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

TEXT-S&P cuts F. van Lanschot Bankiers NV ratings to 'BBB+'

     -- In our view, Dutch banks are exposed to the potential of a more 
protracted downturn in The Netherlands and wider eurozone.
     -- We are therefore revising our economic risk score for The Netherlands 
and our Banking Industry Country Risk Assessment to '3' from '2'.
     -- We believe that Dutch private bank F. Van Lanschot Bankiers' (Van 
Lanschot) cost of risk has increased since mid-2011 owing to the weaker 
domestic environment in which it operates.
     -- We are therefore lowering our long-term ratings on Van Lanschot to 
'BBB+' from 'A-' and affirming the 'A-2' short-term ratings.
     -- The stable outlook primarily reflects our expectation that the bank 
should be able to maintain its strong capitalization despite the pressure on 
its operating environment.

Rating Action
On Nov. 16, 2012, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services lowered its long-term 
counterparty credit rating on Dutch private bank F. van Lanschot Bankiers N.V. 
(Van Lanschot) to 'BBB+' from 'A-'. At the same time, we affirmed the 'A-2' 
short-term ratings. The outlook is stable.

In addition, we lowered by one notch our subordinated and junior subordinated 
debt ratings on all hybrid capital instruments issued by Van Lanschot.

The lowering of the long-term rating follows our review of the Banking 
Industry Country Risk Assessment (BICRA) on The Netherlands. Against the 
backdrop of a potentially more protracted downturn in The Netherlands and the 
wider eurozone, we have revised our economic risk score for The Netherlands 
and our BICRA assessment to '3' from '2' (for more information, see "Various 
Rating Actions Taken On Dutch Banks Due To Increased Economic Risks," 
published Nov. 16, 2012 on RatingsDirect on the Global Credit Portal).

We have revised our assessment of systemwide risks that Dutch banks are 
exposed to, which has led us to lower our anchor--or starting point for our 
ratings--for commercial banks operating in The Netherlands, including Van 
Lanschot, to 'bbb+' from 'a-'. In our view, Van Lanschot's weaker performance 
since mid-2011 to some extent demonstrates the effect of the weaker domestic 
environment. We have therefore lowered the bank's stand-alone credit profile 
(SACP) to 'bbb+' from 'a-', in line with the anchor.

We view Van Lanschot's risk position as "adequate" (as defined by our 
criteria). Our assessment balances a tightening in the bank's underwriting and 
risk appetite since 2008, which has led to a reduction in the loan book, 
against some volatility in the asset-quality track record in recent years. The 
cost of credit risk peaked in 2009, then recovered in 2010 and early 2011, 
before spiking again in first-half 2012. Despite the de-risking of the bank's 
portfolio in recent years, we expect the outlook for the rest of 2012 and 
early 2013 to remain clouded by the difficult economic environment, as we 
reflect in our moderately weaker economic risk assessment for the Dutch 
banking system.

We view the bank's loan book as adequately diversified--about one-half is made 
up of residential mortgages. However, the property book (18% of lending at 
June 2012) and exposures to other small and midsize enterprises (SMEs) have 
contributed to relatively elevated losses since mid-2011, with impairment 
charges at slightly more than 60 basis points of average loans in the first 
half of 2012. Some reputational and operational risks are inherent in the 
bank's private banking activities, although we consider that its good track 
record to date somewhat mitigates these risks.

We consider the bank's business position to be "moderate" due to its 
relatively niche franchise in The Netherlands. Despite the constraints on 
revenues from the weaker environment, we expect Van Lanschot to be in a 
position to preserve its franchise. 

We view capital and earnings as "strong" since we expect our risk-adjusted 
capital (RAC) ratio before diversification adjustments to remain over 10% over 
the next 18 months. Our prospective assessment takes into account the negative 
impact of our revised assessment of economic risk for the Dutch banking system 
on Van Lanschot's risk-weighted assets under our RAC framework. 

We view funding as "average" and liquidity as "adequate". This view balances 
the moderately better-than-average loan-to-deposit ratio against the larger 
average size of the bank's deposits compared with peers. We do not factor any 
notches of support into our ratings on Van Lanschot.

The stable outlook primarily reflects our expectation that the bank should be 
able to maintain its strong capitalization despite the pressure on its 
operating environment.

We could lower the ratings on Van Lanschot if we see signs that the bank's 
capitalization is weakening, leading us to revise our projected RAC ratio to 
around 10% or less.

We could raise the ratings if Van Lanschot's business position were to improve 
substantially, demonstrated among other things by large net inflows of client 
assets and a sustained increase in revenues and earnings. This would be 
subject to increased stability in the economic environment.

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

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

Support                         0
 GRE Support                    0
 Group Support                  0
 Sovereign Support              0
Additional Factors              0

Related Criteria And Research
All articles listed below are available on RatingsDirect on the Global Credit 
Portal, unless otherwise stated.

     -- Various Rating Actions Taken On Dutch Banks Due To Increased Economic 
Risks, Nov. 16, 2012
     -- Banking Industry Country Risk Assessment: The Netherlands, Nov. 16, 
     -- Dutch Private Bank F. van Lanschot Bankiers Outlook Revised To 
Negative On Weaker Environment; 'A-/A-2' Ratings Affirmed, Oct. 4, 2012
     -- Economic Research: The Eurozone's New Recession--Confirmed, Sept. 25, 
     -- F. van Lanschot Bankiers N.V., Sept. 7, 2012
     -- No Pain, No Gain: How The Housing Market Correction Is Affecting Dutch 
Banks, June 27, 2012
     -- Banks: Rating Methodology And Assumptions, Nov. 9, 2011
     -- Banking Industry Country Risk Assessment Methodology And Assumptions, 
Nov. 9, 2011
     -- Bank Hybrid Capital Methodology And Assumptions, Oct. 24, 2011
     -- Bank Capital Methodology And Assumptions, Dec. 6, 2010

Ratings List
Downgraded; CreditWatch/Outlook Action; Ratings Affirmed
                                        To                 From
F. van Lanschot Bankiers N.V.
 Counterparty Credit Rating             BBB+/Stable/A-2    A-/Negative/A-2
 Certificate Of Deposit                 BBB+/A-2           A-/A-2
 Senior Unsecured                       BBB+               A-
 Subordinated                           BBB                BBB+
 Junior Subordinated                    BBB-               BBB

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