Fitch mantuvo perspectiva negativa a rátings de GNB Sudameris S.A. (GNB) y de Gilex de los Gilinski

Fitch mantuvo perspectiva negativa a rátings de GNB Sudameris S.A. (GNB) y de Gilex de los Gilinski

Nueva York.- Fitch Ratings ratificó las calificaciones de incumplimiento de emisor (IDR) en moneda local y extranjera de largo plazo de Banco GNB Sudameris S.A. (GNB) en ‘BB +’ y la calificación de viabilidad (VR) en ‘bb +’.

Fitch también confirmó las IDR a largo plazo de Gilex Holding S.A. (GH) en ‘BB’. La perspectiva de calificación para GNB y Gilex es negativa. Gilex – de la familia Gilinski – actúa como una sociedad controladora no operativa que depende de los ingresos por dividendos de GNB, controlando el 94,72% de las acciones del banco.

Las IDR de GNB están impulsadas por la VR del banco, que está muy influenciada por los desafiantes entornos operativos (OE) en Colombia, Perú y Paraguay que se deterioraron desde principios de 2020, luego de la propagación de Covid-19. Además, la métrica de capitalización del banco es un factor de gran influencia ya que la suficiencia de capital del banco ha sido ajustada, aunque su capacidad general de absorción de pérdidas se ve parcialmente mejorada por sus amplias reservas para préstamos incobrables, bajo apetito por el riesgo y sólida calidad de activos. La presionada rentabilidad del banco también es un factor de gran influencia en las calificaciones.

La Perspectiva Negativa refleja la opinión de Fitch de que los riesgos a la baja de las implicaciones económicas de la pandemia de Covid 19 y el malestar social actual se mantendrán a lo largo de 2021, lo que se espera que continúe presionando el desempeño, especialmente la rentabilidad y, en menor medida, la calidad de los activos, una vez que el alivio los programas caducan.

La perspectiva negativa también señala riesgos a la baja de ratios de capital muy limitados que casi alcanzan el detonante de una rebaja fijada por Fitch en 8%.

El banco comenzó a publicar sus ratios de capital bajo la guía de Basilea III, presentando un CET1 de 8.17% como esperaba Fitch que incluye los activos ponderados por riesgo (RWA) de la entidad fusionada en Paraguay y el correspondiente incremento en la participación minoritaria. Fitch espera que el índice de capital se mantenga ajustado pero por encima del detonador de la agencia.

La rentabilidad del año completo 2020 fue más débil que el año anterior, ya que se vio afectada por la respuesta de GNB a la pandemia de Covid-19, que aumentó los gastos de crédito y operativos al tiempo que redujo los ingresos. La dirección dio prioridad a garantizar una sólida calidad de los activos y liquidez. Los ingresos operativos sobre los RWA se habían debilitado recientemente al 1.1% en el año 2020 desde el 1.5% del año anterior, sin embargo, las métricas de rentabilidad del primer trimestre de 2021 mostraron una mejora al 1.3%.

Fitch Affirms Banco GNB Sudameris S.A.’s IDRs and Gilex Holding S.A.’s IDRs; Outlook Negative

Fitch Ratings – New York – Fitch Ratings has affirmed Banco GNB Sudameris S.A.’s (GNB) Long-term Local and Foreign Currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs) at ‘BB+’ and Viability Rating (VR) at ‘bb+’. Fitch also has affirmed Gilex Holding S.A.’s (GH) Long-term IDRs at ‘BB’. The Rating Outlook for GNB and GH is Negative.



GNB’s IDRs are driven by the bank’s VR, which is highly influenced by the challenging operating environments (OEs) in Colombia, Peru and Paraguay that deteriorated since early 2020, following the spread of Covid-19. In addition, the bank’s capitalization metric is a high influence factor as the bank’s capital adequacy has been tight although its overall loss absorption capacity is partially enhanced by its ample loan loss reserves, low risk appetite and sound asset quality. The bank’s pressured profitability is also a high-influence factor on the ratings.

The Negative Outlook reflects Fitch’s view that downside risks from the economic implications of the Covid 19 pandemic and current social unrest will remain throughout 2021, which is expected to continue pressuring performance, especially profitability and, to a lesser extent, asset quality, once the relief programs expire. The Negative Outlook also signals downside risks from very limited capital ratios almost reaching the trigger for a downgrade set by the Fitch at 8%.

