Moody’s Investors Service (“Moody’s”) has downgraded the Baseline Credit Assessments (BCAs), the long-term ratings and the Counterparty Risk Assessments (CRAs) of six Canadian banks and their affiliates, reflecting Moody’s expectation of a more challenging operating environment for banks in Canada for the remainder of 2017 and beyond, that could lead to a deterioration in the banks’ asset quality, and increase their sensitivity to external shocks.
The banks affected are: Toronto-Dominion Bank, Bank of Montreal, Bank of Nova Scotia, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, National Bank of Canada, and Royal Bank of Canada.
The BCAs, long-term debt and deposit ratings and CRAs of the banks and their affiliates were downgraded by 1 notch, excepting only Toronto-Dominion Bank’s CRA, which was affirmed. The short term Prime-1 ratings of the Canadian banks were affirmed. All relevant ratings for these banks continue to have negative outlooks, reflecting the expected introduction of an operational resolution regime in Canada.
“Today’s downgrade of the Canadian banks reflects our ongoing concerns that expanding levels of private-sector debt could weaken asset quality in the future. Continued growth in Canadian consumer debt and elevated housing prices leaves consumers, and Canadian banks, more vulnerable to downside risks facing the Canadian economy than in the past.” said David Beattie, a Moody’s Senior Vice President.
In the same action, Moody’s affirmed the BCAs, long-term ratings and CRAs of CIBC Mellon Trust (CIBC Mellon), the Fédération des caisses Desjardins du Québec (the Fédération) and Caisse centrale Desjardins.
In view of today’s actions, Moody’s does not expect any upward rating pressure on the affected banks in the near term. However, the Canadian banks’ ratings could be revised upwards if macro-economic conditions in Canada improve and the Canadian banks maintain sound financial metrics.
The affected banks’ ratings could be downgraded if their fundamentals weaken, as evidenced by an even more challenging operating environment and/or deterioration in their financial metrics.