Press Release

DBRS Morningstar Confirms A (high) Rating on Liberbank Cédulas Hipotecarias

Covered Bonds
May 07, 2020

DBRS Ratings GmbH (DBRS Morningstar) confirmed its A (high) rating on the single standalone 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.

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 Morningstar 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), which is 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 105% to which DBRS Morningstar gives credit, which is the minimum observed OC level during the past 12 months adjusted by a scaling factor of 0.90.

DBRS Morningstar analysed the transaction with its European Covered Bonds 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 (CP).

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 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.

The total outstanding amount of CH is currently EUR 6.9 billion. As of December 2019, the aggregate balance of the mortgages in the CP was EUR 15.9 billion, resulting in a total proforma OC of 129%. As of December 2019, the eligible CP stood at EUR 13.8 billion, resulting in an eligible OC of 99%.

As of December 2019, the CP amounted to EUR 15.92 billion, split between 86.2% residential and 13.8% nonresidential mortgages. The CP comprises 218,845 mortgage loans with a weighted-average (WA) loan-to-value of 55.8%. It is geographically distributed mainly in the Spanish regions of Madrid (24.3%), Castilla–La Mancha (20.9%), and Asturias (13.2%). The pool is 7.6 years seasoned, the underlying loans’ reference rate is primary floating (74.8%) and the vast majority of the loans (99.9%) are 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 CP (74.8% floating rate linked to different indexes and resets) and the interest due on the CH (50% paying fixed). The interest rate risk is partially covered by the high level of OC available.

The WA life of the assets is roughly ten years while that of the covered bonds is roughly six years. This generates an asset-liability mismatch that is partly mitigated by the available OC.

DBRS Morningstar has assessed the LSF related to Liberbank CH as “Average” according to its rating methodology. For more information, please refer to the DBRS Morningstar 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

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

The Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) and the resulting isolation measures have caused an economic contraction, leading to sharp increases in unemployment rates and income reductions for many borrowers. DBRS Morningstar anticipates that delinquencies may arise in the coming months for many cover pools, some meaningfully. The ratings are based on additional analysis and additional adjustments to expected performance as a result of the global efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus. On 16 April 2020, the DBRS Morningstar Sovereign group published its outlook on the impact to key economic indicators for the 2020-22 time frame. For details see the following commentaries: and DBRS Morningstar analysis considered impacts consistent with the moderate scenario in the referenced reports.

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:

A description of how DBRS Morningstar considers ESG factors within the DBRS Morningstar analytical framework and its methodologies can be found at:

All figures are in euros unless otherwise noted.

The principal methodology applicable to the rating is: “Rating and Monitoring Covered Bonds” (28 June 2019).

DBRS Morningstar 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.

Other methodologies and criteria referenced in this transaction are listed at the end of this press release.

These may be found at:

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 “Global Methodology for Rating Sovereign Governments” at:

The sources of data and information used for this rating include dynamic default performance data, loan-by-loan data and CP stratification tables as of December 2019 provided by Liberbank that allowed DBRS Morningstar to further assess the portfolio.

DBRS Morningstar did not rely upon third-party due diligence in order to conduct its analysis.

At the time of initial rating, DBRS Morningstar was not supplied with third-party assessments. However, this did not impact the rating analysis.

DBRS Morningstar considers the information available to it for the purposes of providing this rating to be of satisfactory quality.

DBRS Morningstar 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 10 May 2019, when DBRS Morningstar confirmed its A (high) rating on Liberbank Cédulas Hipotecarias’ single stand-alone issuance following the annual review of the programme.

The lead analyst responsibilities for this transaction have been transferred to Hrishikesh Oturkar

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

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

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

Lead Analyst: Hrishikesh Oturkar, Senior Financial Analyst
Rating Committee Chair: Christian Aufsatz, Managing Director
Initial Rating Date: 11 March 2014

DBRS Ratings GmbH
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60311 Frankfurt am Main Deutschland
Tel. +49 (69) 8088 3500

Geschäftsführer: Detlef Scholz
Amtsgericht Frankfurt am Main, HRB 110259

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

-- Rating and Monitoring Covered Bonds (28 June 2019),
-- Rating and Monitoring Covered Bonds Addendum: Market Value Spreads (28 June 2019),
-- Global Methodology for Rating Banks and Banking Organisations (11 June 2019),
-- Legal Criteria for European Structured Finance Transactions (11 September 2019),
-- European RMBS Insight Methodology (2 April 2020) and European RMBS Insight Model,
-- European RMBS Insight: Spanish Addendum (10 July 2019),
-- Operational Risk Assessment for European Structured Finance Originators (28 February 2020),
-- Operational Risk Assessment for European Structured Finance Servicers (28 February 2020),
-- Rating CLOs and CDOs of Large Corporate Credit (28 February 2020),
-- Rating CLOs Backed by Loans to European SMEs (8 July 2019) and DBRS Diversity Model v2.4,
-- Interest Rate Stresses for European Structured Finance Transactions (10 October 2019),
-- Global Methodology for Rating Sovereign Governments (17 September 2019),

A description of how DBRS Morningstar analyses structured finance transactions and how the methodologies are collectively applied can be found at:

For more information on this credit or on this industry, visit or contact us at