Moody’s Investors Service on Thursday affirmed and changed the outlooks to stable from negative on the deposit ratings of Amen Bank (Amen), Arab Tunisian Bank (ATB), Banque de Tunisie (BdT) and, Banque Internationale Arabe de Tunisie (BIAT).
Concurrently, Moody’s affirmed with a negative outlook the deposit rating of Société Tunisienne de Banque (STB).
Moody’s has also assigned Counterparty Risk Assessments (CR Assessments) to the five Tunisian banks, in line with its revised bank rating methodology published on 16 March 2015.
The stable outlook on the four banks’ deposit ratings is primarily driven by the rating agency’s assessment that the Tunisian government’s capacity to support the banks is improving, as signaled by the recent change in outlook on Tunisia’s government bond rating to stable from negative.
The bank outlooks also reflect our expectation that challenges in the operating environment will ease over time, helping to stabilize the performance of the banking system.
Moody’s decision to maintain a negative outlook on STB’s ratings reflects the risks still facing the bank in anticipation of its expected recapitalization.
The decision to affirm the ratings reflects the rating agency’s view that (1) the banks’ credit profiles, including asset-quality metrics and loss-absorption buffers, will remain broadly stable at weak levels over the next 12-to-18 months; and (2) there is a very high probability that the government would extend support to the banking sector, in case of need.