The deal was halted and subsequently reversed. NSB’s rating reflects Fitch’s expectation of timely support from the government of Sri Lanka, if required, given its state ownership, significant policy mandate and systemic importance.
Fitch is of the view that state support is likely to flow to benefit both deposits and senior unsecured creditors due to the confidence risk that could potentially undermine systemic stability, the statement said. “NSB’s stipulated policy role under the NSB Act is to mobilise retail savings and invest in government securities.
The bank is bound by the Act to invest a minimum of 60% of its deposits in government securities. NSB’s deposits have an explicit guarantee from the government of Sri Lanka. A substantial change in NSB’s policy role and deviation from its mandated core business activities indicating its reduced importance to the government could put downward pressure on NSB’s rating,” it said.
Deposits have been the predominant source of funding for NSB (85.5% of total group assets at end-2011). Borrowing accounted for a further 6%, comprising largely of repo borrowings of 5.9%. NSB’s holding of government securities accounted for 67% of its total assets and represented about 43% of the banking system’s exposure to government securities at end- 2011.