Provident Bank, a Cincinnati lender with USD15.7 billion in assets, has entered an interest-rate swap with Credit Suisse First Boston to convert a fixed-rate bond offering its parent company sold recently into a synthetic floater, said Lou Helligrath, v.p. in treasury services in Cincinnati. The bond was sold by holding company Provident Financial Group.
In the swap, Provident receives the 30-year 8.375% coupon on the bond and pays 233.5 basis points over three-month LIBOR. The swap is for the entire amount of the USD75 million deal, which was sold to retail investors. "It reduces the upfront costs right away," Helligrath said of the swap, noting that the rate comes to around 4.20%, saving the bank roughly 400bps. Provident was able to get such a rate because of an embedded call option in the bond, which as part of the swap was sold to CSFB. "We feel that derivatives counterparties give a lot more value to the call option than investors who bought the bond," Helligrath said. He added: "We're buying the option from retail customers and selling it to the Street because they value it much more, especially now with so much volatility."
Provident selects derivatives counterparties from a handful of active swaps dealers and then decides on the basis of price. Standard & Poor's rates Provident Bank BBB. Victoria Harmon, spokeswoman at CSFB in New York, declined comment.