OFFICIAL-TEXT-S&P:Rating actions on Spanish banks

Fri Nov 23, 2012 5:03am EST

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(Agency corrects the article published earlier today, the long-term rating on Bankia S.A. was misstated in the Ratings List. A corrected version follows.) (The following statement was released by the rating agency)

Nov 23 -

-- Economic risks for the Spanish banking sector have risen, in our view, in the context of the rapid deterioration in the creditworthiness of the sovereign (which has been reflected in our rating actions on Spain, including our recent two-notch downgrade).

-- In our view, Spanish banks are facing higher credit risks as Spain's weakening economy, public sector cuts, austerity measures, and high unemployment will likely hamper the creditworthiness and resilience of public and private sector borrowers.

-- The Spanish financial system is a major beneficiary of support from the European Central Bank, aimed at giving time for institutions to rebalance their funding profiles. Reliance on this support has varied from bank to bank and we are therefore reflecting this more explicitly by lowering our stand-alone credit profiles on some banks and recognizing in our ratings the benefits of the support provided.

-- As a result, we are lowering our long- and short-term ratings on Confederacion Espanola de Cajas de Ahorros and Ibercaja Banco S.A. and our long-term rating on Bankinter S.A. We are affirming our ratings on the remaining 12 Spanish banks. The outlook on all our ratings on Spanish banks is negative, except those on Bankia S.A. and Banco Financiero y de Ahorros S.A. which remain on CreditWatch with negative implications.

-- We are lowering our stand-alone credit profiles on seven banks: Confederacion Espanola de Cajas de Ahorros, Ibercaja Banco S.A., Bankinter S.A., CaixaBank S.A., Banco Popular Espanol S.A., Banco de Sabadell S.A. , and Barclays Bank S.A.

-- We are incorporating short-term funding support in our ratings on four banks (Bankia S.A., Banco Popular Espanol S.A., Banco de Sabadell S.A. and Bankinter S.A), thus uplifting their ratings above their stand-alone credit profiles. Bankia's ratings also benefit from short-term capital support.

-- The lowering of the SACPs has had negative implications for the nondeferrable subordinated and hybrid debt ratings of Banco de Sabadell S.A., Banco Popular Espanol S.A., Ibercaja Banco S.A., and Bankinter S.A.

Standard & Poor's Ratings Services today said it has lowered its long- and short-term counterparty credit ratings on Confederacion Espanola de Cajas de Ahorros (CECA) and on Ibercaja Banco S.A. (iberCaja) to 'BB+/B' from 'BBB-/A-3' and its long-term rating on Bankinter S.A. (Bankinter) to 'BB' from 'BB+'. We affirmed our 'B' short-term rating on Bankinter. The outlook on the ratings on these banks is negative. All ratings were removed from CreditWatch negative, except the short-term rating on Bankinter, which was not on CreditWatch.

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