Fitch Affirms & Withdraws BancWest Corporation's 'A/F1' Long-Term IDR; Outlook Stable

CHICAGO--()--Fitch Ratings has affirmed and withdrawn BancWest Corporation's (BWE) long- and short-term Issuer Default Ratings (IDR) at 'A/F1'. The ratings of Bank of the West (BOW) and First Hawaiian Bank (FHB) are unaffected by today's action. A full list of rating actions follows at the end of this release.

Fitch is withdrawing the ratings of BWE as BWE is undergoing a reorganization/no longer exists. Accordingly, Fitch will no longer provide ratings or analytical coverage for BWE.

This action follows the internal re-organization of BWE. Effective April 1, 2016, BWE became First Hawaiian, Inc. (FHI), a holding company that owns FHB. BOW was transferred to a newly created holding company, BancWest Holding Inc, which is not currently rated by Fitch.

In February 2016, Fitch placed FHB's long-term IDR and Support rating on Rating Watch Negative following the announcement by FHB's ultimate parent, BNP Paribas (BNPP), that it is considering strategic alternatives for FHB. For additional details, see 'Fitch Places First Hawaiian Bank's 'A' L-T IDR & '1' Support on Negative Watch' (Feb. 2, 2016).

KEY RATING DRIVERS - IDRs and VRs

BWE's IDR is linked to that of its 100% owner, BNPP. BWE's IDR benefits from institutional support from its owner, reflecting its important role in the group.

BWE's VR is driven by the company's good asset quality and conservative risk profile. Further, Fitch views capital as solid, and appropriate for the company's risk profile. These strengths are balanced against BWE's weaker profitability metrics, and limited revenue diversity.

Fitch last affirmed BWE's ratings on Dec. 9, 2015, and there have been no material changes since then. The ratings have been withdrawn due to a lack of available financial information at the renamed holding company, FHI, which is now the parent to only FHB and assets were transferred to BancWest Holding, Inc.

Following the establishment of a new intermediate holding company on July 1, 2016 as required by regulatory rules for certain foreign-owned bank institutions, Fitch may assign ratings to the newly formed holding company that will become the future ultimate parent to both FHB and BOW. This will only occur following the publication of regulatory financials.

Fitch also expects that following a potential divestiture of FHB, the standalone rating for BOW of 'a-' may be adversely impacted. All U.S. bank subsidiaries carry a common VR, regardless of size, as U.S. banks are cross-guaranteed under the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act (FIRREA). However, upon divestiture, BOW would no longer benefit from cross-guarantee provisions from FHB, viewed by Fitch as the stronger banking subsidiary. In the event BOW's VR was downgraded, its IDR would likely not be impacted given the uplift in its rating from the parent, BNPP.

KEY RATING DRIVERS - SUPPORT RATING AND SUPPORT RATING FLOOR

BWE's Support Rating of '1' reflects the high probability of support from its parent, BNPP. BWE's support-driven IDR has historically been one notch below BNPP, reflecting Fitch's view that BWE is strategically important to BNPP, though not core.

RATING SENSITIVITIES - IDRs and VRs

Rating sensitivities are no longer relevant given today's rating withdrawal.

RATING SENSITIVITIES - SUPPORT RATING AND SUPPORT RATING FLOOR

Rating sensitivities are no longer relevant given today's rating withdrawal.

Fitch has affirmed and withdrawn the following ratings with a Stable Outlook:

BancWest Corporation

--Long-term IDR at 'A'; Outlook Stable;

--Viability Rating 'a-'.

--Short-term IDR at 'F1';

--Support Rating at '1'.

Additional information is available 'www.fitchratings.com'.

Applicable Criteria

Global Bank Rating Criteria (pub. 20 Mar 2015)

https://www.fitchratings.com/creditdesk/reports/report_frame.cfm?rpt_id=863501

Additional Disclosures

Dodd-Frank Rating Information Disclosure Form

https://www.fitchratings.com/creditdesk/press_releases/content/ridf_frame.cfm?pr_id=1002654

Solicitation Status

https://www.fitchratings.com/gws/en/disclosure/solicitation?pr_id=1002654

Endorsement Policy

https://www.fitchratings.com/jsp/creditdesk/PolicyRegulation.faces?context=2&detail=31

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Contacts

Fitch Ratings
Primary Analyst
Julie Solar, +1-312-368-5472
Senior Director
Fitch Ratings, Inc.
70 W. Madison Street
Chicago, IL 60602
or
Secondary Analyst
Bain K. Rumohr, CFA, +1-312-368-3153
Director
or
Committee Chairperson
Meghan Neenan, CFA, +1-212-908-0121
Senior Director
or
Media Relations
Hannah James, New York, +1-646-582-4947
hannah.james@fitchratings.com

Contacts

Fitch Ratings
Primary Analyst
Julie Solar, +1-312-368-5472
Senior Director
Fitch Ratings, Inc.
70 W. Madison Street
Chicago, IL 60602
or
Secondary Analyst
Bain K. Rumohr, CFA, +1-312-368-3153
Director
or
Committee Chairperson
Meghan Neenan, CFA, +1-212-908-0121
Senior Director
or
Media Relations
Hannah James, New York, +1-646-582-4947
hannah.james@fitchratings.com