TEXT-S&P rates Bancolombia Panama SA 'BBB-/A-3'

Mon Nov 26, 2012 2:15pm EST

Overview
     -- We consider Panama-based Bancolombia Panama S.A. to be a core entity 
to its operating holding company, Bancolombia S.A. y Companias Subordinadas.
     -- We are assigning our long-term 'BBB-' and short-term 'A-3' issuer 
credit ratings to Bancolombia Panama. The outlook is positive.
     -- We expect Bancolombia Panama to remain a core entity for the group, 
continue with its healthy financial performance, and remain an integral part 
of Bancolombia S.A.'s overall group strategy.

Rating Action
On Nov. 26, 2012, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services assigned its long-term 
'BBB-' and short-term 'A-3' issuer credit ratings to Bancolombia Panama S.A. 
The outlook is positive.

Rationale
The ratings on Bancolombia Panama reflect our opinion regarding its core 
status (as our criteria define it) to its operating parent company, 
Colombia-based Bancolombia S.A. y Companias Subordinadas (Bancolombia; 
BBB-/Positive/A-3), which we analyze on a consolidated basis and whose group 
credit profile (GCP) is 'bbb-'.

We regard Bancolombia Panama to be a core operation for its holding company, 
primarily reflecting our view that it's an integral part of Bancolombia's 
consolidated group strategy. The Panamanian unit primarily acts as an offshore 
vehicle to service Bancolombia customers' credit needs in foreign currency. 
Its services and product line are very closely aligned with the group's 
mainstream business, and it currently operates in the same target market. 
Moreover, it consolidates the group's operation in El Salvador, through Banco 
Agricola S.A. (BB-/Stable/B), which has enhanced Bancolombia's presence in 
Central America.

Bancolombia Panama has also shown a healthy and adequate financial 
performance. The latter is reflected in recurrent returns on average adjusted 
assets hovering around 3% to 4%, while keeping sound asset quality with 
nonperforming loans lower than 1%. As of June 2012, Bancolombia Panama, on a 
consolidated basis, represented 8.4% of Bancolombia's total operating revenues 
and 13.1% of its total capital base. Given our current performance expectation 
at the Panamanian and Salvadorian units, we anticipate that it will continue 
to represent a significant share of the group's total revenues and equity.

Bancolombia Panama shares the "Bancolombia" brand and name, which we believe 
closely links it to the group's reputation and risk management and controls.

Outlook
The positive outlook on Bancolombia Panama reflects the outlook on Bancolombia 
and our expectation that any ratings changes will move in tandem-- if we were 
to upgrade Bancolombia, we would take a similar rating action on the 
Panamanian subsidiary. However, and despite our opinion about its core status 
to the group, our ratings on Bancolombia Panama will be limited by those on 
the Republic of Panama (BBB/Stable/A-2).

Related Criteria And Research
     -- Bancolombia S.A. y Companias Subordinadas Assigned 'BBB-/A-3' Ratings; 
The Outlook Is Positive, Nov. 26, 2012
     -- Banks: Rating Methodology And Assumptions, Nov. 9, 2011
     -- Banking Industry Country Risk Assessment Methodology And Assumptions, 
Nov. 9, 2011
     -- Group Rating Methodology And Assumptions, Nov. 9, 2011

Ratings List
New Rating; Outlook Assigned

Bancolombia Panama S.A.
Counterparty Credit Rating             BBB-/Positive/A-3  


 
Complete ratings information is available to subscribers of RatingsDirect on 
the Global Credit Portal at www.globalcreditportal.com. All ratings affected 
by this rating action can be found on Standard & Poor's public Web site at 
www.standardandpoors.com. Use the Ratings search box located in the left 
column.