Dutch Rabobank is among 15 global banks downgraded by Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services Tuesday as part of a shift in how the ratings company forms its opinions about financial institutions.
S&P rates Rabobank now two notches lower at AA, instead of AAA previously. S&P’s new measures not only take into account the financial position of the bank itself, but also the financial position of the country where it is headquartered.
Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services has lowered its credit ratings for many of the world’s largest financial institutions, including the biggest banks in the U.S.
Bank of America Corp. and its main subsidiaries are among the institutions whose ratings fell at least one notch Tuesday, along with Citigroup Inc., Goldman Sachs Group Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo & Co.
S&P said the changes in 37 financial companies’ ratings reflect the firm’s new criteria for banks, and they incorporate shifts in the industry and the role of governments and central banks worldwide. The agency did not release its evaluation of each company but said it plans to discuss the changes during a conference call early Wednesday.
Bank of America’s issuer credit rating was cut to “A-” from “A,” as were its Countrywide Financial Corp. and Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc. units, along with a series of related subsidiaries
Ratings downgrades are never seen as positive, but this round may be particularly damaging for Bank of America.
Concern already was growing Tuesday about whether B of A has enough capital to withstand another downturn in the U.S. economy or further trouble in Europe, and the bank’s stock fell to a two-year low before the ratings announcement.
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