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TEXT-Fitch affirms Bystrobank at 'B-'
November 12, 2012 / 5:51 PM / in 5 years

TEXT-Fitch affirms Bystrobank at 'B-'

Nov 12 () - Fitch Ratings has affirmed JSC Bystrobank's (Bystrobank)
Long-term foreign currency and local currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs) of
'B-' and National Long-term rating of 'BB-(rus)'. The Outlooks are Stable. A
full list of rating actions is at the end of this comment.

The ratings reflect Bystrobank's small size, its concentrated corporate loan
book dominated by unsecured short-term loans to IT trading companies, risks of
planned rapid growth of unsecured retail lending, where there is limited history
of reasonable performance, and weak capitalisation. The ratings also acknowledge
the bank's principal market position in the small Udmurtia region, its adequate
liquidity profile and the recently announced entrance of IFC as a minority
shareholder, which should benefit the bank's corporate governance and money
market access.

Retail lending (61% of gross end-H112 loans) is potentially risky due to rapid
growth (22% in H112 and 42% in 2011) and poor past performance. Before the
crisis, the bank applied rather loose origination policies which, coupled with
seasoning and historically low write-offs, resulted in high non-performing loans
(NPLs) of 8.0% at end-H112 and a further 4.8% of restructurings. Retail loans
were weakly reserved by only 4.1% at end-H112. The revised issuance standards
and more favourable economic environment support the more recent vintages, with
an annualised NPL origination rate of only 2.4% in H112. However, given the
limited history of such a decent performance and the rapid past and planned
(115% in 2013) retail lending growth, the risks are still elevated, in Fitch's

Corporate lending (33% of gross end-H112 loans) practices are also of concern to
Fitch due to high exposure to IT companies (45% of top-25 loans; the latter in
turn made 81% of total corporate loans) mainly being of a relationship-based
nature, reflecting the shareholders' connections and interests in this business.
Within the overall IT exposure, loans to related parties amounted to RUB0.5bn or
16% of Fitch Core Capital. Also most corporate loans (72% of top-25 loans) are
unsecured, exposing the bank to borrowers' business risks. Currently there are
no corporate NPLs and the reserve rate is only 2.4%, which does not provide much

The bank is planning to reduce the concentration by increasing SME lending,
including under EBRB funding, but has limited expertise in that area. This loan
book is small (RUB0.7bn at end-Q312), but management plans to grow it to
RUB2.8bn or 10% of the total loan book at end-2013.

Bystrobank is mainly customer funded, with retail deposits contributing 61% of
total funding and 18% coming from corporates at end-Q312. Retail deposits proved
to be relatively stable during the 2008-2009 crisis, with a maximum outflow of
5%, followed by a quick recovery. However, Fitch does not consider Bystrobank to
be immune to deposit outflow risk, which is aggravated by regional
concentration, with 87% of retail deposits coming from the Udmurtia region.
Mitigating liquidity risk to an extent, the bank had about RUB2.2bn of liquid
assets at end-Q312 - sufficient to withstand a 19% outflow of customer funding.

Profitability is moderate with annualised return on equity (ROE) of 9% as per
H112 IFRS accounts. According to management, profitability should improve as the
bank grows, but maintenance of low credit risk would be crucial in achieving

Fitch considers Bystrobank's capitalisation - regulatory capital adequacy ratio
(CAR) of 12.1% and Basel CAR of 20% at end-Q312 - as weak given the bank's
relatively high credit risks and ambitious growth plans. Fitch estimates that
after the upcoming (should be completed in Q113) RUB550m capital injection from
IFC, Basel and regulatory capital ratios should moderately improve to,
respectively, 25% and 15%, but the effect may be temporary due to growth plans.

Bystrobank was acquired in 2007 by a group of Moscow-based former shareholders
of OJSC Orgresbank (sold to Nordea AB; 'AA-'/Stable). Fitch believes Bystrobank
to be a mid-term financial investment for them, implying that they would have
limited propensity to support the bank in case of need. That stated, they
injected over RUB300m (USD9.5m) of new capital into the bank during the Q308

A sustained control of credit risks while growing rapidly and a considerable
diversification of corporate lending, especially reduced concentration of IT
industry and improved collateral policy, should be positive for the bank's
credit profile.

A significant deterioration in asset quality and/or a deposit outflow would put
pressure on the bank's ratings.

The rating actions are as follows:
Long-term IDR: affirmed at 'B-'; Stable Outlook
Short-term IDR: affirmed at 'B'
National Rating: affirmed at 'BB-(rus)'; Stable Outlook
Viability Rating: affirmed at 'b-'
Support Rating: affirmed at '5'
Support Rating Floor: affirmed at 'No floor'

Additional information is available at

The ratings above were solicited by, or on behalf of, the issuer, and therefore,
Fitch has been compensated for the provision of the ratings.

Applicable criteria, 'Global Financial Institutions Rating Criteria', dated 15
August 2012 are available at

Applicable Criteria and Related Research:
Global Financial Institutions Rating Criteria

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