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Fitch affirms Citibank Korea's ratings

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Fitch affirms Citibank Korea's ratings

Fitch Ratings affirmed Citibank Korea Inc.'s long-term issuer default rating atA-, with a stable outlook.

The rating agency also affirmed the bank's short-term issuerdefault rating at "F1", viability rating at bbb+, and support ratingat 1.

The affirmation reflects an extremely high probability thatthe bank will receive support from its parent, , if needed. Fitchsaid its view is based on the bank's strategically important role withinCitigroup Inc.'sinternational banking operation and its integrated risk management.

The bank's viability rating reflects the South Korean bank'sstrong capitalization and strong ordinary support from Citigroup. It alsoreflects the bank's declining local franchise and relatively weakprofitability, as well as loan quality that is worse than the industry average,the rating agency said.

The rating agency may downgrade Citibank Korea's viabilityrating if the lender's shrinking franchise and high cost base lead to a furtherweakening in its business model. An upgrade of the bank's viability rating isunlikely in the near future.