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Fitch affirms BBVA Chile

Fitch Ratings on Feb. 1 affirmed the national scale ratings of Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria Chile SA at AA(cl), with a stable outlook.

The ratings reflect the high probability of support from the bank's parent, Spain's Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA, as Fitch considers the Chilean unit strategically important for BBVA.

The bank's conservative lending practices, and the predominance of commercial loans and mortgages in its portfolio, mean the bank has historically shown good asset quality, the rating agency noted.

The bank's profitability, however, has tended to be below its peers due its small scale of operations and lower financial margin given the composition of its loan portfolio and higher funding costs.

Even so, the bank has reasonable levels of liquidity, including liquid assets from deposits and other sources of short-term funding, Fitch noted.

As of November 2016, the bank had a 6.1% share of total loans in the Chilean banking industry and 6.2% of deposits with a focus on retail banking.