Select Committee on Treasury Written Evidence


Memorandum from Fitch Ratings

1.  GENERAL

  1.1  This Memorandum is submitted by Fitch Ratings in response to the Treasury Committee's hearings into Financial Stability and Transparency.

  1.2  Fitch Ratings is a leading global rating agency committed to providing the world's credit markets with independent, timely and prospective credit opinions. Built on a foundation of organic growth and strategic acquisitions, Fitch Ratings has grown rapidly during the past decade gaining market presence throughout the world and across all fixed income markets. Fitch Ratings is dual-headquartered in New York and London, operating offices and joint ventures in more than 49 locations and covering entities in more than 90 countries. Fitch Ratings is a majority-owned subsidiary of Fimalac, S.A., an international business support services group headquartered in Paris, France.

  1.3  This Memorandum addresses certain of the topics suggested by the Treasury Committee in its invitation for written evidence on Financial Stability and Transparency, dated 16 October 2007. In particular:

    —  We provide our perspective on the recent events surrounding Northern Rock, our observations with respect to liquidity requirements and our treatment of depositor protection schemes for rating purposes.

    —  We believe that the recent unprecedented lack of liquidity has highlighted the need for greater transparency with respect to banks' investments. Particular areas where increased transparency would be beneficial include: (i) more detailed information on exposure to structured credit products; (ii) where such exposures are held (iii) for sponsored ABCP conduits, more data on underlying asset quality and composition by sector; (iv) nature and quality of actual and contingent exposures to specific off-balance sheet vehicles; (v) valuation methodologies for structured credit products; (vi) break-down of LBO exposures by sector, asset quality and product type; and (vii) information with respect to investments in first loss pieces in securitizations.

    —  We believe that the major bank players in the LBO market are strong enough to retain on-balance sheet loans that would have previously been sold off, although not without certain caveats.

    —  It is our overall view that the use of credit derivatives has been a positive development for the global financial system because they enhance risk transfer and dispersion. However, despite fairly recent accounting standards, financial reporting in this area is still opaque and current disclosure potentially obscures an institution's intrinsic risk profile. Without enhanced disclosure, it is extremely difficult for the average investor or counterparty to assess the influence of credit derivatives on an institution's risk profile.

    —  We provide our views on the role and regulation of rating agencies, as well as our thoughts on the advantages and disadvantages of hedge funds from the perspective of market stability.

2.  NORTHERN ROCK

2.1  The reasons for the difficulties faced by Northern Rock, and the events that led up to the run on the bank

  2.1.1  Northern Rock's 2007 interim results, published on 25 July 2007, were the last main source of public information on the bank before the series of events which led to the run on the bank. These results did not indicate any material deterioration in the bank's situation. Asset quality at end-June 2007 remained good. Prime residential mortgages made up 77% of total assets and unsecured lending made up 7%; the commercial mortgage book was reduced to 1% during the first half of 2007. The remainder of its total assets consisted of liquid assets (14%) and fixed assets (less than 1%). The quality of Northern Rock's residential book was good and broadly in line with that of its large UK mortgage lender peers, and its accounts in arrears were lower than the industry average. The bank did not extend subprime mortgages on its own account. Residential mortgages did include a large amount of first-time buyer and self-certified specialist mortgages, but the bank benefited from a strong expertise in these segments, as demonstrated by sound arrears ratios. The proportion of high loan-to-value lending was relatively large at end-June 2007, reflecting the bank's strong positioning in the first-time buyer market. However, the proportion of new lending with a loan-to-value ratio over 90% decreased to 19% in the first half of 2007, down from 30% in 2005. Write-offs in the first half of 2007 were minimal at GBP8m out of a book of GBP87 billion.

  2.1.2  In light of the stress in credit markets during the summer, on 1 August 2007, we sent a questionnaire to the bank to review its exposure to US subprime and structured fixed-income securities. Based on the information received in writing from the bank on 14 August, and the information made public in the bank's stock exchange announcement of 14 September 2007, the bank's exposure to the US subprime market and to US structured credit through its treasury investment portfolio, mostly to highly rated instruments, was considered manageable. In addition, the bank was not exposed to off-balance sheet conduits.

