21 Jun 2012
Actions conclude review initiated on 15 February 2012
New York, June 21, 2012 — Moody’s Investors Service today repositioned the ratings of 15 banks and securities firms with global capital markets operations. The long-term senior debt ratings of 4 of these firms were downgraded by 1 notch, the ratings of 10 firms were downgraded by 2 notches and 1 firm was downgraded by 3 notches. In addition, for four firms, the short-term ratings of their operating companies were downgraded to Prime-2. All four of those firms also now have holding company short-term ratings at Prime-2. The holding company short-term ratings of another two firms were downgraded to Prime-2 as well.
“All of the banks affected by today’s actions have significant exposure to the volatility and risk of outsized losses inherent to capital markets activities”, says Moody’s Global Banking Managing Director Greg Bauer. “However, they also engage in other, often market leading business activities that are central to Moody’s assessment of their credit profiles. These activities can provide important ‘shock absorbers’ that mitigate the potential volatility of capital markets operations, but they also present unique risks and challenges.” The specific credit drivers for each affected firm are summarized below.
Today’s rating actions conclude the review initiated on 15 February 2012 when Moody’s announced a ratings review prompted by its reassessment of the volatility and risks that creditors of firms with global capital markets operations face. In the past, these risks have led many institutions to fail or to require outside support, including several firms affected by today’s rating actions. Today’s actions, however, reflect not only the credit implications of capital markets operations. They also reflect (i) the size and stability of earnings from non-capital markets activities of each firm, (ii) capitalization, (iii) liquidity buffers, and (iv) other considerations, including, as applicable, exposure to the operating environment in Europe, any record of risk management problems, and risks from exposure to US residential mortgages, commercial real estate or legacy portfolios.
OVERVIEW OF TODAY’S RATING ACTIONS
Moody’s has taken action on the following holding company ratings:
Bank of America Corporation
Long-term senior unsecured debt to Baa2 from Baa1, outlook negative; Short-term P-2 affirmed