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-S&P keeps ratings of First Citizen Bank at BBB+/A-2.

BANKING AND CREDIT NEWS-September 29, 2011--S&P keeps ratings of First Citizen Bank at BBB+/A-2(C)2011 M2 COMMUNICATIONS

29 September 2011 - S&P on Wednesday upheld its BBB+/A-2 counterparty credit ratings on Trinidad and Tobago-based First Citizens Bank Ltd.

The long-term rating bears a "stable" outlook.

The agency also maintained the BBB+ rating on the USD100m (EUR73.5m) bonds issued by First Citizens and First Citizens (St Lucia) Ltd.

The ratings are underpinned by First Citizens' strong position as the third-largest bank in Trinidad and Tobago, its good financial performance, prudent management and diversification efforts.

The ratings also factor in implicit support from the government, given that First Citizens plays an important role to Trinidad and Tobago and has a strong link to the state.

The rater considers there is a "moderately high" likelihood that the government will support the bank in stressful scenarios. Consequently, the bank's rating is one notch above its BBB stand-alone assessment.

On the other hand, the ratings are constrained by the bank's client and industry concentrations and the intense competition in the Caribbean, the service added.

The bank's loan portfolio expansion beyond the energy sector, which is expected to remain weak over the short term, is a major challenge in S&P's view.

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Publication:M2 Banking & Credit News (BCN)
Geographic Code:5TRIN
Date:Sep 29, 2011
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