Shortly after affirming the Tunisian sovereign rating and changing its outlook to negative from stable, Moody’s Investors Service (“Moody’s”) affirmed the local-currency deposit ratings of Amen Bank (Amen) of B2/NP, Arab Tunisian Bank (ATB) of B2/NP, Banque de Tunisie (BdT), of B2/NP, Banque Internationale Arabe de Tunisie (BIAT) of B2/NP and Societe Tunisienne de Banque (STB) of B3/NP, it said in a statement.
Concurrently the ratings agency affirmed the baseline credit assessments (BCAs) of BdT and BIAT at b3, the BCAs of Amen and ATB at caa1 and the BCA of STB at caa3.
Moody’s also affirmed the long-term foreign currency deposit ratings of the five banks at B3, at the same level as the country ceiling for foreign currency deposits, and affirmed the long-term B2(cr) Counterparty Risk Assessment (CR Assessment) and the B2/NP Counterparty Risk Ratings of all banks.
Moody’s changed the outlook on all long-term deposit ratings of the five banks to negative from stable.
The affirmation of the five Tunisian banks’ ratings reflects Moody’s view that, despite a challenging operating environment, the banks’ credit profiles, including asset-quality metrics, loss-absorption buffers and liquidity measures, will remain broadly stable at current weak levels.
It also reflects the rating agency’s view that the probability that government support would be forthcoming in times of stress in the banking sector remains high.
The negative outlook on the five Tunisian banks’ long-term deposit ratings is primarily driven by the weakening of the Tunisian government’s capacity to support the banks, as signaled by Moody’s recent decision to change the outlook on Tunisia’s government rating to negative from stable.