13.11.2012 07:30
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Moody's on LIBOR allegations: litigation costs remain uncertain, but are a greater risk to bank ratings than regulatory sanctions

New York, November 13, 2012 -- Any future regulatory fines against banks from their alleged manipulation of the London Inter Bank Offered Rate (LIBOR) would likely be absorbable within each bank's annual earnings and would therefore not be significant enough to prompt rating actions, says Moody's Investors Service in a new report published today. However, losses from potential litigation over the alleged manipulation, though highly uncertain and difficult to quantify, could turn out to be much larger than any regulatory fines, and would therefore be more likely to have credit-negative rating implications.

The new report, "Lingering LIBOR Risks and Potential Impact on Bank Ratings", is now available on www.moodys.com. Moody's subscribers can access this report via the link provided at the end of this press release.

Moody's report describes the LIBOR rate-setting process, details the alleged misconduct, and highlights credit and litigation risks facing the LIBOR panel banks. In addition, Moody's assesses potential near-term developments -- such as additional settlements or lawsuits, class action suits and judicial decisions -- that the rating agency believes could increase the risk of losses or franchise damage.

Moody's considers that the potential risks to firms fall into the following categories (1) regulatory fines/penalties; (2) litigation settlements; and (3) other (reputational damage, management upheaval, strategic changes).

Moody's does not believe that the imposition of regulatory fines is likely to prompt rating actions. However, Moody's says that negative pressure on LIBOR panel banks' ratings could develop following (1) associated management upheaval and/or strategic changes; and/or (2) revelations of previously unidentified risk-management or control failures. With litigation efforts in their very early stages, Moody's says that the magnitude of any monetary damages or settlements is difficult to quantify, but they could ultimately have credit-negative implications.

Moody's notes that the largest LIBOR panel banks have more earnings and capital with which to absorb potential losses. However, those banks are not necessarily less vulnerable than the smaller banks, especially if higher absolute transaction levels associated with the larger banks lead to larger litigation losses.

Given the fluid nature of the current investigations and pending litigation, Moody's intends to monitor the ongoing developments and will use the framework described in this report as a basis to consider the potential credit implications. Well before any final court decision or legal settlements are reached, Moody's would expect numerous related legal and regulatory developments over an extended timeframe. This will bring greater clarity to the likely impact of regulatory fines, potential litigation losses and penalties on LIBOR panel banks' credit profiles.

Subscribers can access this report via this link: http://www.moodys.com/research/Lingering-LIBOR-Risks-and-Potential-Impact-on-Bank-Ratings--PBC_147101. ***

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS ONLY: For more information, please call one of our global press information hotlines: New York+1-212-553-0376, London+44-20-7772-5456, Tokyo+813-5408-4110, Hong Kong+852-3758-1350, Sydney+61-2-9270-8141, Mexico City001-888-779-5833, São Paulo 0800-891-2518, or Buenos Aires0800-666-3506. You can also email us at mediarelations@moodys.com or visit our web site at www.moodys.com.

Geoffrey Richards Senior Vice President Credit Policy Group250 Greenwich StreetNew York, NY 10007 U.S.A. David Fanger Senior Vice President Financial Institutions Group JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376 SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653 Releasing Office: Moody's Investors Service, Inc.250 Greenwich StreetNew York, NY 10007 U.S.A. JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376 SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653(C) 2012 Moody's Investors Service, Inc. and/or its licensors and affiliates (collectively, "MOODY'S"). All rights reserved.

CREDIT RATINGS ISSUED BY MOODY'S INVESTORS SERVICE, INC. ("MIS") AND ITS AFFILIATES ARE MOODY'S CURRENT OPINIONS OF THE RELATIVE FUTURE CREDIT RISK OF ENTITIES, CREDIT COMMITMENTS, OR DEBT OR DEBT-LIKE SECURITIES, AND CREDIT RATINGS AND RESEARCH PUBLICATIONS PUBLISHED BY MOODY'S ("MOODY'S PUBLICATIONS") MAY INCLUDE MOODY'S CURRENT OPINIONS OF THE RELATIVE FUTURE CREDIT RISK OF ENTITIES, CREDIT COMMITMENTS, OR DEBT OR DEBT-LIKE SECURITIES. MOODY'S DEFINES CREDIT RISK AS THE RISK THAT AN ENTITY MAY NOT MEET ITS CONTRACTUAL, FINANCIAL OBLIGATIONS AS THEY COME DUE AND ANY ESTIMATED FINANCIAL LOSS IN THE EVENT OF DEFAULT. CREDIT RATINGS DO NOT ADDRESS ANY OTHER RISK, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO: LIQUIDITY RISK, MARKET VALUE RISK, OR PRICE VOLATILITY. CREDIT RATINGS AND MOODY'S OPINIONS INCLUDED IN MOODY'S PUBLICATIONS ARE NOT STATEMENTS OF CURRENT OR HISTORICAL FACT. CREDIT RATINGS AND MOODY'S PUBLICATIONS DO NOT CONSTITUTE OR PROVIDE INVESTMENT OR FINANCIAL ADVICE, AND CREDIT RATINGS AND MOODY'S PUBLICATIONS ARE NOT AND DO NOT PROVIDE RECOMMENDATIONS TO PURCHASE, SELL, OR HOLD PARTICULAR SECURITIES. NEITHER CREDIT RATINGS NOR MOODY'S PUBLICATIONS COMMENT ON THE SUITABILITY OF AN INVESTMENT FOR ANY PARTICULAR INVESTOR. MOODY'S ISSUES ITS CREDIT RATINGS AND PUBLISHES MOODY'S PUBLICATIONS WITH THE EXPECTATION AND UNDERSTANDING THAT EACH INVESTOR WILL MAKE ITS OWN STUDY AND EVALUATION OF EACH SECURITY THAT IS UNDER CONSIDERATION FOR PURCHASE, HOLDING, OR SALE.

