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DUFF & PHELPS CREDIT RATING CO. UPGRADES SEVERAL BANK RATINGS

 CHICAGO, Feb. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Duff & Phelps Credit Rating Co. has upgraded and/or added to Rating Watch -- Favorable several bank holding companies and subsidiary banks. These most recent actions follow favorable rating actions taken by Duff & Phelps Credit Rating Co. regarding several bank holding companies in May of 1992 and November of 1992.
 Importantly, while rating upgrades in 1992 were generally limited to lower rated companies and reflected progress made in resolving serious asset quality problems, today's rating actions include certain higher rated institutions, such as PNC Bank Corp. and Manufacturers and Traders Trust Company, the lead bank subsidiary of First Empire State Corporation. "These higher rated companies weathered the recent cyclical deterioration without impairment to their financial condition reflecting their strong defensive characteristics, including above average core earnings, large capital ratios, strong liquidity and solid loan loss reserves. Further, we view these companies as having improved their competitive positions which will enhance future performance," said Charles J. Orabutt, a group vice president of Duff & Phelps.
 Today's rating actions also include a number of companies which were upgraded in 1992. The upgrades in 1992 reflected in many situations management instituting specific programs to enhance the balance sheet, including the issuance of equity and/or aggressive problem asset disposition programs. The most recent upgrades recognize further balance sheet strengthening, but also incorporate an improvement in earnings performance and our expectation for further progress in profitability.
 Following is a summary of rating upgrades and Rating Watch additions by company:
 Company Security Class From To
 Bank of Boston Corp. Senior Debt BBB BBB+
 Subordinated Debt BBB- BBB
 Preferred Stock BB+ BBB-
 Commercial Paper Duff-2 Duff-1-
 First National Bank Long-Term Ctfs. of Deposit BBB+ A-
 of Boston Subordinated Notes BBB BBB+
 Short-Term Ctfs. of Deposit Duff-2 Duff-1-
 Bank of Boston continues to exhibit strong improvement in its asset quality measures. This trend has enabled management to reduce asset quality charges and improve reported earnings. These factors coupled with previous steps taken by management to strengthen the balance sheet have led to an overall improvement in the company's risk profile.
 Company Security Class From To
 Manufacturers &
 Traders Trust Co. Long-Term Ctfs. of Deposit A A+
 Short-Term Ctfs. of Deposit Reaffirm Duff-1
 Manufacturers and Traders Trust Company's (M&T) is the principal banking subsidiary of First Empire State Corporation. Three government- assisted acquisitions in 1990-91 have improved funding measures, which in turn has improved the bank's earning power. Asset quality has remained above average during the current cycle, and reserve protection of non-performing loans is very strong. M&T is also well capitalized.
 Company Security Class From To
 Crestar Financial Corp. Senior Debt BBB BBB+
 Subordinated Debt BBB- BBB
 Preferred Stock BB+ BBB-
 Commercial Paper Reaffirm Duff-2
 Crestar Bank Long-Term Ctfs. of Deposit BBB+ A-
 Short-Term Ctfs. of Deposit Duff-2 Duff-1-
 The upgrade of Crestar is based on improved asset quality, enhanced capitalization, and stabilized earnings. Crestar's non-performing assets have declined a sizable $172 million or 41 percent from their peak in the third quarter 1991, and were a manageable 3.32 percent of loans and foreclosed property at yearend 1992. Although charge-offs remained above normalized levels, we were encouraged that positive cures (sales and paydowns) exceeded the inflow of new problem assets since the third quarter 1991. The improved flows have allowed credit costs to contract throughout 1992, and produced a steady rise in the ROA to 0.92 percent in fourth quarter 1992. Improved earnings retention and capital raising efforts over the past year boosted Crestar's tangible common equity to asset ratio to an above average 6.60 percent.