Capitalization is the weakest link of the ratings. Although common equity Tier 1 (CET1) improved at YE2020 to nearly 8.3% from 7.0% a year earlier, metrics continue to compare well below LatAm peers in the BB category. The increase was part of the strategy to support growth mainly in Paraguay. The bank started publishing its capital ratios under Basel III guidance, presenting a CET1 of 8.17% as expected by Fitch which include the risk-weighted assets (RWA) of the merged entity in Paraguay and the correspondent increase in the minority stake. Fitch expects capital ratio to remain tight but above the agency’s trigger.

Full year 2020 profitability was weaker than the previous year as it was affected by GNB’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic which increased credit and operating expenses while lowering revenues. Management gave priority to ensuring strong asset quality and liquidity. Operating revenues over RWAs had recently weakened to 1.1% at YE 2020 from 1.5% a year earlier, however, first quarter 2021 profitability metrics showed an improvement to 1.3%.

Historical profitability had also been affected by the bank’s conservative risk appetite that existed prior to the pandemic. An improved operating environment which provides sustainable earnings diversification and further efficiency improvements are expected to support the bank’s future performance.

Asset quality remains strong and compares very well to domestic and regional peers. Fitch expects the bank’s conservative policies, relatively robust underwriting standards, and adequate risk controls to contribute toward maintaining solid asset quality in the foreseeable future. As of March 31, 2021, the 90-day past due loan (PDL) ratio remains strong at 2.3% and was covered by loan loss reserves representing 165% of PDLs. The bank’s asset quality ratios in all three markets compare well to local peers. The bank’s Peruvian subsidiary was affected by impairments in its mortgage portfolio but the underlying guarantees, loan loss reserves and the expected improvement in that economy should mitigate potential charge-offs.

GNB is amply funded by customer deposits. The moderate franchise limits the bank’s competitive advantages and generally influences the funding cost. Deposits come primarily from institutional and public investors, resulting in higher funding costs and higher concentrations by depositors, compared to banks with a wider retail deposit base. Slightly over half of GNB’s consolidated assets are in the form of cash and liquid securities, as the bank is a market maker of government securities in Colombia.

These holdings also contribute toward fulfilling the treasury services the bank provides to institutional customers, while further enhancing its overall funding and liquidity strategy. The bank’s liquidity ratios are among the strongest top three in the industry (LCR stood at 204% as of December 2020). The loan to customer deposits ratio was at a very conservative level of 60% at YE 2020 and 63% at March 2021.


The bank’s Support Rating (SR) of ‘4’ and Support Rating Floor (SRF) of ‘B+’ are driven by its moderate systemic importance as a market maker, its payroll lending Colombian market share of 9% and the growing share of retail deposits, although still modest at 4% when compared to local systemically important banks. Fitch believes there is limited probability that the bank would receive sovereign support if needed, which underpins its SR and SRF. SRFs indicate the minimum level to which the entity’s long-term IDRs could fall if Fitch does not change its view on potential sovereign support.


GNB’s subordinated debt and Tier 2 subordinated debt are rated two notches below its VR to reflect their subordinated status and expected high loss severity. The rating on the Tier 2 notes does not incorporate incremental non-performance risk, given the relatively low write-off trigger (Regulatory CET1 ratio at or below 4.5%) and also considering the fact that coupons are not deferrable or cancellable before the principal write-off trigger is activated.

Gilex Holding S.A. IDRs and senior debt

GH ratings are driven by the business and financial profile of its main operating subsidiary, (GNB, BB+/Negative). GH acts as a non-operating holding company reliant on dividend income from GNB, owing 94.72% of the bank’s shares.

GH’s long-term IDRs are one notch below those of GNB, reflecting GH’s double leverage which is at a moderate level (1.21x at December 2020) and would increase only slightly to approximately 1.23x in 2021 (including the BBVA Paraguay merger with GNB Paraguay), and also considers the entity’s different jurisdiction (Panama) relative to its main subsidiary (Colombia). GH will maintain a cash buffer in excess of $220 million at the holding level, reflecting ownership commitment to support GH and GNB’s business growth.

