Ratings agency Moody’s downgrades several ratings for CIBC Mellon Trust

TORONTO – Moody’s Investors Service has downgraded its ratings for CIBC Mellon Trust, a Toronto-based trust company jointly owned by the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (TSX:CM) and the Bank of New York Mellon.

Moody’s said Friday that it has reduced CMT’s stand-alone bank-level baseline credit assessment to a2 from a1 and its bank financial strength rating to C+ from B-.

As well, CMT’s issuer and long-term deposit ratings were downgraded to A1 from Aa3, while its short-term Prime-1 deposit ratings were affirmed.

Moody’s said the change conclude a review for possible downgrade that was initiated in July and that subsequent to the downgrade the ratings outlook is stable.

Moody’s said the downgrade of the stand-alone BCA reflects structural profitability pressures that CMT faces along with its affiliate, CIBC Mellon Global Security Services.

“While CIBC Mellon’s position in the Canadian custody market remains very strong, it faces similar profitability pressures as other custodian banks in the current low interest rate environment,” Moody’s analyst William Burn said in a release.

CIBC Mellon’s profitability has also been adversely affected by a decline in high-margin foreign exchange revenues.

“Given CMT’s extensive use of services provided by its owners, it may prove harder to achieve further efficiency savings to offset revenue headwinds than would be the case if all these costs were controlled directly,” Moody’s said.

The downgrade of CMT’s long-term deposit rating to A1 from Aa3 follows the Nov. 14 downgrade of BNY Mellon’s BCA to a1 from aa3.

Based in Toronto, CIBC Mellon Trust had $5.7 billion of assets as of the end of August and more than $1.2 trillion under administration.