Moody's lowers outlook to negative for BCR deposits in lei

Rating agency Moody's lowered today the outlook of Romania's largest bank by assets BCR for the local currency deposit ratings from stable to negative after it downgraded the bank financial strength rating (BFSR) of mother lender Erste Group Bank to C- from C and changed the outlook to negative, NewsIn informs.
The deposit ratings for BCR incorporate an uplift reflecting the rating agency's expectation of high support from its parent, Erste Bank.

BCR's local currency deposit ratings of Baa1/Prime-2, and the foreign currency deposit ratings of Baa3/Prime-3 which are constrained by the foreign currency deposit ceiling of Romania remain unaffected by today's rating actions. The foreign currency deposit ratings carry a stable outlook.

Today's rating actions conclude a review on Erste Group Bank initiated by the agency on 11 December 2008.

The rating actions reflect Moody's expectation that the persistent turmoil in international capital markets is likely to have a worsening negative impact on the economies of Erste Group Bank's core markets in Central & Eastern Europe (CEE).

As at 31 December 2008, about 47% of Erste Group's risk-weighted assets and 70% of its pre-tax profits came from the CEE region, with the Czech Republic and Romania being the most important markets, followed by activities in Hungary, Slovakia, Croatia, Serbia and Ukraine.

The BFSR downgrade is to be seen in the context of the unpredictable and unstable operating environment which represents a major risk for Erste Group Bank's asset quality, and will likely put pressure on pre-tax profits and thus internal capital generation capacity although the rating also recognises the strong retail franchise with resilient and stable revenues.

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