Dresdner Bank plans to keep its $4.5 billion Brahms Funding asset-backed commercial paper program dormant instead of closing it after its ratings from Moody’s Investors Service were withdrawn. The trend has become more prevalent as conduits run up against the liquidity crunch, and could save banks time if they decide to re-enter the ABCP market, said Mike Dean, head of ABCP at Fitch Ratings. Further examples were not available at press time.
The fund is being kept around for when the market rights itself, a Dresdner spokesman said. “We’re not looking at [re-opening the fund] in the near term, but when the market stabilizes [Dresdner] may consider it,” a bank spokesman said. While keeping dormant ABCP programs open may be convenient down the road, reinstating the withdrawn credit ratings would still take weeks and cost the bank tens of thousands of dollars, according to industry officials.
Natixis’s $5.3 billion Saint Germain Holdings also stopped issuing paper and also had its rating withdrawn by Moody’s this week. Natixis officials declined comment, however, on the banks plans to keep the fund open. “The timing for rating ABCP programs varies depending on factors such as program type, sponsor, collateral and structure, though timing would be shorter [for Fitch-rated transactions] if Fitch had previously rating the program,” Dean said.
Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s officials did not immediately reply to calls and e-mails for comment.