ALL INFORMATION CONTAINED HEREIN IS PROTECTED BY LAW, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO, COPYRIGHT LAW, AND NONE OF SUCH INFORMATION MAY BE COPIED OR OTHERWISE REPRODUCED, REPACKAGED, FURTHER TRANSMITTED, TRANSFERRED,DISSEMINATED, REDISTRIBUTED OR RESOLD, OR STORED FOR SUBSEQUENT USE FOR ANY SUCH PURPOSE, IN WHOLE OR IN PART, IN ANY FORM OR MANNER OR BY ANY MEANS WHATSOEVER, BY ANY PERSON WITHOUT MOODY'S PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT.

All information contained herein is obtained by MOODY'S from sources believed by it to be accurate and reliable. Because of the possibility of human or mechanical error as well as other factors, however, all information contained herein is provided "AS IS" without warranty of any kind. MOODY'S adopts all necessary measures so that the information it uses in assigning a credit rating is of sufficient quality and from sources MOODY'S considers to be reliable including, when appropriate, independent third-party sources. However, MOODY'S is not an auditor and cannot in every instance independently verify or validate information received in the rating process. Under no circumstances shall MOODY'S have any liability to any person or entity for (a) any loss or damage in whole or in part caused by, resulting from, or relating to, any error negligent or otherwise or other circumstance or contingency within or outside the control of MOODY'S or any of its directors, officers, employees or agents in connection with the procurement, collection, compilation, analysis, interpretation, communication, publication or delivery of any such information, or (b) any direct, indirect, special, consequential, compensatory or incidental damages whatsoever (including without limitation, lost profits), even if MOODY'S is advised in advance of the possibility of such damages, resulting from the use of or inability to use, any such information. The ratings, financial reporting analysis, projections, and other observations, if any, constituting part of the information contained herein are, and must be construed solely as, statements of opinion and not statements of fact or recommendations to purchase, sell or hold any securities. Each user of the information contained herein must make its own study and evaluation of each security it may consider purchasing, holding or selling.

NO WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, AS TO THE ACCURACY, TIMELINESS, COMPLETENESS, MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR ANY PARTICULAR PURPOSE OF ANY SUCH RATING OR OTHER OPINION OR INFORMATION IS GIVEN OR MADE BY MOODY'S IN ANY FORM OR MANNER WHATSOEVER.

MIS, a wholly-owned credit rating agency subsidiary of Moody's Corporation ("MCO"), hereby discloses that most issuers of debt securities (including corporate and municipal bonds, debentures, notes and commercial paper) and preferred stock rated by MIS have, prior to assignment of any rating, agreed to pay to MIS for appraisal and rating services rendered by it fees ranging from $1,500 to approximately $2,500,000. MCO and MIS also maintain policies and procedures to address the independence of MIS's ratings and rating processes. Information regarding certain affiliations that may exist between directors of MCO and rated entities, and between entities who hold ratings from MIS and have also publicly reported to the SEC an ownership interest in MCO of more than 5%, is posted annually at www.moodys.com under the heading "Shareholder Relations -- Corporate Governance -- Director and Shareholder Affiliation Policy."

Any publication into Australia of this document is by MOODY'S affiliate, Moody's Investors Service Pty Limited ABN 61 003 399 657, which holds Australian Financial Services License no. 336969. This document is intended to be provided only to "wholesale clients" within the meaning of section 761G of the Corporations Act 2001. By continuing to access this document from within Australia, you represent to MOODY'S that you are, or are accessing the document as a representative of, a "wholesale client" and that neither you nor the entity you represent will directly or indirectly disseminate this document or its contents to "retail clients" within the meaning of section 761G of the Corporations Act 2001.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, credit ratings assigned on and after October 1, 2010 by Moody's Japan K.K. ("MJKK") are MJKK's current opinions of the relative future credit risk of entities, credit commitments, or debt or debt-like securities. In such a case, "MIS" in the foregoing statements shall be deemed to be replaced with "MJKK". MJKK is a wholly-owned credit rating agency subsidiary of Moody's Group Japan G.K., which is wholly owned by Moody's Overseas Holdings Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of MCO.

This credit rating is an opinion as to the creditworthiness or a debt obligation of the issuer, not on the equity securities of the issuer or any form of security that is available to retail investors. It would be dangerous for retail investors to make any investment decision based on this credit rating. If in doubt you should contact your financial or other professional adviser.

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