Press Release

DBRS Morningstar Assigns AAA Rating to BMO Global Registered Covered Bonds Series CBL24

Covered Bonds
June 08, 2021

DBRS Limited (DBRS Morningstar) assigned a rating of AAA to the Covered Bonds, Series CBL24 (Series CBL24) issued under the Bank of Montreal (Global Registered Covered Bond Program) (the Program). The Series CBL24 (EUR 1.25 billion) covered bonds have a coupon rate of 0.05% and a maturity date of June 8, 2029. All covered bonds issued under the Program (the Covered Bonds) rank pari passu with each other and are currently rated AAA by DBRS Morningstar.

The AAA rating is based on the following analytical considerations:

-- A Covered Bond Attachment Point of AA, which is the Long-Term Senior Debt rating of the Bank of Montreal (BMO). BMO is the Reference Entity for the Program.
-- A Legal and Structuring Framework (LSF) assessment of Strong associated with the Program.
-- A Cover Pool Credit Assessment of A (low).
-- An LSF-Implied Likelihood (LSF-L) of AA (high).
-- A one-notch uplift from the LSF-L for high recovery prospects to achieve the AAA ratings.
-- A level of overcollateralization (OC) of 7.0% (based on the Asset Percentage of 93.5% as at May 31, 2021) to which DBRS Morningstar gives credit.

DBRS Morningstar considered the following factors in its analysis described above, each of which include additional analysis and, where appropriate, adjustments to expected performance assumptions as a result of the global efforts to contain the spread of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19). On March 17, 2021, the DBRS Morningstar Sovereigns group published its updated outlook on the impact on key economic indicators for the 2020–22 time frame, which was updated from the initial outlook that was published on April 16, 2020, and has been updated periodically since. For details see For the ratings assigned, DBRS Morningstar’s analysis considered impacts consistent with the moderate scenario in the referenced commentary.

(1) The Covered Bonds are senior unsecured direct-deposit obligations of BMO and are excluded from Canada’s bank recapitalization (bail-in) regime.

(2) In addition to a general recourse to BMO’s assets, the Covered Bonds are supported by a diversified pool of first-lien conventional Canadian residential mortgages with a maximum loan-to-value (LTV) ratio of 80.0% at origination (the Cover Pool). The Cover Pool was approximately $34.57 billion as at April 30, 2021.

(3) The Covered Bonds benefit from several structural features, such as a reserve fund, when applicable, and rating thresholds for the swap counterparties, servicer, account bank, cash manager, and guaranteed deposit account provider.

(4) Upon a default by BMO, the final maturity date on the Covered Bonds can be extended for 12 months, which increases the likelihood that the Covered Bonds can be fully repaid.

(5) There is a specific covered bond legislative framework in Canada. In addition, the contractual obligations of the transaction parties are supported by Canada’s well-developed commercial and bankruptcy laws, the satisfactory opinions provided by legal counsel to BMO, and a generally creditor-friendly legal environment in Canada.

Despite these strengths, the ratings on the Covered Bonds could face the following challenges:

(1) A weakened housing market in Canada could result in higher defaults and/or lower recoveries than the assumptions used in the Cover Pool’s credit assessment. This risk is significantly reduced by the home equity available in relation to the portfolio’s weighted-average LTV ratio of 50.48% (based on indexed property value) reported by BMO as at April 30, 2021.

(2) BMO may need to add mortgages to maintain the Cover Pool, incurring substitution and potential credit deterioration risk. These risks are mitigated by the ongoing monitoring of the Cover Pool to ensure that the OC available is commensurate with the ratings of the Covered Bonds. Based on the latest review of the Cover Pool, DBRS Morningstar considers 3.0% OC, corresponding to the Regulatory OC Minimum, to be commensurate with the AAA ratings.

(3) There is an inherent liquidity gap between the scheduled repayments of the Covered Bonds and the repayment of the underlying mortgage loans over time. This risk is mitigated by OC, the buildup of a reserve fund if BMO is not rated at least A (low) or R-1 (middle), and the 12-month maturity extension upon default by BMO.

BMO is one of Canada’s largest banks as measured by assets as at April 30, 2021, with assets of $949.8 billion and total equity of $55.5 billion. It is the initial servicer of the mortgages in the Cover Pool.

A description of how DBRS Morningstar considers ESG factors within the DBRS Morningstar analytical framework can be found in the DBRS Morningstar Criteria: Approach to Environmental, Social, and Governance Risk Factors in Credit Ratings at

DBRS Morningstar notes that this press release was amended on July 6, 2021, to add the principal methodology note below.

All figures are in Canadian dollars unless otherwise noted.

The principal methodology is Rating and Monitoring Covered Bonds (April 27, 2020), which can be found on under Methodologies & Criteria.

For more information regarding rating methodologies and Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), please see the following DBRS Morningstar press release:

For more information regarding structured finance rating methodologies and Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), please see the following DBRS Morningstar press release:

The related regulatory disclosures pursuant to the National Instrument 25-101 Designated Rating Organizations are hereby incorporated by reference and can be found by clicking on the link under Related Documents or by contacting us at [email protected].

The rated entity or its related entities did participate in the rating process for this rating action. DBRS Morningstar had access to the accounts and other relevant internal documents of the rated entity or its related entities in connection with this rating action.

Please see the related appendix for additional information regarding the sensitivity of assumptions used in the rating process.

More details on the Cover Pool and the Program are provided in the Monthly Canadian Covered Bond Report, which is available by clicking on the link under Related Documents or by contacting us at [email protected].

This rating is endorsed by DBRS Ratings Limited for use in the United Kingdom, and by DBRS Ratings GmbH for use in the European Union, respectively. The following additional regulatory disclosures apply to endorsed ratings:

The last rating action on this Program took place on April 20, 2021, when DBRS Morningstar discontinued its rating on the Covered Bonds, Series CBL8 as the series was fully repaid.

For further information on DBRS Morningstar historical default rates published by the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) in a central repository, see: DBRS Morningstar understands further information on DBRS Morningstar historical default rates may be published by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) on its webpage:

Lead Analyst: Paul Bretzlaff, Senior Vice President, Canadian Structured Finance
Rating Committee Chair: Tim O'Neil, Managing Director, Head of Canadian Structured Finance
Initial Rating Date: April 28, 2014

For more information on this credit or on this industry, visit or contact us at [email protected].

DBRS Limited
DBRS Tower, 181 University Avenue, Suite 700
Toronto, ON M5H 3M7 Canada
Tel. +1 416 593-5577

Principal methodology: Rating and Monitoring Covered Bonds (April 27, 2020)

Predictive model: Canadian RMBS Model (October 2020; Version