Banking News

Swiss Banks: S&P Ratings Sink

December 2, 2014 - Benjamin Manz

As expected, international rating agency Standard & Poor’s has lowered its ratings of Migros bank and five Swiss cantonal banks.

Cantonal banks with lower ratings

Aargauische Kantonalbank (AKB), the Basellandschaftliche Kantonalbank (BLKB), the Graubündner Kantonalbank (GKB), the Luzerner Kantonalbank (LUKB) and the Schwyzer Kantonalbank (SZKB) all saw their ratings decrease.

The stand-alone rating of the Migros Bank was also lowered from a to a-.

The stand-alone credit profile (SACP) for all affected banks was lowered from aa- to a+. General long term and short term ratings have changed as follows:

Aargauische Kantonalbank: AA+/Stable/A-1+ (previously: AAA/Negative/A-1+)
Basellandschaftliche Kantonalbank: AA/Stable/A-1+ (previously: AA+/Negative/A-1+)
Graubündner Kantonalbank: AA/Stable/A-1+ (previously: AA+/Negative/A-1+)
Luzerner Kantonalbank: AA/Stable/A-1+ (previously: AA+/Negative/A-1+)
Schwyzer Kantonalbank: AA+/Stable/A-1+ (previously: AAA/Negative/A-1+)
Migros Bank: A-/Stable/A-2 (previously: A/Negative/A-1)

Real estate dependence the reason behind rating changes

According to S&P, the banks’ dependence on the Swiss real estate market is the primary factor behind the rating cuts. From the rating agency’s point of view, the steady increase in Swiss property prices makes the Swiss real estate market vulnerable to possible price adjustments.

Safe Swiss banks

As a whole, S&P rates the Swiss market as “low-risk” compared to global norms. When compared internationally, the Swiss banking system remains one of the world’s most stable, according to the rating agency.

See Swiss bank ratings now

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Expert Benjamin Manz
Benjamin Manz is CEO of and an independent expert on banking and finance.