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Fitch affirms Heartland Bank's ratings

Fitch Ratings affirmed Heartland Bank Ltd.'s long-term issuer default rating atBBB, with stable outlook.

The rating agency said Oct. 10 that it also affirmed thebank's short-term issuer default rating at F2 and its viability rating at"bbb."

The ratings affirmation reflects the bank's improvedunderwriting standards and risk-controls, Fitch said. The rating agency notedthat the lender has a strong net interest margin relative to peers, offsettingthe higher risk associated with some of its lending products.

Fitch said the bank's ratings are sensitive to changes inits risk appetite, as well as its funding and liquidity positions. A moreaggressive growth strategy over a long period may weaken the bank's financialprofile and pressure its ratings. An upgrade in the bank's ratings is notlikely in the short- to medium-term, the rating agency added.