S&P ASSIGNS CREDITO BERGAMASCO A/A-1 RTG. OTLK STBL.

Business Editors 
PARIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Standard & Poor's CreditWire 10/19/98--
Standard & Poor's today assigned its single-'A' long-term and 'A-1'
short-term counterparty ratings to Credito Bergamasco (Creberg). The
outlook is stable. 
The ratings reflect the bank's healthy profitability, stable
funding base, sound credit-risk management, and strong capitalization.
It also reflects its membership of the Banca Popolare di Verona -
Banco S. Geminiano e S. Prospero SCRL group (BPV-BSGSP, rated
'A/Stable/A-1'), which acquired a controlling stake in Creberg's
capital from French bank Credit Lyonnais in 1997. Creberg's
acquisition fits in well with BPV-BSGSP's strategy of expanding into
areas neighboring its home base in northeastern Italy. 
Standard & Poor's believes that Creberg will benefit from its
integration into its new parent group because of economies of scale
following the merger of information systems and asset management
activities, and because of the widening of its product range, notably
the distribution of insurance products developed by Societa Cattolica
di Assicurazione, its second-largest shareholder with 11.44% of
capital. 
With Italian lira (ITL) 12.7 trillion (US$7.2 billion at ITL1,760
to US$1) in total assets at year-end 1997, Creberg is a second-tier
bank in Italy. The bank has, however, a strong franchise in its home
base, the province of Bergamo, where it has a market share of 13.9% of
loans and 13% of deposits. Creberg's core business is banking services
for small and midsize businesses and individuals. 
The bank is firmly customer focused. Its deep knowledge of its
local market combined with effective risk management has enabled
Creberg to stabilize its asset-quality ratios at levels that are well
above the Italian system average and in line with those of the best
regional banks in the country. Its return on adjusted equity has
exceeded 11% since 1996, a good performance by domestic standards,
particularly when its strong capitalization is taken into account. 
Outlook: Stable The outlook reflects Standard & Poor's
expectation that Creberg will maintain its strong financial profile
and develop successful synergies with its parent bank. 
The outlook also reflects Standard & Poor's belief that BPV-BSGSP
will maintain sound fundamentals and remain conservative in its
development strategy. -- CreditWire 



NEW RATING
Credito Bergamasco
Counterparty credit rating    A/Stable/A-1
CD   A/A-1

 
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