Fitch Ratings has assigned Banco GNB Sudameris S.A.’s (GNB) upcoming issue of U.S. dollar-denominated, 11-year Tier 2 notes an expected long-term rating of ‘BB-(EXP)’. The amount of the U.S. dollar-denominated notes is yet to be determined. The final rating is contingent upon receipt of final documents conforming to information already received.
Proceeds from the issue will be used for general purposes and are expected to count as regulatory Tier 2 capital at the bank, although Fitch does not formally assign equity-credit to these notes. Interest will be paid semiannually. The notes may be redeemed at the option of the issuer no earlier than six years before they are due, subject to prior approval from the Colombian Superintendence of Finance (SFC), if the bank maintains its capital ratios in accordance with regulatory requirements.
Key Rating Drivers
The upcoming issuance is expected to be rated two notches below GNB’s Viability Rating (VR) of ‘bb+’, to reflect loss severity exclusively. There will be no notching due to incremental nonperformance risk. The notes will be subordinated in right of payment to the prior payment in full, in cash or cash equivalents, of all outstanding obligations due in respect of the bank’s senior liabilities, whether outstanding on the issue date or incurred after that date. Additionally, the notes will be senior in right of payment only to subordinated instruments constituting Tier 2 capital subordinated indebtedness that is designated junior to the notes, subordinated instruments constituting Tier 1 capital and the bank’s capital stock.
The rating on the notes does not incorporate incremental nonperformance risk given the relatively low write-off trigger (regulatory common equity Tier 1 [CET1] at or below 4.5%) – which, in Fitch’s view, would only be effective at the point of nonviability and also considering the fact that coupons are not deferred or cancellable before the principal write-off trigger is activated. If GNB’s capital falls below 4.5%, the outstanding principal amount of these notes may be permanently reduced to the extent required to restore the bank’s capital ratio to 6%. This full write-down feature of the notes heavily influences the two-notch loss severity applied.
The securities, which are expected to comply with local Tier II capital requirements, will rank junior to all senior unsecured creditors, pari passu with all other present or future Tier II capital subordinated indebtedness and senior to the bank’s capital stock, including any other instrument that may qualify at Tier I capital according to local banking regulations.
Factors that could, individually or collectively, lead to positive rating action/upgrade:
As the expected subordinated debt rating is two notches below GNB’s VR anchor, the expected rating is sensitive to an upgrade in the bank’s VR. The rating is also sensitive to a narrower notching from the VR if there is a change in Fitch’s view on the nonperformance of these instruments on a going concern basis, which is not the baseline scenario.
Factors that could, individually or collectively, lead to negative rating action/downgrade:
As the expected subordinated debt rating is two notches below GNB’s VR anchor, the expected rating is sensitive to a downgrade in the bank’s VR. The rating is also sensitive to a wider notching from the VR if there is a change in Fitch’s view on the nonperformance of these instruments on a going concern basis, which is not the baseline scenario.
For further information about the drivers and rating sensitivities for GNB’s ratings, please refer to the latest press release entitled, “Fitch Takes Actions on Colombian FIs & Related Entities After Sovereign Downgrade” (http://www.fitchratings.com/site/pr/10117458), published April 8, 2020 at www.fitchratings.com.
Best & Worst Case Rating Scenarios
International scale credit ratings of Financial Institutions issuers have a best-case rating upgrade scenario (defined as the 99th percentile of rating transitions, measured in a positive direction) of three notches over a three-year rating horizon; and a worst-case rating downgrade scenario (defined as the 99th percentile of rating transitions, measured in a negative direction) of four notches over three years. The complete span of best- and worst-case scenario credit ratings for all rating categories ranges from ‘AAA’ to ‘D’. Best- and worst-case scenario credit ratings are based on historical performance. For more information about the methodology used to determine sector-specific best- and worst-case scenario credit ratings, visit https://www.fitchratings.com/site/re/10111579.
References for substantially material source cited as key driver of rating
The principal sources of information used in the analysis are described in the Applicable Criteria.
Banco GNB Sudameris S.A.: 4; Governance Structure: 4
Unless otherwise disclosed in this section, the highest level of environmental, social and governance (ESG) credit relevance is a score of 3 – ESG issues are credit neutral or have only a minimal credit impact on the entity, due to either their nature or the way in which they are being managed by the entity. The governance structure subfactor has a score of 4 – mainly related to key person risk and business continuity considerations.