Moody’s extends review for downgrade on three Sri Lankan banks’ ratings

Jul 21, 2020 (LBO) – Moody’s Investors Service has today extended its review for downgrade on Bank of Ceylon’s (BOC), Hatton National Bank PLC’s (HNB) and Sampath Bank PLC’s (Sampath) long-term local currency deposit and foreign currency issuer ratings of B2.

RATINGS RATIONALE

The extension of the review for downgrade on the banks’ ratings follows the review for downgrade that remains in place on Sri Lanka’s B2 sovereign rating. Moody’s believes that there is a high level of dependency between the creditworthiness of the banks and that of the sovereign, given that the banks operate mainly within the country and hold significant amounts of sovereign debt. Furthermore, the government’s ability to support the banks in times of need is a key input to Moody’s assessment of the banks’ ratings.

Moody’s had earlier initiated the review for downgrade on the banks’ ratings following its placement of the sovereign rating on review for downgrade.

WHAT COULD CHANGE THE RATING UP/DOWN

Given the review for downgrade, the banks’ Baseline Credit Assessments (BCAs) and long-term ratings are unlikely to be upgraded during the review period. Nevertheless, Moody’s could confirm the ratings if Sri Lanka’s sovereign rating is confirmed.

A downgrade of the sovereign rating could lead to a downgrade of the banks’ BCAs and long-term ratings. Moody’s could also downgrade the banks’ BCAs if there is a material deterioration in asset quality. A significant decline in capitalization could also exert downward pressure on the banks’ BCAs.

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