ECN Downgraded by DBRS to Pfd-4(high)

DBRS has announced that it:

downgraded the ratings of ECN Capital Corp. (ECN or the Company), including the Company’s Long-Term Issuer Rating to BB (high) and Preferred Shares Rating to Pfd-4 (high). The trend for the ratings is Stable. The rating actions follow the Company’s sale of its Service Finance Company, LLC (Service Finance) business to Truist Bank. The Intrinsic Assessment (IA) for ECN is BB (high) and the Support Assessment is SA3, resulting in the Company’s Long-Term Issuer Rating being equalized with the IA. With these rating actions, ECN’s ratings are removed from Under Review with Negative Implications, where they were placed on August 11, 2021.

The ratings downgrade considers the impact of the sale of Service Finance on ECN’s credit fundamentals, including its franchise strength, and earnings generation. With the sale of Service Finance, the Company’s scope of operations and product/services diversity has moderated, increasing ECN’s susceptibility to business and economic downturns. Additionally, the loss of Service Finance’s earning contributions reduces ECN’s earnings capacity, organic capital generation, and to a degree, the Company’s ability to absorb unexpected future losses. The ratings also consider the Company’s ongoing solidly run, asset light businesses, Triad Financial Services, Inc. (Triad) and Kessler Financial Services LLC (Kessler), which are both leaders in their respective niche sectors and contribute to ECN’s satisfactory earnings generation. The Company’s ratings also reflect ECN’s sound credit position, as well as its solid funding and acceptable capital profiles.

The Stable trend, reflects our view that the Company’s credit fundamentals will remain satisfactory, despite the potential for Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic related flareups. We expect some moderation in housing demand in 2022, but expect Triad to generate good operating performance as demand for manufactured housing will continue to be supported by affordability issues in the U.S. housing market as well as Triad’s top tier market position. The Stable trend also considers our expectations that Kessler will continue to generate solid results in 2022, especially as marketing services and transaction services benefit from increasing client activity and new partner programs are brought on board, including improving traction with the Company’s Credit Card Investment Management platform.

A more diverse product mix along with sustained improvements in adjusted profitability and statutory earnings, while maintaining disciplined capital management and risk aversion, would result in an upgrade of the ratings.

Should capital levels not match the Company’s risk position, credit risk on the balance sheet become more pronounced, or if there were partner funding disruptions, the ratings would be downgraded.

With the sale of Service Finance, ECN’s franchise fundamentals have somewhat weakened, as the transaction reduces the Company’s scope of business, product/services diversity, and to a degree its growth potential. As such, we view ECN as being more prone to negative macroeconomic conditions. Nonetheless, the Company’s ongoing franchise reflects two businesses that are leaders in their respective sectors, including Triad, which provides manufactured home loans and home – land loans, and Kessler, a manager, adviser and structuring partner to credit card issuers, banks, credit unions, and payment networks. The Company’s ratings also consider ECN’s solid management team, which has considerable experience and deep industry knowledge.

Capital is acceptable for its rating level, and we anticipate that ECN will continue to maintain appropriate capital levels to match its risk position. That said, capital generation has somewhat moderated with the sale of Service Finance. Finally, we note that the gains from the sale of Service Finance will be distributed to common shareholders.

Affected issues are ECN.PR.A and ECN.PR.C. Note that ECN.PR.A has been called for redemption.

One Response to “ECN Downgraded by DBRS to Pfd-4(high)”

  1. CanSiamCyp says:

    Surprisingly … this has had no apparent impact upon the share price following the downgrade. I anticipate that this pref will be called for redemption by the next reset date (30 June 2022) as ECN has just called its first issue for redemption on 31 Dec. 2021. I think that they are going to eliminate their pref issues (only 2 were issued) just like EFN is apparently cleaning up their pref issues. Just my guess!

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