S&P Downgrade Irish Banks Again

Standard and Poor’s have again downgraded the Irish banks. The Irish Times story about this is here. The S&P Press releases are here (need to sign up but it’s free.) The reasons for the downgrade of AIB are summarised as follows:

“The negative outlook reflects our view that the quantum and timing of equity raised through recapitalization may not be sufficient to support an ‘A-‘  rating, combined with our expectation of significant losses from the remaining loan book and weak operating income as a result of the challenging economic environment,” said Ms. Curtin.

Negative rating action could occur if we consider that AIB’s recapitalization plans for 2010 are insufficient to adequately recapitalize the bank by our measures or are unlikely to be fully executed in 2010. Negative rating action could also occur if earnings pressures exceed our base-case expectations. The outlook could be revised to stable if there was reduced uncertainty regarding AIB’s ability to restore its capital position to an adequate level in the near term, and greater clarity on the strategic direction of the bank and scope of restructuring.

In relation to Bank of Ireland, the press release states:

“The rating action reflects our opinion of BOI’s prospects in light of our updated view on economic and industry risk in the bank’s core markets, together with our expectations regarding future credit losses,” said Standard & Poor’s credit analyst Giles Edwards.

It also factors in our view of the likely impact of its participation in Ireland’s National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) and associated restructuring and capital raising. We have lowered the ratings due to our view that the environment will remain challenging over the medium term and BOI’s financial profile will be weaker than we had previously expected, with capital expected to be only adequate by our measures and the bank continuing to make losses through 2011. 

S&P’s concerns about future loan losses and capital adequacy of both the major Irish banks are likely to be shared by many potential private equity investors.

21 thoughts on “S&P Downgrade Irish Banks Again”

  1. BJG
    thanks ! And I had a cuppa tea while doing it. The scary thing is the status we would have for hte banks without the guarantee etc…the banks would be definite junk without the guarantee+11b recap + 54b NAMA + …..

  2. S&P’s comment on Anglo re a good and bad bank with lower tier 2 on the hook is interesting. Seems the EU might be pushing matters. If only this had happened 15 months ago.

  3. @Brian Lucey

    I was on the wirless at the time ………. was Mr Blaney T.D. for real in his reference to your usage of the term ‘junk’? My despair index jumped an angstrom! … but only an angstrom.

  4. This is a quote from US citizen George Ure, who claims to predict the future via word counts….independencejournal.com:

    “Fundamentals do come into play at some point and I keep pointing to the most recent (Jan 8) Federal Reserve G-19 Consumer Debt report which shows the annual rate of change for total consumer debt, revolving/credit card debt and nonrevolving (long term longs like school loans) as collapsing: {he has a graph here}

    Yes, that second number down on the right reads -18.5% percent annualized which so far most seem to be overlooking. ”

    Banks multiplier is less than one and declining in the US ………
    Investment rating seems to be getting more accurate! The real economy has to find its real size, which is far less than the bubble size. Isn’t economics called the dismal science for a reason?

  5. The sooner the main banks raise their interest rates the sooner they will return to profitability.

    BOI offer a mortgage at 2.6%, AIB 2.4%, NIB currently around 3.65%. NIB refused to lower its rates below this as it was unprofitable. So perhaps the main banks should increase their lowest rates by at least 1%.

    This will result in pain for existing mortgage holders, but will help getting the banks a bit closer to “being in the black”.

    There are increasing voices being made in the media that this indeed will happen over the next few weeks / months.

  6. @Sporthog: It will likely also lead to more defaulting mortgages and more immediate losses for banks. It will likely also contribute to a further fall in property prices. Not that there s anything wrong with it! But just pointing out the possible consequences.

  7. @Sporthog

    I agree with Garo ……. time to drop this illusion of the essentialist ‘ALL’ – it’s an abstract illusion in economics, if useful at times, and it doesn’t exist in real life – there are degrees of winners here and degrees of losers here ……. far far more of the latter such as Joe and Joan citizen, who cannot get healthcare for their arthrytic children, struggle to pay their bills, and who see their older offspring forced into emigration ……. appropriating the ‘greeen jersey’ is one of the most blatant of these obfuscations …..it really p1***s me off…… as for some of the sitting-pretty winners – well I’d like to see them go 10 rounds with the front row of any Irish scrum you can think of …………. then we might observe if they are fit to wear ‘the’ jersey ………

  8. @ Garo, Dave O’Donnell,

    I don’t have infinite access to every bodys personal finances / situation etc. Hence I cannot exactly specify who is o.k. and who is going to lose out the most etc. Hence I tend to write in general terms when using the word “we”.

    Obviously some people will come through this recession o.k. but the majority of people are financially hurting, some have taken a real beating in losing their jobs and even their homes. I do have sympathy for these people who are facing these severe difficulties.

    Because of the mountain of debt that now exists in Ireland, we will be living with damage for years to come.

    How many times have we heard it before, the crisis of the 1980’s has given us the health service we have today, and the water infrastructure and so on and on.

    In relation to the mortgage point raised above, those on trackers will be o.k. those on variable rates will have to subsidise the loss that the bank has made or is incurring for the trackers.

    Regardsless of what rate your mortgage is on, if you lose your job and cannot make repayments the situation is grim. In general terms there are going to be a lot of losers, that depresses me, as I am sure it does to others as well. I accept some people will be o.k. and I don’t begrudge them for that.

    While I am fortunate in having a job, and still maintain an ability to pay the mortgage I still lose out on the extra taxation which I have to pay, just like everybody else.

  9. @Sporthog

    Nothing personal Sporthog – and I can live with the ‘general WE’ – simply a language-analytic clarification – essentialist language is a key tool of political obfuscatory spin and legalese stay-out-of-de-Joy strategies for many of the winners ……… most losers, such as Joe and Joan, have little choice but to ‘grin an’ bear’ it.

    Essentialist drift ……….

    … ‘… just like everybody else’. – an there you go again (-;

  10. What is the value of the €7,000,000,000 given by Fianna Fail and the Green Party to AIB and BOI right now.

    Answers on a postcard.

    I’m thinking that’s €7,000,000,000 right down the toilet.

    And yes that’s where the Bondholders live.

    You can take it that the €4,000,000,000 given by Fianna Fail and the Green Party to Anglo Irish Bank is now and (they knew it when they gave it) was to feed the people who live in the toilet.

    Now, global macroeconomic deceit aside, can anybody and I mean ANYBODY tell me why Irish Citizens should (having already given €11,000,000,000 to these bottom dwellers) give one cent more.

    Another €6,000,000,000 to the bondholders of Anglo Irish Bank?

    There’s something really sick about this.

    And I’m calling it TREASON.

    Who disagrees that this is TREASON?

  11. @ Greg,

    I read your post above and I ask myself the same questions. I accept the point you are trying to make.

    However it’s clear the Govt are giving the money away for some reason. Otherwise they would not do it.

    I ask you what would be the consequences of Ireland not bailing out the banks, or just bailing them out enough but not entirely, i.e. burn those bondholders lower down the pecking list etc etc?

    Does the Dept of Finance know something that we don’t?

    Let me put it another way… Does the country have a gun to its head?

  12. @ Sporthog

    look at the, albeit extreme, example of Iceland – it creates a huge amount of foreign-based losses and gets hit with anti-terror legislation and pariah status. The IMF isn’t even able to bail them out until the UK and Dutch give the nod.

    I’m not saying something on this scale would occur if we hammered the vast array of German, French and Austrian pension funds who apparently own a lot of our bank debt, but i’d say there’d be some serious blowback, as well as a fairly decent chance of the funding flow to both the sovereign and the banking system freezing up completely. This notion that we would in fact be ‘rewarded’ for enforcing losses on the bondholders, a notion repeatedly voiced on here, is in my mind bizarre and completely incorrect.

  13. @ Eoin,

    The Realpolitik of global diplomacy…..I don’t like it. But I suspect you are correct.

    However if the blowback was to cause less damage than paying the money back in the first place, then it might be a worthwhile calculated risk. Provided of course one could quantify the risk in the first place, which I doubt would be possible.

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