Alfa-Bank has been assessed at AA- with the outlook stable  © Alfa-Bank

China Lianhe Credit Rating has assigned Alfa-Bank, Russia’s largest private lender, an international rating of AA- with a stable outlook, the bank said in a statement on Wednesday.

Alfa-Bank has become the first large Russian bank to receive an international rating in China. Alfa-Bank is at the same level that Lianhe rates the Russian sovereign.

The agency attributed its decision to a number of factors such as Alfa-Bank’s systemic importance, efficient corporate management, high asset quality, and strong lending capacity.

The Chinese agency also highlighted the diversified structure of the bank’s credit portfolio and pointed to stable sources of operational income, which it believes will ensure that the bank demonstrates consistent growth.

The development comes as Alfa-Bank is on course for a major expansion in China as it seeks to become the first private Russian bank to open full-scale branches in two key cities – Beijing and Shanghai.

The bank’s board of directors views the scaling up of operations in the Asian powerhouse as “strategically important.”

Last year, Alfa-Bank emerged as the top lender in Chinese yuan in Russia, accounting for a third of all yuan loans in the Russian market.

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