Trinidadian universal bank First Citizens Bank Ltd. (FCBL) maintains a steady market position as the second largest bank in the country.


  • Trinidadian universal bank First Citizens Bank Ltd. (FCBL) maintains a steady market position as the second largest bank in the country.
  • In our view, the economy in Trinidad and Tobago is still recovering, which limits opportunities for loan growth to the private sector.
  • We're affirming our 'BBB/A-2' ratings on the bank.
  • The stable outlook reflects our expectation that FCBL will maintain its stable market position, very sound capital levels reflected in a projected risk adjusted capital (RAC) ratio at around 15.8% during 2017-2018, and manageable asset quality metrics.

The ratings on FCBL reflect its steady market position as the second largest 
bank in Trinidad and Tobago's (T&T) banking system in terms of loans and 
deposits as well as in a broad range of banking products. The bank has very 
sound capital levels, stemming from our forecasted average RAC ratio of 15.8% 
for 2017 and 2018 thanks to its robust internal capital generation and low 
loan portfolio growth. Despite potential risks from FCBL's high single-name 
loan concentration, we believe the bank has cautious risk management and 
underwriting standards that support its risk position based on its manageable 
asset quality compared to those of its domestic peers. Our ratings also 
reflect FCBL's stable funding, composed mainly of core deposits, and its 
prudent liquidity management that's reflected in its broad liquid assets in 
relation to the bank's short-term wholesale funding. The bank's stand-alone 
credit profile (SACP) remains at 'bbb'.

The bank maintains an important role for--and a strong link to--the 
government, but our ratings don't incorporate any uplift of support, according 
to our criteria for government-related entities (GREs). As a result, we 
believe there is a moderately high likelihood of sufficient and timely 
extraordinary government support to FCBL in the event of severe financial 
distress. We base our assessment on FCBL's current market position in T&T and 
its steady market share. We also consider FCBL's strong link to the government 
given the latter's high participation in the bank's shares. 

FCBL is the only operative company of First Citizens Holding Ltd. (FCHL), the 
bank's holding group. FCHL, a non-operating company, doesn't have debt that 
could represent a potential leverage risk.