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S&P affirms ratings of financial institutions

Mumbai, Oct. 27: Standard & Poor's (S&P) today affirmed the 12 counter-party credit ratings of financial institutions in India, including State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, Industrial Development Bank of India (IDBI) and Bank of Baroda.

The affirmation of the ‘B’ foreign currency short-term rating on State Bank of India reflects the bank’s sound business profile and its leading position in the domestic banking industry, the international rating agency said.

The bank has significantly lowered its gross and net non-performing asset (NPA) ratios due to increased recoveries, loan growth, write-offs and upgrades of its classified accounts.

However, with the 90-day NPA classification standard taking effect from March 2004, SBI's gross NPAs are expected to edge up, it added.

The affirmation of the foreign currency counter-party credit ratings on ICICI Bank with a negative outlook reflects its financial profile as a result of its conversion to a bank in March 2002 from a development financial institution.

After its conversion, ICICI Bank has improved its liabilities profile and cost of funding through its ability to tap low-cost retail deposits, while redeeming its previous high-cost liabilities.

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