Press Release

JCR-VIS reaffirms ratings of National Bank of Pakistan at AAA/A-1+

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Karachi, June 30, 2015: JCR-VIS Credit Rating Company Limited (JCR-VIS) has reaffirmed the entity ratings of National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) at ‘AAA/A-1+’ (Triple A/A-One Plus) with ‘Stable’ Outlook. The previous rating action was announced on June 30, 2014.

The assigned ratings are driven by the bank’s ownership structure with majority shares held by the Government of Pakistan (GoP) in addition to which security of deposits is guaranteed under the Banks’ Nationalization Act. The assigned ratings also take into account NBP’s role in handling treasury transactions for the GoP as an agent to the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).

The rating also reflects the bank’s positioning as the second largest bank in the country having market share of 13.5% (2013: 13.3%) in domestic deposits. The bank’s strategy, going forward, is focused on enhancing the proportion of non-remunerative deposits in the deposit mix, in addition to achieving overall growth in deposit base, to re-capture its positioning as the largest bank in the country.

Capitalization indicators feature improvement on a timeline basis; continuation of this trend is considered important in the backdrop of increased CET-1 requirements under Basel 3, higher risk charge on unrated exposures and an additional risk charge for Significantly Important Financial Institutions, that may be applicable to the bank. Enhanced retention levels may facilitate in achieving the same. The bank’s Common Equity Tier-1 (CET-1) ratio is currently lower than peer banks.

Over the last five years, NBP’s exposure to the sovereign by way of advances and investments has grown significantly. This includes NBP’s exposure against state owned enterprises (SOEs) undergoing financial stress which has exposed the bank to economic losses. Asset quality indicators of the bank compares less favorably to peers, with net infection median of 1.3% in case of banks rated AAA and AA+ versus NBP’s net infection ratio of 3.1%. In case of domestic loan book, healthy growth has been witnessed in the retail portfolio which now represents around one fifth of the loan book. Given the product structures, infection in the retail segment has been recorded well below industry norms.

Overall profitability posted a sizeable jump in 2014 on the back of increase in net interest income, higher gain on sale of securities and lower provisioning charges. Spreads may come under pressure with maturity of PIBs in 2016, if the low interest rate environment persists. Management plans to pursue aggressive growth in low cost deposits and increase financing in high yielding segments while focusing on recoveries to augment profitability levels. The advances to deposit ratio in the banking sector is considerably low; the current interest rate environment may encourage private sector credit off-take if other concerns of industry players are addressed.

The bank is in the process of implementing its core banking application across all branches. The same is targeted to be completed by year-end’2015. This alongwith implementation of an effective fraud risk management framework will strengthen the control environment at the bank.

For further information on this rating announcement, please contact the undersigned (Ext: 501) or Ms. Sobia Maqbool, CFA (Ext: 604) at 35311861-70 or fax to 35311872-3.

Mohammed Khalid Ali

Applicable rating criterion: PRIMER - Commercial Banks (December 2001)

Information herein was obtained from sources believed to be accurate and reliable; however, VIS Credit Rating Company Limited VIS does not guarantee the accuracy, adequacy or completeness of any information and is not responsible for any errors or omissions or for the results obtained from the use of such information.VIS, the analysts involved in the rating process and members of its rating committee do not have any conflict of interest relating to the rating(s)/ranking(s) mentioned in this report.VIS is not an NRSRO and its credit ratings are not NRSRO credit ratings.VIS is paid a fee for most rating assignments. This rating/ranking is an opinion and is not a recommendation to buy or sell any securities. Copyright 2015 VIS Credit Rating Company Limited. All rights reserved. Contents may be used by news media with credit to VIS.

JCR-VIS Credit Rating Company Limited