Another Major Credit Agency Downgrades Several US Banks

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Will Kessler Contributor
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A major U.S. credit agency cut the ratings of multiple banks following a string of credit rating cuts due to factors like higher interest rates, according to an announcement from S&P Global.

S&P Global, one of the three major U.S. credit agencies, revised its ratings down for five regional U.S. banks after reviewing their risks related to funding, liquidity and asset quality, according to a S&P Global announcement. Moody’s, another top credit agency cut its ratings for ten U.S. banks earlier this month, according to Reuters. (RELATED: Wealthy Elites Oversaw A Massive Bank Collapse. Now They’re Suing To Claw Back Billions)

“While many measures of asset quality still look benign, higher rates are pressuring borrowers, and nonperforming assets, delinquencies, and charge-offs are rising toward at least their historical averages,” S&P Global said in the announcement. “Amid higher for longer interest rates, we expect further asset quality deterioration. Banks with material exposures to commercial real estate (CRE), especially in office loans, could see some of the greatest strains on asset quality, depending on the makeup and quality of underwriting on their portfolios.”

Associated Banc-Corp., Comerica Inc., KeyCorp, UMB Financial Corp. and Valley National Bancorp were all downgraded by one notch after previously being given a negative outlook, according to S&P Global. River City Bank and S&T Bank were given a negative outlook.

The agency pointed to rising interest rates and quantitative tightening as the reasons for the struggling banking sector following the Federal Reserve’s efforts to ease inflation since March 2022, according to the announcement.

The Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the 11th time since March 2022, bringing the federal funds rate within a range of 5.25% and 5.50% in an effort to bring down inflation. Inflation remained elevated in July at 3.2%, up from 3.0% in June but down from a high of 9.1% in June 2022.

Fitch Ratings downgraded the U.S. credit rating from “AAA” to “AA+” in August, citing a projection of fiscal deterioration and uncertainty over the next three years.

“That said, following this review, about 90% of the banks we rate have stable outlooks while only 10% have negative outlooks and none have positive outlooks,” S&P Global said in the announcement. “The preponderance of stable outlooks reflects that stability in the U.S. banking sector has improved significantly in recent months, as evidenced by more modest deposit declines than feared following the bank failures of March and April 2023, continued solid earnings, and still relatively good funding metrics by historical standards.”

S&P Global deferred the Daily Caller News Foundation to the announcement.

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