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Moody's takes action on South African lenders, Old Mutual unit

Moody's on May 10 took actions on various ratings ofStandard Bank of South AfricaLtd., FirstRandLtd. unit FirstRandBank Ltd., BarclaysPlc unit Absa BankLtd., Nedbank GroupLtd. unit NedbankLtd., and InvestecLtd. unit InvestecBank Ltd.

The agency downgraded Absa Bank's baseline and adjustedbaseline credit assessment to "baa3" from "baa2" and its counterpartyrisk assessment to Baa2(cr) from Baa1(cr). The lender's P-2(cr) counterpartyrisk assessment and Baa2/Prime-2 long- and short-term foreign- andlocal-currency deposit ratings were confirmed.

The agency also confirmed various ratings of the other banks.

The outlook on the five banks' ratings is negative,reflecting the negative outlook assigned to South Africa's sovereign rating andthe impairment risks that the lenders will continue to face in the next 12 to18 months given the challenging operating environment.

Moody's said separately May 10 that it confirmed the Baa1insurance financial strength rating of Old Mutual Plc unit Old Mutual Life Assurance Co. (South Africa) Ltd., witha negative outlook.

The agency noted that Old Mutual Wealth Life AssuranceLtd.'s A2 insurance financial strength rating and Old Mutual Plc's Baa3 seniordebt rating are not affected by the ratings action and will remain on reviewfor downgrade.

The ratings actions, which follow the of South Africa's Baa2long-term government bond and issuer ratings, conclude the for downgrade of the five SouthAfrican lenders and Old Mutual Life Assurance Co. that started March 10.