Ratings roundup: Bicbanco, Rabobank unit, Banco Regional

- Thursday, July 28, 2011

Ratings roundup: Bicbanco, Rabobank unit, Banco Regional

Fitch has upgraded Brazilian bank Bicbanco's long-term national rating to positive from stable, reflecting its strengthened franchise in the middle market segment and the diversification and extended average maturity of its funding base, the agency said in a report.

Also taken into account was the bank's satisfactory and stable track record of performance - even during periods of financial turbulence - as well as the continuation of its favorable liquidity profile.

Headquartered in São Paulo, Bicbanco was established as a credit cooperative in 1938 and converted to a bank in 1944. The founding family, Bezerra de Menezes, holds 71.7% of the total shares.

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Fitch affirmed its national scale long and short-term ratings on the Brazilian unit of Dutch bank Rabobank at AAA with a stable outlook and F1+, respectively, on the back of support from the parent.

Despite that Rabobank Brasil represents less than 1% of the Dutch bank's assets, Brazil has been a strategic target for the expansion of the group's credit operations, due to its relevance in the agricultural sector.

But the bank's focus and concentration on the agricultural, livestock and food sectors require attention, due to the fact that performance in these sectors is very volatile and subject to strong climatic and political influences, resulting in lower predictability, the agency said in a report.

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Fitch affirmed its AAA national scale rating on the Costa Rican unit of Panama's Banco General, as well as its stable outlook, based on support provided by the parent company, the agency said in a report.

Banco General recently acquired Citigroup's (NYSE:C) dollar-denominated mortgage business in Costa Rica.

To read the full report, in Spanish, go to this link