  2.1.3  We also viewed Northern Rock's capital position at the time as sound. Management estimated the bank's surplus capital—ie, the amount above the total minimum regulatory capital required under Basel II—at around GBP600 million (out of GBP2.1 billion) at end-June 2007, including the profits for the first half of 2007. We had a call with the bank on 2 August to discuss its expected capital plans under the new requirements of Basel II. The bank stated that it expected its available capital resources would be well in excess of the new regulatory requirements at end-2007.

  2.1.4  Northern Rock's funding mix has historically been very much skewed towards wholesale funding. This remained the case at end-June 2007, with senior wholesale funding accounting for 66% of the balance sheet. Given the bank's reliance on wholesale funding, management continued to make efforts to diversify its investor base and had at its disposal a range of wholesale funding platforms. Secured funding, including securitisation and covered bonds, made up the majority of the bank's wholesale funding, representing 47% of the balance sheet. Senior unsecured debt (16% of the balance sheet) was issued through seven different issuance programmes and targeted an increasingly diversified range of investors. Customer deposits, including retail and corporate deposits, funded slightly more than a quarter of the balance sheet. New deposit-taking operations had recently been launched in Ireland and Denmark to diversify this funding source. Asset growth in the first half of 2007 (of 12%) was funded by growth in secured funding sources (securitisation up 14% and covered bonds up 31%, including the bank's first US covered bond deal) and customer deposits (up 12%). Senior unsecured instruments (short and medium term combined) were down 3%.

  2.1.5  Management also viewed its liquidity policy as a buffer against short-term volatility in the markets. At end-June 2007, the bank was meeting its policy of holding liquid assets in the range of 20%-25% of total assets, excluding mortgage loans in securitization pools. The existence of stand-by and committed repo facilities provided additional liquidity support.

  2.1.6  Performance in the first half of 2007 was good although Northern Rock's net interest margin was affected by the mismatch between the different bases the bank relied on for the pricing of assets and liabilities. More than its peers, Northern Rock had relied on wholesale markets to fund its loan book, hence a larger proportion of funding priced off Libor. In the first half of 2007, the effects of interest rate rises and adverse movement in Libor and swap rates caused the spreads on new fixed-rate mortgage business to narrow, eroding the equivalent of 18bps-20bps of its net interest margin. While profitability was likely to come down from the high, above-peer, levels consistently achieved by the bank over the past few years, we still considered that the bank was then in a position to achieve sound operating performance consistent with our ratings at that time, which were affirmed on 29th June 2007, following the pre close period statement of 27 June 2007.

  2.1.7  When disruptions appeared in the capital markets, we initiated a series of calls with Northern Rock's Treasury Director to discuss liquidity and funding, in particular on 15 August, 3 September and 11 September. The bank explained to us that access to funding was becoming tougher and that securitisation markets were and remained closed, but the bank was working on a covered bond issuance and managing to get mainly short-term funds, and hence the issue for the bank remained primarily related to earnings. At that time, it remained difficult to gauge how long these disruptions would last. On 13 September 2007, the bank contacted us to suggest a conference call for the following morning. The topic was not disclosed. The conference call with members of Northern Rock's management team took place on Friday 14 September at 8am. Northern Rock informed us of the arrangements put in place with the Bank of England, the Treasury and the FSA, and gave more background on the decision and its rationale. We then held a rating committee at 10am the same day. As a result, we downgraded Northern Rock's Long-term Issuer Default Rating to "A" from "A+" and Individual Rating to "B/C" from "A/B", and placed them both on Rating Watch Negative. The Short-term Issuer Default Rating "F1" was also put on Rating Watch Negative. The Support Rating of "3" was affirmed.[11] The downgrade, which we published following the public announcement made by the bank and UK authorities, reflected Northern Rock's vulnerabilities arising from its heavy reliance on wholesale funding given the prolonged turbulence in fixed-income capital markets. The stand-by repo facility and ability to borrow on a secured basis granted by the Bank of England, together with the bank's large treasury portfolio, alleviated short-term liquidity concerns despite market conditions. However, we also stressed at that time that negative market sentiment could further hinder Northern Rock's access to funding. The ratings reflected our view at that time of the expected strength of Northern Rock when normal markets returned. The Rating Watch Negative reflected market uncertainties.

