Press Release

DBRS Confirms A (high) Rating on Liberbank Cédulas Hipotecarias

Covered Bonds
May 11, 2018

DBRS Ratings Limited (DBRS) confirmed its A (high) rating on the single stand-alone Cédula Hipotecaria (CH, Spanish mortgage covered bonds) issued by Liberbank S.A. (Liberbank or the Issuer). The confirmation follows the completion of a full review of the rating.

At the same time, DBRS discontinued the rating on cédula ES0468675006, which matured on 19 December 2017.

The rating is based on the following analytical considerations:
-- A Covered Bonds Attachment Point (CBAP) of BBB. Liberbank is the Issuer and Reference Entity for the programme. There is no Critical Obligations Rating associated with Liberbank, but DBRS considers Spain a jurisdiction for which covered bonds are a particularly important financing tool. As such, the CBAP is set at the level of the Issuer Rating plus one notch.
-- A Legal and Structuring Framework (LSF) Assessment of Average associated with Liberbank CH.
-- A Cover Pool Credit Assessment (CPCA) of BBB (low) being the lowest CPCA in line with the LSF-Implied Likelihood.
-- An LSF-Implied Likelihood (LSF-L) of A (low).
-- A two-notch uplift for high recovery prospects.
-- A level of overcollateralisation (OC) of 121% to which DBRS gives credit, being the minimum observed OC level during the past 12 months adjusted by a scaling factor of 0.90.

The transaction was modelled using the DBRS European Covered Bond Cash Flow Tool. The main assumptions focused on the timing of defaults and recoveries of the assets, interest rate stresses and market value spreads to calculate liquidation values on the cover pool.

Everything else being equal, a downgrade of the CBAP by one notch would lead to a downgrade of the LSF-L by one notch, resulting in a downgrade of the covered bonds rating by one notch. In addition, everything else being equal, the CH ratings would be downgraded if any of the following occurred: (1) the CPCA were downgraded below BBB (low); (2) the sovereign rating of the Kingdom of Spain were downgraded below A (low); (3) the LSF Assessment associated with the programme were downgraded; (4) the quality of the Cover Pool (CP) and the level of OC were no longer sufficient to support a two-notch uplift for high recovery prospects; (5) the relative amortisation profile of the CH and of the CP were to move adversely, or (6) volatility in the financial markets caused the currently estimated market value spreads to increase.

As of today, the total outstanding amount of CH was EUR 3.05 billion, while the aggregate balance of the mortgages in the cover pool as of March 2018 was EUR 9.66 billion, resulting in a total overcollateralisation (OC) of 216%. The eligible cover pool stands at EUR 8.60 billion, resulting in an eligible OC of 182%.

As of March 2018, the cover pool amounted to EUR 9.66 billion, split between 86.8% residential and 13.2% non-residential mortgages. The cover pool comprises 146,040 mortgage loans with a weighted-average loan-to-value of 52.8%. It is geographically distributed mainly in Asturias (23.7%), Cantabria (23.6%) and Extremadura (16.16%). The pool is 8.3 years seasoned and the reference rate of the underlying loans is primary floating (87.9%), all loans being originated in euros.

As is customary in the Spanish market, the CH holders do not receive the benefit of any swap contract to hedge the mismatches between the interest yield by the cover pool (87.9% floating rate linked to different indexes and resets) and the interest due on the CH (34.5% paying fixed). The interest rate risk is partially covered by the high level of OC available.

As of today, the WA life of the assets was roughly ten years while that of the covered bonds is roughly five years. This generates an asset-liability mismatch that is partly mitigated by the available OC.

For further information on Liberbank CH, please refer to the rating report available at

DBRS has assessed the LSF related to Liberbank CH as Average according to its rating methodology. For more information, please refer to the DBRS commentaries “Spanish Mortgage Covered Bonds: Legal and Structuring Framework Review” and “DBRS Assigns Legal and Structuring Framework Assessment to Spanish Mortgage Covered Bonds Programmes,” available at

All figures are in euros unless otherwise noted.

The principal methodology applicable to the ratings is: “Rating European Covered Bonds.” This can be found at

Other methodologies and criteria referenced in this transaction are listed at the end of this press release. These may be found on at:

DBRS has applied the principal methodology consistently and conducted a review of the transaction in accordance with the principal methodology. A review of the transaction legal documents was not conducted as the documents have remained unchanged since the most recent rating action.

For a more detailed discussion of the sovereign risk impact on Structured Finance ratings, please refer to “Appendix C: The Impact of Sovereign Ratings on Other DBRS Credit Ratings” of the “Rating Sovereign Governments” methodology at:

The sources of data and information used for these ratings include dynamic default performance data, loan-by-loan data and cover pool stratification tables provided by Liberbank that allowed DBRS to further assess the portfolio.

DBRS did not rely upon third-party due diligence in order to conduct its analysis. At the time of initial rating, DBRS was not supplied with third-party assessments. However, this did not impact the rating analysis.

DBRS considers the information available to it for the purposes of providing these ratings to be of satisfactory quality.

DBRS does not audit or independently verify the data or information it receives in connection with the rating process.

The last rating action on this programme took place on 25 July 2017, when DBRS assigned an A (high) rating to Liberbank Cédulas Hipotecarias’ new issuance.

Information regarding DBRS ratings, including definitions, policies and methodologies is available on

For further information on DBRS historical default rates published by the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) in a central repository, see

Ratings assigned by DBRS Ratings Limited are subject to EU and US regulations only.

Lead Analyst: Alessandra Maggiora, Assistant Vice President
Rating Committee Chair: Gareth Levington, Managing Director
Initial Rating Date: 11 March 2014

DBRS Ratings Limited
20 Fenchurch Street, 1st Floor
United Kingdom

Registered in England and Wales: No. 7139960

The rating methodologies and criteria used in the analysis of this transaction can be found at:

-- Rating European Covered Bonds
-- Rating European Covered Bonds Addendum: Market Value Spreads Range (Midpoints)
-- Global Methodology for Rating Banks and Banking Organisations
-- Legal Criteria for European Structured Finance Transactions
-- European RMBS Insight Methodology
-- European RMBS Insight: Spanish Addendum
-- Operational Risk Assessment for European Structured Finance Originators
-- Operational Risk Assessment for European Structured Finance Servicers
-- Rating CLOs and CDOs of Large Corporate Credit
-- Rating CLOs Backed by Loans to European SMEs
-- Interest Rate Stresses for European Structured Finance Transactions
-- Rating Sovereign Governments

A description of how DBRS methodologies are collectively applied can be found at: