Sri Lanka NTB bank keeps ‘A(lka)’ rating, to closely watch forex trading

Aug 01, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Nations Trust Bank’s ‘A(lka)’ rating has been confirmed with a ‘stable’ outlook by Fitch Ratings, following an 800 million US dollar forex loss, which had resulted in tighter monitoring.

But open positions had been created and maintained within the foreign currency banking unit due to lack of independent monitoring of transaction approvals.

The bank’s internal policy had prohibited trades within the foreign currency banking unit (FCBU),

“NTB has taken steps to mitigate such occurrences in future, including the implementation of a treasury middle-office function which facilitates independent monitoring of operations,” Fitch said.

“The bank also commenced monitoring of FCBU open positions, as well as daily profit reconciliations, despite the continued prohibition on trading within the unit.”

NTB’s profitability in terms of return on assets (ROA) had remained broadly flat year-on-year at 0.96 percent at the end of the 2008 financial year.. ROA has generally remained below the 1 percent mark, compared to the peer median of 1.15 percent in 2008, Fitch said.

NTB’s core profitability excluding exceptional items improved in the second quarter of 2009, driven by low