Big 4 Banks Cop a Whack; Standard & Poor's Reviews Ratings, Downgrades All Four

Article excerpt

AUSTRALIA'S big four banks have had their credit ratings downgraded by Standard & Poor's as the agency changes its criteria for assessing banks.

But Fitch Ratings says the nation's banks are well positioned to meet new, stricter global regulatory requirements that the banking regulator will enforce.

Westpac Banking Corporation, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, ANZ Banking Group and National Australia Bank all had their issuer credit ratings downgraded by one notch from AA to AA minus by S&P.

Macquarie Group had its long-term rating downgraded from A minus to BBB.

The move by S&P follows downgrades to its ratings of 37 of the largest banks around the world earlier this week.

The agency indicated in February that the banks may have their ratings downgraded as a result of its review of ratings criteria.

Commonwealth group treasurer Lyn Cobley said the bank remained one of very few banks globally in the AA category.

aSince the onset of the financial crisis in 2008, the group has increased its capital base and improved its funding and liquidity position by increasing customer deposits and long-term wholesale debt and reducing our use of short-term wholesale funding,a she said in a statement. …


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