TEXT - S&P rates People's United Financial senior debt 'BBB+'

Tue Dec 4, 2012 3:36pm EST

Overview
     -- People's United Financial plans to accelerate its common stock
share repurchases, which will lower capital sooner than we anticipated, though
we still expect capital ratios to remain relatively strong.
     -- We are assigning a 'BBB+' rating on People's $500 million, 10-year 
senior notes issuance.
     -- We are affirming our 'BBB+' issuer credit rating on People's United 
Financial and our 'A-/A-2' issuer credit ratings on its main bank subsidiary, 
People's United Bank.
     -- The outlook remains stable, reflecting our expectation that People's 
will maintain capital ratios that are higher than peers', relatively good 
asset quality, and steady earnings generation. 

Rating Action
On Dec. 4, 2012, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services assigned its 'BBB+' rating 
on People's United Financial Inc.'s $500 million senior notes. At the same 
time, we affirmed our 'BBB+' issuer credit rating on People's and our 'A-/A-2' 
issuer credit ratings on its main bank subsidiary, People's United Bank. The 
outlook remains stable.

Rationale
Our rating affirmation follows People's announcement that it plans to 
significantly raise the limit on its common share repurchase program. The 
company intends to repurchase 10% of its outstanding shares in 2013, mainly 
financed through a relatively large senior debt issuance. We had previously 
expected the company to repurchase 5% of outstanding shares in 2013 and a much 
lesser amount in 2014.

Although the company's plans for a substantial capital deployment are negative 
from a credit perspective, these actions are broadly within our expectations 
for the ratings and are consistent with the company's strategies, in our 
opinion. Since its 2007 stock conversion, People's has been deploying its 
excess capital through acquisitions, share repurchases, and dividends.

We recognize that these planned share buybacks in 2013 will significantly 
diminish People's capital ratios, but we project that the company will 
maintain capital ratios within our "strong" category (as our criteria define 
it). In particular, we project that People's risk-adjusted capital (RAC) 
ratio, based on our measurement, will exceed 10% over the next two years. We 
also believe that People's regulatory ratios should remain robust. We estimate 
that People's tangible common equity ratio, which was 11.2% as of Sept. 30, 
2012, may remain higher than 9%, which would still be ample relative to many 
peers'. Importantly, we assume in our forecasts that People's will not 
repurchase any common shares in 2014.   

Our ratings on People's and its main bank subsidiary, People's United Bank, 
take into account their satisfactory competitive position as a midsize New 
England regional bank. We also consider People's very good asset quality track 
record, although we recognize its geographic concentration and some risks 
associated with its substantial growth over the past few years. In light of 
the company's plan to accelerate its use of capital for repurchases, we expect 
that it will not make any large acquisitions or sharply increase its organic 
growth in the near term.

Outlook
The stable outlook reflects our expectation that People's will maintain its 
relatively good asset quality and steady earnings generation. We also expect 
that People's currently strong RAC levels will decline, mainly because of 
share buybacks through 2013, but that the company will maintain a RAC ratio of 
at least 10%. In addition, we expect that People's will temper its organic 
growth and previously active acquisition strategy over the next two years.

We could revise our outlook to negative or lower the ratings if we anticipate 
a decline in the RAC ratio to less than 10% for any reason, including larger 
than already announced share repurchases or cash-financed acquisitions. We 
could also lower the rating if asset quality deteriorates significantly, such 
as a rise in the nonperforming assets ratio (for originated loans) to 4%. 
Alternatively, we could revise the outlook to positive or raise the ratings if 
the company demonstrates a strong risk position while maintaining strong 
capital ratios. We could eventually consider People's risk position as 
stronger than peers' if the company further establishes a track record of good 
risk management and better-than-peers' loan underwriting and credit metrics. 

Ratings Score Snapshot
Issuer Credit Rating              A-/Stable/A-2
Bank Holding Company Rating       BBB+/Stable/--

SACP                              a-
 Anchor                           bbb+
 Business Position                Adequate(0)
 Capital and Earnings             Strong (+1)
 Risk Position                    Adequate (0)
 Funding and Liquidity            Average and Adequate (0) 

Support                           0
 GRE Support                      0
 Group Support                    0
 Sovereign Support                0

Additional Factors                0

Related Criteria And Research
     -- 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
     -- Bank Hybrid Capital Methodology And Assumptions, Nov. 1, 2011

Ratings List

Ratings Affirmed

People's United Financial Inc.
 Counterparty Credit Rating             BBB+/Stable/--     
 Subordinated                           BBB                

People's United Bank
 Counterparty Credit Rating             A-/Stable/A-2      
 Certificate Of Deposit                 A-/A-2             

New Rating

People's United Financial Inc.
 Senior Unsecured
  $500 mil. notes due in 2022           BBB+
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