  2.1.8  During the rest of the day and over the weekend, given the queues which built up in front of Northern Rock's branches and the strongly negative reaction to the news of the Bank of England facility, it became evident that the negative reaction of both markets and customers to the news of the arrangements would be even greater than expected. As a result, we held another rating committee on Monday 17 September to review the bank's position. The outcome of the rating committee was as follows: downgrade of the Long-term Issuer Default Rating to "A-" (A minus) from "A", removal of Rating Watch Negative, and assignment of a Stable Outlook; upgrade of the Support Rating to "1" from "3"; downgrade of the Individual Rating to "C/D" from "B/C", but with this rating remaining on Rating Watch Negative; and affirmation of the Short-term Issuer Default Rating at "F1". The upgrade of Northern Rock's Support Rating reflected the continued strong public statements of liquidity support for Northern Rock from the Treasury and the Bank of England. As a result, we did not expect the Long-term Issuer Default Rating to fall below "A-", and hence the Rating Watch Negative was removed. The downgrades of the Long-term Issuer Default Rating and the Individual Rating were based on the increasingly negative sentiment from wholesale market participants and retail depositors, which severely strained the bank's funding options. We believed that when markets normalised, the impact on Northern Rock's franchise and business model from a funding perspective would likely be greater than we anticipated on the previous Friday, despite the bank's sound capitalisation and asset quality. The Rating Watch Negative on the Individual Rating reflected the uncertainty, and also the challenges, of implementing a new business model. The affirmation of the Short-term Issuer Default Rating of "F1" was supported by the stand-by repo facility and ability to borrow on a secured basis granted by the Bank of England, as well as Northern Rock's large treasury portfolio, consisting, at end-June 2007, of loans and advances to banks of GBP6.8 billion and available-for-sale securities of GBP8.0 billion.

2.2  Changes that may be required to the regulatory requirements regarding liquidity

  2.2.1  We have the following observations about the ability to establish effective liquidity requirements. Liquidity is inherently difficult to analyse as it is influenced by perception and confidence. In addition, many assets and liabilities lack a contractual maturity and/or are subject to significant prepayment risk. Asset liquidity is also challenging to assess because assets which are liquid one day may be less so the next as investor and buyer appetite shifts. Liquidity has been the subject of much discussion over recent years as markets have continued to evolve rapidly and increasingly complex on- and off-balance sheet instruments have been introduced. The fact that there is no harmonisation of liquidity standards for banks either at EU or international level is testament to the complexity of the subject and the challenge in adopting a rules-based approach or some mechanism that offers a truly predictive ability. Basel II, and the Capital Requirements Directive, were not designed to specifically address liquidity risk. For example, Pillar 2 (of Basel II) provides the option for regulators to require additional capital to be held as a "substitute" for perceived liquidity deficiencies. However, this approach presupposes that liquidity is available at a price, ie, the additional capital charge will provide a cushion against an asset haircut.

  2.2.2  One of the key challenges in both managing and assessing liquidity for banks is the broad range of size, structure, franchise, etc that is seen in the bank community, together with the increasingly complex nature of banking. Clearly, a "one size fits all" approach is not appropriate, yet a clear framework within which to operate is necessary. That would argue for a bespoke approach, however, the task then becomes more complex and transparency becomes increasingly difficult to achieve.

  2.2.3  Banks themselves need to balance the need to maintain appropriate liquidity with a need to make a return on assets. Holding a large portfolio of UK gilts, for example, will probably leave most banks with, at best, a zero or minimum return—that is, liquidity has a cost. The cost of maintaining liquidity that would guarantee coverage in a severe liquidity crisis would be challenging for a bank. This means that, realistically, banks tend to maintain what is considered appropriate to meet a reasonable stress, and rely on the provision of additional liquidity by external sources in the event of an extreme crisis.

