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Credit monitoring

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Credit ratings: How Fitch, Moody’s and S&P rate each country

Italy has lost its A+ rating as Standard and Poor’s downgrades it one level to A. See how different country scores compare. Italy have had their A+ rating cut a level reducing their Standard and Poor’s (S&P) sovereign rating to A. The decision has angered Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi. Alex Hawkes writes: Italian prime [...]

Fed considers raising capital requirements for banks

06 Jun. To cushion against losses, Fed considers raising capital requirements for banks. Determining which financial companies are so large that their failures could pose a risk to the nation’s financial system should be done using a “transparent and replicable” formula that makes it “clear to the financial firms, the markets and the public” what [...]

Web seminar on sovereign debt: containing the threat

Long looming, Greece’s sovereign debt problems have now developed into a full-scale crisis that has turned markets’ attention to threats posed by debt burdens elsewhere, notably Portugal and Spain. With the risk of contagion all too evident, policymakers must plan ahead to ensure that they too do not become players in this Greek tragedy. CentralBanking [...]

Credit rating agencies, the pressure mounts on the oligopoly

Credit rating agencies fuelled the mortgage crisis by overrating trillions of dollars of dodgy debt have had a relatively easy time of it recently. But the heat on the oligopoly that dominates the industry—Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s (S&P) and Fitch—is rising. Two recent hearings in Washington, DC, knocked their reputations further. In the first, senators [...]

Is UK quantitative easing working?

“Quantitative easing (QE)” is an important task: the need to make monetary policy effective when interest rates are close to zero. The world’s leading central banks, including the Bank of England, have taken such actions. But is UK policy working? Yes, but not quite enough. The argument about quantitative easing is polarised: some critics wail [...]

Capital calls by Chinese financial institutions elicit questions

The bill for China’s bank-lending spree is coming due. An announcement on 23 February by China’s fifth-largest lender, the Bank of Communications (BoCom), of a 42 billion yuan ($6.15 billion) rights offering, created a stir in Asian financial markets—not because it was unexpected, but because it represents the biggest fund-raising effort by a mainland company [...]

Should central banks keep rates low?

The rally in risky assets is proving hard to stop. Good economic news causes share prices to rise because it indicates the recovery is robust; bad economic news also causes prices to rise because it signals that central banks will keep interest rates near zero. Those low interest rates have probably been the main driver [...]

The Fed’s view on asset price bubbles

Some investors are getting worried that new financial bubbles could be developing in financial markets around the world. In separate speeches, Ben Bernanke and Don Kohn, the Fed’s top two officials addressed the issue. Mr. Kohn’s speech dedicated the better part of his comments to the subject. Their bottom line: They don’t think one’s happening [...]

What happened to the rules of lending?

Businesses and consumers continued to repay debt last month, despite credit conditions in the markets easing towards an all-time low. The three-month sterling London interbank offered rate (Libor), the rate at which banks lend to each other, dropped to a low of 0.7000 per cent yesterday — yet, as it did so, it had no [...]

Clamping down on dodgy US mortgage originators

In recent years, unscrupulous mortgage originators tarnished the industry’s reputation by steering borrowers into loans they could not repay, or engaging in outright fraud. Now states are trying to keep such people out of the business and give consumers tools to identify untrustworthy loan officers. The program, known as the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System, offers [...]

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