JCR-VIS Upgrades Entity Ratings of Samba Bank Limited to A+/A-1 with Stable Outlook

Banking and Finance

Karachi: JCR-VIS Credit Rating Company Ltd has upgraded the entity ratings of Samba Bank Limited (Samba) to ‘A+/A-1’ (Single A Plus/ A – One). Outlook on the assigned ratings is ‘Stable’.

Having achieved break-even on quarterly basis since last quarter of 2010, CY11 is expected to be the first fully profitable year for the bank. Improvement in earning profile of the bank has been on account of growth in revenues, decline in funding cost and steps taken to contain administrative expenses. With increase in proportion of current accounts in the deposit mix, cost of deposits of the bank compares favourably both on a timeline basis and in terms of its relative standing among peer banks. Capital of the bank is considered strong at Rs. 7.95b as of March-end 2011. Minimum regulatory requirement of Rs. 8b for end-December 2011 is expected to be met through internal generation.

The management of the bank is focused on achieving its strategic objective and has consistently demonstrated a prudent approach, in the backdrop of weak macroeconomic fundamentals. Given recent efforts at institution building and sufficient capacity in the bank’s balance sheet to increase leverage, Samba is poised to grow in the coming years. The loan book currently comprises limited number of clients, though features good quality credits; moreover, net infection was also low at year-end 2010. Risk profile of the investment portfolio is considered sound as it primarily comprises short-term government securities. While deposit base of the bank depicts concentration, retail base has increased. Liquidity risk is deemed manageable as liquid assets in relation to total borrowings and deposits remained strong at end-CY10.

Ratings also derive strength from the support of sponsor – Samba Financial Group (SFG). SFG has an outstanding long-term rating of ‘A+’ (Single A Plus) from an international rating agency. In addition to deriving significant benefits in the area of information technology, risk management and policy formulation; timely injection of capital by SFG has facilitated Samba in improving its financial performance.

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