VTB Bank has criticized a recent rating it received from Fitch Ratings and called on the agency to withdraw it.
The bank said it does not have a contractual relationship with Fitch, meaning the agency does not have access to its non-public information in order to make qualified assessments of VTB's creditworthiness.
VTB also denied what it called the "incorrect and misleading assertion" on Fitch's website that the bank solicited the rating, noting that the bank terminated its contract with the agency in 2012.
"VTB's decision was motivated primarily by the bank's opinion that the ratings process and policies of Fitch Ratings are less effective than those of other ratings agencies, and also by the unprofessional approach of the agency's Russian banking team. VTB believes that Fitch Ratings' analysts lack the qualifications and resources to make a competent interpretation of the data, and that the agency's Russian office focuses primarily on PR stunts and lurid public statements rather than a balanced and impartial analysis for the market professionals," VTB said. "Following VTB's decision to terminate its relationship with Fitch, the agency undertook a series of negative rating actions on the ratings of VTB and its subsidiaries, including a revision of the outlook in early 2013 and subsequent downgrade of the bank's main credit rating, as well as a string of biased media comments. We consider this an attempt to exert pressure on VTB, which had previously been one of the agency's largest clients in Russia and the CIS."
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