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BANKING

Letter: Don't blame the rating agency

Sir,

With reference to the article on the rating agencies "Caught with their pants down?", in the January 1998 issue of Euromoney.

The article refers to the collapse of the CRB group with $260 million in liabilities and mentions that Credit Analysis & Research (CARE) had given finance company CRB a single a rating in September 1996 which was maintained until April 1997 when the central bank banned the company from taking further deposits.

While the story itself is a balanced one and we appreciate the point made by referring to the CRB case, there are a few pieces of information regarding our rating of CRB which we would like to share with your readers.

CARE did not rate the entire CRB group or its liabilities of $260 million. The rating was only for the fixed deposit programme of one company, CRB Capital Markets. The outstanding deposits stood at Rs1.39 billion ($36 million) as per the last audited balance sheet (March 1996). A single a plus rating was assigned for the fixed deposit programme in February 1994. Between February 1994 and September 1996, the rating was reviewed six times. The rating was retained at single a plus after each of the first five reviews.

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