November 16, 2012 / 6:01 PM / 5 years ago

TEXT-S&P takes various rating actions on Dutch banks

-- In our view, Dutch banks are exposed to increased economic risks as a 
result of a potentially more protracted downturn in The Netherlands and wider 
eurozone. 
     -- We also consider that the prolonged correction in the property market 
and measures to reduce the budget deficit will continue to weigh on the 
economy, although we expect the overall impact on the banking sector to be 
moderate.
     -- We could see further pressure on our assessment of economic risk in 
The Netherlands in the event of a more pronounced correction in the eurozone. 
     -- As a result, we are lowering our anchor--or starting point for our 
ratings--for commercial banks operating in The Netherlands to 'bbb+' from 'a-'.
     -- We are therefore lowering by one notch our ratings on ABN AMRO Bank, 
Cooperatieve Centrale Raiffeisen-Boerenleenbank B.A. (Rabobank Nederland), F. 
van Lanschot Bankiers, and the SNS REAAL group. The outlook on the SNS REAAL 
group is negative, while the outlook on the other entities is stable.
     -- We are revising the outlook on ING Bank, ING Groep, and Achmea 
Hypotheekbank to negative and affirming the ratings.
     -- We are placing on CreditWatch negative our long-term ratings on Bank 
Nederlandse Gemeenten, KAS Bank, and Nederlandse Waterschapsbank while we 
review the impact of higher economic risks on the ratings on these companies.
     -- We are affirming our ratings on NIBC Bank and maintaining a negative 
outlook. We are affirming our ratings and maintaining a stable outlook on 
LeasePlan Corporation. The ratings and stable outlooks on AEGON Bank and Royal 
Bank of Scotland N.V. are unaffected by today's actions.
    
    Nov 16 - Standard & Poor's Ratings Services today said it has taken various
rating actions on Dutch banks. We lowered by one notch the ratings on ABN AMRO
Bank (ABN), Cooperatieve Centrale Raiffeisen-Boerenleenbank B.A. (Rabobank
Nederland), F. van Lanschot Bankiers (Van Lanschot), SNS REAAL, and the core
entities of these groups. The outlook on the SNS REAAL group is negative, while
the outlook on the other entities is stable.

We revised the outlook on ING Bank, ING Groep, and Achmea Hypotheekbank to 
negative and affirmed the ratings. We lowered by one notch the ratings on the 
subordinated debt of ING Bank and ING Groep. 

We placed on CreditWatch with negative implications our long-term ratings on 
Bank Nederlandse Gemeenten (BNG), KAS Bank, and Nederlandse Waterschapsbank 
(NWB Bank) while we review the impact of higher economic risks on the ratings 
on these companies.

We affirmed our ratings on NIBC Bank and maintained a negative outlook. We 
also affirmed our ratings and maintained a stable outlook on LeasePlan 
Corporation. The ratings and stable outlooks on AEGON Bank and Royal Bank of 
Scotland N.V. are unaffected by today's rating actions.

See below for a list of rating actions. 

We consider that economic risks for Dutch banks have increased incrementally, 
based on expectations of a more protracted downturn in The Netherlands and the 
wider eurozone (European Economic and Monetary Union; see 
""here
=7549577&rev_id=3&sid=1030706&sind=A&"," published Sept. 25, 2012). 
Furthermore, we consider that the prolonged housing market slump, elevated 
household leverage, and measures to reduce the budget deficit are constraining 
consumer confidence and private-sector activity in general. We anticipate that 
the impact of these constraints could lead to moderately higher impairment 
charges among Dutch banks over the next two years (watch the related 
CreditMatters TV segment titled "Change In Netherlands Economic Risk Score 
Prompts Rating Actions On Dutch Banks" and "Banking Industry Country Risk 
Assessment: The Netherlands," published Nov. 16, 2012).

Despite an incremental worsening in our near-term outlook, we continue to view 
the Dutch economy as structurally sound and competitive, and believe that the 
likelihood of a very sharp increase in housing-related losses is low. 
Furthermore, we believe the gradual measures announced by the government to 
restrict the tax-deductibility of mortgage interest payments reduce 
uncertainties for prospective homebuyers. 

We have lowered our stand-alone credit profiles (SACPs) on ABN, Achmea 
Hypotheekbank, ING Bank, SNS Bank, and Rabobank Nederland as a result of their 
exposure to the Dutch market and to other eurozone countries where we see 
moderately increased risks. The revised SACP of SNS Bank is also due to our 
view that its franchise has eroded. As a result, we have lowered by two 
notches our ratings on SNS REAAL and SNS Bank's subordinated instruments. For 
ING Bank, the impact on the long-term counterparty credit rating is offset by 
an increase in the uplift that we include in its ratings for potential 
extraordinary government support. However, we have lowered the ratings on the 
group's subordinated instruments by one notch. For Achmea Hypotheekbank, we 
consider that the weaker SACP is offset by parental support. 

