessandro Roccati
Senior Vice President
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

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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