Moody's Assigns First-Time Ratings to Nigeria's Access Bank

LAGOS, NIGERIA – July 30, 2015 – Access Bank Plc, (Bloomberg: ACCESS NL; Thomson Reuters: ACCESS.LG) (“Access Bank” or the “Bank”), a leading full service commercial bank with headquarters in Nigeria, and operations across major cities and commercial centres in Sub-Saharan Africa, the UK and China, today announces its first-time credit rating by Moody’s Investors Service.

Moody's, a top three global leading rating agency, has assigned first-time foreign currency issuer and local currency deposit ratings of Ba3 with stable outlooks to Access Bank Plc. It also assigned Access Bank a Counterparty Risk Assessment (CRA) of Ba3 (cr) / Not Prime (cr). 

The ratings are underpinned by a b2 Baseline Credit Assessment (BCA) which measure an issuer’s standalone financial strength. According to the agency, “Access Bank's b2 standalone profile reflects (1) solid asset quality metrics, underpinned by tangible improvements in loan underwriting standards and risk management in recent years; (2) robust capital and liquidity buffers, supported by sustainable internal capital generation; and (3) a stable liability structure predominantly funded with deposits”.

The agency further stated that these strengths are balanced against Nigeria's challenging operating environment, which takes into account the strong growth potential of the system and institutional and structural weaknesses, as well as the concentration risks on the Bank's books, including to the oil and gas industry. However, the agency noted that Access Bank is very well positioned to weather the macroeconomic challenges and they expect its standalone credit profile to remain resilient.

According to Moody’s, the long-term deposit and issuer ratings of Ba3 reflects the Bank's Systematically Important Bank (SIB) status in Nigeria as the 5th largest bank in the industry. The Ba3 rating assigned to Access Bank is at the same level as the country’s sovereign rating, which is the highest any local bank in Nigeria can attain.