Fitch changed Bank’s rating

Fitch Ratings-London/Moscow-31 March 2009: Fitch Ratings has today downgraded Bank St. Petersburg’s (BSP) Long-term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) to ‘B’ from ‘B+’ and changed the Outlook on the rating to Negative from Stable. A full list of rating actions is provided at the end of this commentary.

The rating action follows the first part of a broader review of all Fitch-rated banks in Russia. The review has focused in particular on the potential impact of the difficult operating environment on banks' asset quality, while also considering their loss absorption capacity and contingency capitalisation plans.

At the same time, however, Fitch notes that concerns over potential asset quality deterioration are yet to be reflected in reported numbers, with reported loan impairment currently very low and volumes of restructured loans moderate. BSP’s relatively strong regional franchise in Saint-Petersburg and its region is also a positive for the bank’s credit profile.