 Company Security Class From To
 Signet Banking Corp. Senior Debt BBB- BBB
 Subordinated Debt BB+ BBB-
 Commercial Paper Reaffirm Duff-2
 Signet Bank-VA Long-Term Ctfs. of Deposit BBB BBB+
 Short-Term Ctfs. of Deposit Reaffirm Duff-2
 Signet Bank-MD Long-Term Ctfs. of Deposit BBB- BBB
 Short-Term Ctfs. of Deposit Duff-3 Duff-2
 This upgrade reflects Signet's continued success in reducing problem asset levels, improved profitability, and maintenance of above average capital and reserve coverage levels. Non-performing assets of $181 million, or 3.08 percent of loans and foreclosed property at yearend 1992, represented a 48 percent decline from the peak level at Sept. 30, 1991. The sizable reserves established at the end of 1991 in anticipation of an aggressive asset disposition program have absorbed heavy charges, but appear to remain adequate to cover potential future losses. The reserve coverage of non-current loans (includes loans past due 90 days or more) was better than average at 147 percent at yearend 1992. The significant reserve building in 1991, has allowed loan loss provisions to return to normalized levels in 1992, which, in turn, has produced a steady rise in the ROA to 1.14 percent in the fourth quarter 1992.
 Company Security Class From To
 Midlantic Corp. Senior Debt B B+
 Subordinated Debt B- B
 Midlantic National Bank Long-Term Ctfs. of Deposit B+ B+
 Short-Term Ctfs. of Deposit Reaffirm Duff-4
 Continental Bank, (PA) Long-Term Ctfs. of Deposit B+ BB-
 Short-Term Ctfs. of Deposit Reaffirm Duff-4
 The upgrades reflect the continuing progress in strengthening balance sheet measures including asset quality, reserve coverage and capitalization, as well as the improvement in core earning power. MIDL's core profitability has been at the breakeven point for three quarters and problem asset flows have continued to improve over the same timeframe. Both of these measures are strong indicators that the MIDL's operating fundamentals are stabilizing. MIDL's ratings remain within speculative grades due to the significant level of problem assets, the weak local economy and marginal profitability prospects near-term.
 The following companies were added to Rating Watch -- Favorable:
 Company Security Class Rating
 PNC Bank Corp. Senior Debt A+
 Sub. Notes/Conv. Sub Debs. A
 Preferred Stock A-
 PNC Funding Corp. Notes/Medium-Term Notes A+
 Subordinated Notes A
 Commercial Paper Duff-1+
 PNC Int'l. Fin. Services Senior Debt (Shelf) A+
 PNC Bank Bank Notes AA-
 Long-Term Ctf. of Deposits AA-
 Certificate of Deposit Duff-1+
 The placement of PNC on Rating Watch -- Favorable recognizes the significant strides taken by management to purge the company's balance sheet of credit problems while at the same time enhancing defensive strengths. The final issue to be addressed revolves around the timing and magnitude for the disposition of PNC's remaining non-performing assets.
 Company Security Class Rating
 First Interstate Bancorp Notes/Debentures BBB+
 Sub. Notes/Sub. Cap. Notes BBB
 Preferred Stock BBB-
 First Interstate
 Bank of Arizona, N.A. Long-Term Ctfs. of Deposit BBB+
 Certificate of Deposit Duff-2
 First Interstate
 Bank of CA Long-Term Ctfs. of Deposit BBB+
 Certificate of Deposit Duff-2
 First Interstate
 Bank of Oregon, N.A. Long-Term Ctfs. of Deposit A-
 Certificate of Deposit Duff-1
 First Interstate
 Bank of Texas, N.A. Long-Term Ctfs. of Deposit A-
 Certificate of Deposit Duff-1
 First Interstate
 Bank of Washington Long-Term Ctfs. of Deposit A-
 Certificate of Deposit Duff-1
 The placement of First Interstate on Rating Watch -- Favorable underscores the significant improvement in the company's asset quality and earnings. While the economic downturn in California has negatively affected the company's lead bank, early and aggressive action by management has largely contained the problem. Looking forward, we expect residual problems in California to be resolved in the near-term, removing the final obstacle to the company's recovery plan.
 -0- 2/25/93
 /CONTACT: Charles J. Orabutt, Jr., CPA of Duff & Phelps Credit Rating Company, 212-908-0200/ ~ CO: ST: IN: FIN SU: RTG


TS -- NY054 -- 0404 02/25/93 13:00 EST
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