African Bank Investments Limited: Fitch retains rating on big four banks

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TROUBLES at African Bank Investments Limited (Abil) were unlikely to have much effect on bigger South African banks, Fitch Ratings said on Friday. This came days after rival agency Moody’s Investors Service cut its ratings for Standard Bank, FirstRand, Nedbank and Absa on concern the Reserve Bank would hesitate to protect creditors should the need arise. Earlier this month the central bank announced a R17 billion rescue package for unsecured lender African Bank. “The recent failure and bail-in of Abil is isolated and any contagion to the large South African banks is likely to be limited,” Fitch said, adding that it would not make any rating changes for the big lenders. Fitch has “bbb” range viability ratings for the top five South African lenders, including Investec, but warns that the country’s deteriorating economy may hurt their performance. – Reuters

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