NBG, Alpha bank ratings confirmed

Ratings agency Fitch affirmed its ratings for two of Greece’s largest banks, National (NBG) and Alpha, with the outlooks on both lenders remaining «stable.» Fears about the financial health of banks worldwide have been rising after a meltdown in the US mortgage market started to spread, prompting some of the biggest names on Wall Street to go out of business, merge or revamp their structure. Fitch kept its A- rating on National, Greece’s largest bank, reflecting the lender’s leading position, resilient revenue base, improved asset capitalization and adequate capitalization overall. «This is balanced by NBG’s significant exposure to volatile emerging markets (notably Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania), its rapid loan growth, both in Greece and abroad, and its exposure to Turkish lira fluctuations due to unhedged capital investments,» said Fitch in a statement. Shares in National Bank, which has a market value of 15.6 billion euros, have lost about 25 percent in the last 12 months. Yesterday its shares retreated 0.63 percent to 31.40 euros. Fitch also kept its A- rating on Alpha Bank, Greece’s third-largest lender, unchanged, reflecting its «strengthened position in the banking system, resilient operating profitability and cost efficiency,» among other factors.

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