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Fitch downgrades major banks

Stephen Beard Dec 16, 2011

Steve Chiotakis: The ratings agency Fitch has slashed the credit scores of some of the world’s biggest banks — among them Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Barclays and Deutsche Bank.

Marketplace’s Stephen Beard has that story.


Stephen Beard: The big banks face a sea of troubles. The eurozone debt crisis is just part of the problem. That’s made it difficult for banks to borrow — and therefore lend — in Europe.

Then there’s the slowing global economy. That means less activity and lower revenues for the banks. And piling on the agony, the regulators have tightened banking rules, making the business less profitable.

Peter Thal Larson of the financial website Breaking Views:

Peter Thal Larson: All those factors are kind of weighing on the big banks . That pushes up the cost of credit for banks and obviously also makes them more risky as far as the credit rating agencies are concerned.

But the backlash against the credit rating agencies continues to grow. They stand accused of being part of the problem, of worsening the downturn with their downgrades.

A prominent Swiss economist says companies and countries should be able to sue the agencies for damages. When countries and companies suffer a cut in their credit rating, they can lose billions of dollars.

In London, I’m Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

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