For the other institutions, the impact on the SACP has led to a one-notch 
downgrade of the long-term counterparty credit and debt ratings.

We have affirmed the ratings on LeasePlan Corporation as we already capture 
the increased risks cited above in its SACP. The affirmation of the ratings on 
NIBC Bank is underpinned by our assessment of its improving capital base, 
which offsets our view of increased economic risks. 

We do not have SACPs on Royal Bank of Scotland N.V. or AEGON Bank. We align 
their ratings with the other core operating subsidiaries of Royal Bank of 
Scotland Group PLC and AEGON N.V.

The negative outlook on ING Bank and ING Groep mirrors that on The Netherlands 
(AAA/Negative/A-1+, unsolicited ratings). The negative outlook on NIBC 
reflects the possibility that we may lower the ratings on the bank if its 
progress in further strengthening its capital position appears likely to be 
delayed or more limited than we currently anticipate.

The negative outlook on SNS REAAL and SNS Bank primarily reflects our view 
that the group's overall franchise may face some erosion over the next two 
years. Among other things, it takes into consideration our understanding that 
SNS REAAL may consider selling parts of its business as a result of its 
strategic review. SNS Bank and SNS REAAL's subordinated debt instruments 
remain on CreditWatch negative, pending the outcome of the group's strategic 
review. 

The negative outlook on Achmea Hypotheekbank reflects the possibility of a 
downgrade if we consider that its loss experience were to deteriorate markedly.

We expect to resolve the CreditWatch placements on the long-term ratings on 
BNG, KAS Bank, and NWB Bank in the next few weeks.

The outlook on ABN AMRO Bank, AEGON Bank, Van Lanschot, LeasePlan, Rabobank 
Nederland, and Royal Bank of Scotland N.V. is stable.

RELATED CRITERIA AND RESEARCH
     -- Banking Industry Country Risk Assessment: The Netherlands, Nov. 16, 
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
     -- Bank Hybrid Capital Methodology And Assumptions, Oct. 24, 2011
     -- Interactive Ratings Methodology, April 22, 2009 
     -- Bank Capital Methodology And Assumptions, Dec. 6, 2010
     -- Principles Of Credit Ratings, Feb. 16, 2011
     -- Use Of CreditWatch And Outlooks, Sept. 14, 2009
     -- Holding Company Analysis, June 11, 2009
     -- Group Methodology, April 22, 2011
     -- Rating Government Related Entities: Methodology And Assumptions, Dec. 
9, 2010 


BICRA SCORE CHANGES 
                   SCORE*
                   To        From
BICRA              3         2
Economic risk      3         2
Industry risk      3         3
*On a scale from '1' (lowest risk) to '10' (highest risk).

RATINGS LIST*
Ratings Lowered                    To                 From
ABN AMRO Bank N.V.
 Counterparty credit rating        A/Stable/A-1       A+/Negative/A-1

Cooperatieve Centrale Raiffeisen-Boerenleenbank B.A. (Rabobank Nederland)
Rabohypotheekbank N.V.
Rabobank New Zealand Ltd.
 Counterparty credit rating        AA-/Stable/A-1+    AA/Negative/A-1+

F. van Lanschot Bankiers N.V.
 Counterparty credit rating        BBB+/Stable/A-2    A-/Negative/A-2

SNS REAAL N.V.
 Counterparty credit rating        BBB-/Negative/A-3  BBB/Negative/A-3

SNS Bank N.V.    
 Counterparty credit rating        BBB/Negative/A-3   BBB+/Negative/A-2

SRLEV N.V.
REAAL Schadeverzekeringen N.V.
 Counterparty credit rating        BBB/Watch Dev/--   BBB+/Watch Dev/--

REAAL Verzekeringen N.V.
Counterparty credit rating         BBB-/Watch Dev     BBB/Watch Dev

Ratings Affirmed; Outlook Action
Achmea Hypotheekbank N.V.   
 Counterparty credit rating        A/Negative/A-1     A/Stable/A-1

ING Bank N.V.
ING Belgium S.A./N.V.
ING Financial Markets, LLC
 Counterparty credit rating        A+/Negative/A-1    A+/Stable/A-1

ING Groep N.V.
ING Bank (Australia) Ltd.
 Counterparty credit rating        A/Negative/A-1     A/Stable/A-1

Ratings on CreditWatch
Bank Nederlandse Gemeenten N.V.
 Counterparty credit rating        AAA/Watch Neg/A-1+ AAA/Negative/A-1+

KAS BANK N.V.
 Counterparty credit rating        A-/Watch Neg/A-2   A-/Negative/A-2

Nederlandse Waterschapsbank N.V.
 Counterparty credit rating        AAA/Watch Neg/A-1+ AAA/Negative/A-1+

Ratings Affirmed
LeasePlan Corporation N.V.
 Counterparty credit rating        BBB+/Stable/A-2

NIBC Bank N.V.
 Counterparty credit rating        BBB-/Negative/A-3
N.B.-This does not include all ratings affected.



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.

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