Debt servicing on its liabilities is heavily reliant on dividend upstreaming from its operating subsidiaries (Dividends to interest expenses ratio at 1.3x for December 2020), which include a covenant of at least a dividend pay-out ratio of 50% of GNB net income. Conglomerate regulation in the Colombian banking system regarding consolidated regulatory focus in GH will support the capacity of its operating subsidiaries to upstream dividends once regulatory requirements are fulfilled at both the subsidiary and holding level.

The rating assigned to GH’s issuance is aligned to the company’s Foreign Currency IDR, as despite being senior secured and unsubordinated obligations, in Fitch’s view the amount pledged would have not have a significant impact on recovery rates.


GNB VR, IDRs, and Subordinated Debt

Factors that could, individually or collectively, lead to negative rating action/downgrade:

–Downside pressure for the VR and IDRs would arise from further deterioration of the CET1 ratio (consistently below 8%), especially if accompanied by negative trends in its profitability and/or asset quality metrics.

–Ratings are sensitive to an OE Downgrade.

–As the subordinated debt rating is two notches below GNB’s VR anchor, the rating is sensitive to a downgrade in the VR. The rating is also sensitive to a wider notching from the VR if there is a change in Fitch’s view on the non-performance risk of these instruments on a going-concern basis, which is not the baseline scenario.

Factors that could, individually or collectively, lead to positive rating action/upgrade:

–A rating upgrade on the IDRs and VR is unlikely in the near future, as reflected by the Negative Outlook;

— Ratings could be revised to Stable if the OE stabilizes and if the bank is able to sustain or rebuild its profitability metrics;

–Upside potential for the international ratings is heavily contingent on a material improvement on capitalization levels, which is currently one of the high influence rating factors under Fitch’s rating approach. An upgrade of the VR and IDRs could arise if the bank is able to reach and sustain a capital ratio greater than 12%, while avoiding material deterioration of its other financial and qualitative credit fundamentals, with consistently better results, in the form of operating earnings over risk weighted assets greater than 2%.

As the subordinated debt rating is two notches below GNB’s VR anchor, the rating is sensitive to an upgrade in the VR.


Upside potential for the SR and SRF is limited, as a significant growth of market share in Colombia is unlikely in the near and medium term. Should the bank’s role as a market maker, or the market share of retail deposits decrease, the SR and SRF rating might eventually be revised downward.

Gilex Holding IDRs and senior debt

Factors that could, individually or collectively, lead to negative rating action/downgrade:

–GH’s ratings are sensitive to a change in GNB’s ratings, and the rating of the former will likely move in line with potential rating changes in the latter. However, a material and consistent increase in GH’s double leverage (above 120%), or deterioration in its debt servicing ability, could negatively impact GH’s rating and widen the difference relative to GNB’s ratings;

–The ratings for GH’s senior debt would move in line with GH’s Long-Term IDR.

Factors that could, individually or collectively, lead to positive rating action/upgrade:

–An upgrade or change in Outlook to Stable in GNB’s rating will mirror in GH’s ratings.


International scale credit ratings of Financial Institutions and Covered Bond issuers have a best-case rating upgrade scenario (defined as the 99th percentile of rating transitions, measured in a positive direction) of three notches over a three-year rating horizon; and a worst-case rating downgrade scenario (defined as the 99th percentile of rating transitions, measured in a negative direction) of four notches over three years. The complete span of best- and worst-case scenario credit ratings for all rating categories ranges from ‘AAA’ to ‘D’. Best- and worst-case scenario credit ratings are based on historical performance. For more information about the methodology used to determine sector-specific best- and worst-case scenario credit ratings, visit


The principal sources of information used in the analysis are described in the Applicable Criteria.


Banco GNB Sudameris S.A. has an ESG Relevance Score of ‘4’ for Governance Structure due to key person risk, which has a negative impact on the credit profile, and is relevant to the rating[s] in conjunction with other factors.

Gilex Holding S.A. has an ESG Relevance Score of ‘4’ for Group Structure due to key person risk, which has a negative impact on the credit profile, and is relevant to the ratings in conjunction with other factors.

Unless otherwise disclosed in this section, the highest level of ESG credit relevance is a score of ‘3’. This means ESG issues are credit-neutral or have only a minimal credit impact on the entity, either due to their nature or the way in which they are being managed by the entity. For more information on Fitch’s ESG Relevance Scores, visit