Some of the biggest names in finance have been dealt a humiliating blow by credit ratings agency Moody’s. Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs are among the institutions whose creditworthiness has been called into question.
The New York-based agency said late on Thursday that it was downgrading 15 of the world's biggest financial institutions amid fears of exposure to eurozone debt.
Household banking names such as Barclays, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, HSBC JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley were also among those to have their ratings lowered.
"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," said Moody's global banking manager, Greg Bauer.
Four firms were downgraded by one notch and 10 firms by two notches. However, Credit Suisse faced the largest downgrade, with its rating slashed three levels from Aa1 to A1.
The downgrades were condemned by Citigroup. "Citi strongly disagrees with Moody's analysis of the banking industry and firmly believes its downgrade of Citi is arbitrary and completely unwarranted," said a statement from the group.
Moody's began their bank review in February, and the move had been widely anticipated.
The other banks affected were Bank of America, Royal Bank of Scotland, BNP Paribas, Credit Agricole, Royal Bank of Canada, Societe Generale and UBS.
In a separate announcement, Moody's also downgraded the British bank Lloyds TSB.
rc/av (AFP, AP, dpa)