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Rating Action:

Moody's upgrades Vostochny Express Bank (Russia) to B2/Baa1.ru from B3/Baa2.ru

30 Aug 2010

Moscow, August 30, 2010 -- Moody's Investors Service has today upgraded the long-term foreign and local currency deposit ratings of Vostochny Express Bank (VE) to B2 from B3. Consequently, Moody's Interfax has upgraded the bank's National Scale Rating to Baa1.ru from Baa2.ru. At the same time, Moody's has affirmed the following global scale ratings at the current levels: Not-Prime (NP) short-term foreign and local currency deposit ratings, and E+ bank financial strength rating (BFSR -- mapping to a Baseline Credit Assessment (BCA) of B2). The outlook for all long-term ratings is stable. Moscow-based Moody's Interfax is majority owned by Moody's, a leading global rating agency.

RATINGS RATIONALE

According to Moody's, the rating action reflects material improvements to VE's franchise since February 2007 when the ratings were assigned, as well as VE's track record of satisfactory financial performance. The rating action also reflects the bank's proven resilience to a global crisis without experiencing any reduction in business activity, or impairing its franchise.

Moody's notes that since year-end 2007 VE has substantially grown its balance sheet, ranking among the top 50 banks in Russia in terms of total assets as at 30 June 2010. As a result of VE's regional expansion through organic and M&A growth in 2009, its loan portfolio increased by 66% to RUB 37.6 billion (US$1.2 billion), according to audited IFRS financial statements, and the rating agency expects the bank to further improve its regional presence and further increase distribution capacities.

Moody's observes that despite VE's focus on the high-risk segments of consumer lending, the share of non-performing loans (NPLs -- defined as loans overdue for at least 90 days) remains adequate for consumer lending business, and reported NPLs at 7.6% of gross loans at YE2009 under IFRS.

VE's capitalisation is adequate-, with a Tier 1 ratio of 17.7 % at 31 December 2009, and largely sufficient to absorb expected credit losses under our base-case scenario. VE's liquidity position has been supported by growing retail deposits -- VE's deposit base doubled in 2009, compared to a system-average growth of 20%. Moody's also says that VE demonstrated reasonable financial performance in 2009 as the bank was able to generate a stable flow of interest and commission income sufficient to cover an increased level of provisioning which, in Moody's opinion, should stabilise in 2010, reflecting Moody's expectations that the level of problem loans is not expected to materially grow until the end of the year. With the stabilising operating environment in Russia, Moody's believes VE's asset quality to gradually improve. Most of the current problem loans are currently covered by loan-loss provisions which accounted for 90% of problem loans at year-end 2009, according to IFRS.

At the same time, Moody's notes that VE has a high appetite for credit risk, reflected by the bank's aggressive growth strategy in recent years in its home region and outside of its boundaries, and by its emphasis on the riskiest segment of the retail loan market -- unsecured consumer lending. Moody's also notes that its new pursuit of M&A growth could be a source of additional credit and operational risk.

Moody's previous rating action on VE was on 23 September 2008, when the rating agency changed the outlook on the long-term deposit ratings to stable from positive.

The principal methodologies used in rating VE were Bank Financial Strength Ratings: Global Methodology published in February 2007, and Incorporation of Joint-Default Analysis into Moody's Bank Ratings: A Refined Methodology published in March 2007, which can be found at www.moodys.com in the Rating Methodologies sub-directory under the Research & Ratings tab. Other methodologies and factors that may have been considered in the process of rating this issuer can also be found in the Rating Methodologies sub-directory on Moody's website.

Headquartered in Khabarovsk, Russia, VE reported -- at 31 December 2009 -- total consolidated assets of RUB52.4 billion (US$1.7 billion) and total shareholders' equity of RUB7.6 billion (US$252 million) Under IFRS. VE's net income for 2009 was RUB80 million (US$2.6 million).

REGULATORY DISCLOSURES

Information sources used to prepare the credit rating are the following: parties involved in the ratings, parties not involved in the ratings, public information.

Moody's Investors Service considers the quality of information available on the issuer or obligation satisfactory for the purposes of maintaining a credit rating.

Moody's Investors Service may have provided Ancillary or Other Permissible Service(s) to the rated entity or its related third parties within the three years preceding the Credit Rating Action. Please see the ratings disclosure page www.moodys.com/disclosures on our website for further information.

Moody's Investors Service adopts all necessary measures so that the information it uses in assigning a credit rating is of sufficient quality and from reliable sources; however, Moody's Investors Service does not and cannot in every instance independently verify, audit or validate information received in the rating process.

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

The date on which some Credit Ratings were first released goes back to a time before Moody's Investors Service's Credit Ratings were fully digitized and accurate data may not be available. Consequently, Moody's Investors Service 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.

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Moscow
Lev Dorf
Analyst
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Eastern Europe LLC
Telephone: +7 495 228 6060
Facsimile: +7 495 228 6091

Moscow
Yaroslav Sovgyra
VP - Senior Credit Officer
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Eastern Europe LLC
Telephone: +7 495 228 6060
Facsimile: +7 495 228 6091

Moody's Eastern Europe LLC
7th floor, Four Winds Plaza
21 1st Tverskaya-Yamskaya St.
Moscow 125047
Russia

Moody's upgrades Vostochny Express Bank (Russia) to B2/Baa1.ru from B3/Baa2.ru
No Related Data.
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