Fitch Upgrades NCBJ

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Fitch Upgrades NCBJ

15 Mar 2024

Credit rating moves to ‘BB-, positive outlook’ 

Kingston, Jamaica – March 15, 2024 – National Commercial Bank Jamaica Limited (NCBJ) has announced an upgrade in its credit rating by Fitch Ratings. Fitch has upgraded NCBJ's Long-Term Foreign and Local Currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs) to 'BB-' from 'B+', and the Viability Rating (VR) to 'bb-' from 'b+'. This significant milestone is coupled with a Positive Outlook, mirroring the optimism surrounding Jamaica's own economic prospects.
This latest upgrade from Fitch follows a similar positive adjustment for NCBJ by S&P Global Ratings in September 2023, which earlier raised NCBJ’s long-term issuer credit rating to 'BB-' from 'B+' with a stable outlook, while affirming the short-term issuer credit ratings at 'B'. 
"This rating upgrade from Fitch and the earlier recognition from S&P attest to our relentless pursuit of excellence and our commitment to financial stability, prudent risk management and strategic growth,” said Bruce Bowen, CEO of National Commercial Bank Jamaica Limited (NCBJ).  “These upgrades come at a pivotal time for NCBJ, as we continue to pursue an ambitious strategic growth plan to better serve our customers and communities. This serves to provide our customers and stakeholders with confidence and assurance that NCBJ is a reliable and stable financial partner capable of meeting their ever evolving needs and supporting their financial goals."
The upgrades are reflective of a broader acknowledgment of the improvements in Jamaica's operating environment, which are anticipated to bolster the financial profile of the bank. Both rating agencies have recognised NCBJ's formidable market presence as the largest commercial bank in Jamaica, holding a market share by assets of 38% and deposits of 32% at December 2023.
Bowen added, “As the largest commercial bank in Jamaica, NCBJ and the country enjoy a symbiotic relationship. The recent upgrades in Jamaica's economic outlook combined with this upgrade for NCBJ, signal a bright future for not only NCBJ, but for all local businesses and the broader economy as well. These developments provide a strong foundation for sustainable growth. So, as a nation, we stand at a pivotal moment where our collective efforts towards fiscal discipline and economic innovation are yielding tangible benefits. This environment creates a fertile ground for companies and individuals to thrive, contributing to a vibrant and resilient economic landscape."
Fitch Ratings is a leading global rating agency that provides credit ratings, commentary, and research for global capital markets.
About National Commercial Bank Jamaica Limited 
National Commercial Bank Jamaica Limited (NCBJ) is Jamaica's largest indigenous bank. With 20+ digital and full-service branches across the island, and the largest ABM fleet of approximately 300 machines, NCBJ is known as ‘the People’s Bank’ – serving Jamaicans from all walks of life. With roots dating back to 1837, NCB has since grown into a financial powerhouse across the region through its subsidiaries, NCB Capital Markets Limited (NCBCM) and NCB Insurance Agency & Fund Managers Limited (NCBIA). Designated as a Systemically Important Financial Institution (SIFI), NCBJ safeguards against economic instability by upholding rigorous operational protocols, surpassing regulatory benchmarks and international standards.
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