Where the credit rating industry failed
Share Now on:
TEXT OF STORY
Renita Jablonski: A good question will be asked at a congressional hearing today: Where were the credit rating agencies to help prevent this mess?
Firms like Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s were supposed to warn us about bad investments.
The heads of the three biggest ratings companies will be on the hot seat. Marketplace Washington Bureau Chief John Dimsdale reports.
John Dimsdale: As banks and mortgage lenders bundled their riskiest loans into tradeable securities, the ratings firms gave the investments their highest seal of approval. In some cases, says Vanderbilt professor Hans Stoll, those triple-A ratings were still in place when the value of the securities collapsed.
Hans Stoll: Their success in changing the ratings before the market does is abysmal.
Reform advocates say one reason for the inflated ratings is the issuers of the assets are the ones paying the rating firms.
Joseph Grundfest: It’s as though you’ve got all the restaurant reviewers being paid by the restaurant owners.
Former SEC Commissioner Joseph Grundfest recommends that buyers of the securities do the ratings — and send the bill to the issuers of the securities.
Grundfest: Then, if there is a problem with the way the ratings come out, the buyers have only themselves to blame.
The SEC will consider new regulations of the credit ratings industry sometime this Fall.
In Washington, I’m John Dimsdale for Marketplace.
We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.
Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.
In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.
Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.