NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Fitch Ratings has today affirmed Peru's Banco de la Nacion's (BN) Long-Term Foreign Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at 'BBB+' and Viability Rating (VR) at 'bbb-'. The Rating Outlook is Stable. In addition, Fitch has upgraded BN's Short-Term (ST) Local Currency (LC) IDR to 'F1' from 'F2', in line with the sovereign's recently assigned LC ST IDR. A full list of rating actions follows at the end of this press release.
KEY RATING DRIVERS
IDRs, SUPPORT RATING AND SUPPORT RATING FLOOR
BN's IDRs, reflect the likelihood of support from its shareholder, the Republic of Peru (rated 'BBB+'/'A-'/Outlook Stable) should it be required. Although there is no explicit government guarantee, BN an integral part of the government's operations and is fully owned by the state. BN performs basic government functions (collection of taxes, payment of social welfare funds and public sector payrolls), finances key government activities (e.g. defence procurement and infrastructure), and maintains the country's most extensive branch network through which it provides financial services in unserved remote areas.
BN's VR reflects the bank's capital position, which is under long-term pressure due to the bank's high pay-out ratio (averaging 94.4% of net income for 2010 - 2015) and by the steady growth in the bank's risk weighted assets. In 2016, the government approved a reinvestment of net income (equivalent to approximately 39.4% of 2015 net income), providing modest scope for continued growth.
The VR is also constrained by the bank's moderate market share (6.5% by assets) as well as its limited business model. BN's three main activities include lending to national and subnational governments (62% of direct and indirect lending at June 2016); consumer lending to public employees and pensioners; and payment and collection services.
The bank's earnings remain strong and stable, benefitting from significant fee and commission income. Its ROAA in 2015 was 2.5%, compared to a banking system average of 2.2%. The bank has compensated for tighter margins in recent years by increasing its share of earning assets (to 60.6% of assets at June 2016 from 45.1% at year-end 2012).
BN's asset quality is a key strength. Its conservative investment strategy favours liquid, available for sale, government securities. Its loan portfolio quality compares favourably with domestic and international peers with loans past due more than 30 days at 0.6% at June 2016. Significant loan concentration (top 20 loans comprised 67% of gross loans) is compensated by a predominant exposure to government agencies and high reserves (426% of past due loans at June 2016).
Ample liquidity stems from BN's still low balance sheet usage. BN's ratio of loans to customer deposits was 43.5% at June 2016, significantly below the banking system average of 93.2%. BN's liquidity profile is also aided by its role in collecting tax receipts.
IDRs, SUPPORT RATING AND SUPPORT RATING FLOOR
As a fully state-owned financial institution, deeply integrated with government functions, Banco de la Nacion's creditworthiness and ratings are directly linked to those of the Republic of Peru. Hence, its ratings should move in line with any potential change in Peru's sovereign ratings which currently have a Stable Outlook or to a change in Fitch's view of BN's strategic importance to government policy.
The bank's VR has limited upside due to its market share and business model. However, its VR could be pressured downward by deterioration in financial performance that resulted in a decline of tangible equity to below 6% of tangible assets.
Fitch takes the following rating actions:
Banco de la Nacion
--Long-Term Foreign Currency IDR affirmed at 'BBB+'; Outlook Stable;
--Short-Term Foreign Currency IDR affirmed at 'F2';
--Long-Term Local Currency IDR affirmed at 'A-'; Outlook Stable;
--Short-Term Local Currency IDR upgraded to 'F1' from 'F2';
--Support Rating affirmed at '2';
--Support Rating Floor affirmed at 'BBB+';
--Viability Rating affirmed at 'bbb-'.
Additional information is available on www.fitchratings.com
Global Bank Rating Criteria (pub. 15 Jul 2016)
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