3.  DEPOSITOR PROTECTION

3.1  The current position regarding Northern Rock's depositor guarantees, and the Government's balance sheet

  3.1.1  As discussed above, our most recent rating actions with respect to Northern Rock reflected the strong public statements of liquidity support for the bank from the UK authorities throughout that day (17 September) and the preceding weekend. The actual announcement later that day that the UK authorities would guarantee all existing deposits at Northern Rock confirmed this view. On 9 October, the Treasury announced the extension of the guarantee, at Northern Rock's request, to all new deposits made after 19 September. Despite the guarantee from the Treasury and the Bank of England, the rating was not raised to "AAA" as the guarantee is only in place during the current period of instability in the financial markets.

3.2  Possible modifications to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, including, but not limited to, limits of deposit protection, funding of the scheme and payout times, in the light of the publication by the Tripartite Authorities on 11 October of a document entitled "Banking reform—protecting depositors: a discussion paper"

  3.2.1  Depositor protection schemes (as opposed to a 100% guarantee) typically only guarantee, to an individual, the return of a specified amount of money on deposit with a bank or financial institution that is part of the deposit protection scheme. From a rating perspective, the existence of a depositor protection scheme is therefore not a major factor. Clearly two companies can be covered by the same scheme but possess very different risk profiles. Where a depositor protection scheme can prove beneficial is in a stress situation. Specifically, for a bank or banking system experiencing a crisis of confidence, the existence of such a scheme can help alleviate or even prevent a run on a bank, since retail depositors may take comfort from the scheme. In other words, such a scheme can potentially help stabilise the financial position of the bank and its credit rating, albeit typically at a much lower level than before the crisis struck. That said, such a scheme might not be sufficient to restore confidence in a bank and therefore stabilize its financial position. Also, any benefit to a specific institution will clearly depend upon the composition of its funding. Indeed, even if a depositor protection scheme is in place and a bank is heavily retail funded, its unprotected wholesale deposits and capital market funding, which are highly confidence sensitive, may nevertheless disappear to such an extent that a liquidity crisis would be triggered.

  3.2.2  In terms of reforming the existing Financial Services Compensation Scheme as detailed in the discussion paper referred to above, one potential option is to change the general ranking of depositors so that they have preferred creditor status in a liquidation. This is the case for depositors in the US, for example, and in a number of other countries. However, while such a change would clearly benefit depositors in terms of ultimate recovery it, in itself, would not help address the issue of timely access to the deposited money. In addition, the change in status for depositors would not be without cost. Specifically, other senior unsecured creditors that currently rank pari pasu with depositors would become subordinated to the depositors. The actual extent of the economic impact of any subordination, and resulting potential negative rating action, would depend upon the scope/amount of deposits granted preferred status, the type of preference granted and the exact make-up of the relevant bank's liability structure.

4.  OVERALL FUNCTIONING OF FINANCIAL MARKETS

4.1  Lessons learnt from the effect of US sub-prime mortgage lending defaults on financial institutions and financial stability

  4.1.1  It remains our view that the current challenging market conditions faced by financial institutions, which were triggered by the difficulties in the US sub-prime mortgage market, have raised serious liquidity rather than solvency concerns. The majority of financial institutions are in a robust financial position with strong underlying earnings, good asset quality and robust capitalisation. Nevertheless, the impact of the sub-prime problems on liquidity has been significant, primarily via two channels: first, it is more challenging and more expensive to raise funding; and second, illiquid secondary markets have made it difficult to value positions in structured credit products and the valuations that are available are very stressed (which has resulted in large mark-to-market losses) for some banks. In our view, this unprecedented lack of liquidity was created by an acute lack of confidence in the global capital markets. Market participants simply withdrew from the market as they were concerned they would ultimately end up exposed either directly or indirectly to the US sub-prime market. Capital markets are still highly volatile: investors remain concerned and issuers are not keen to access the market at current pricing levels. One of the key issues, therefore, is how to restore confidence to the market? In our view, one of the primary ways this can be achieved is through increased disclosure and transparency. Since part of the paralysis that affected market participants was due to a lack of knowledge about the exposure of counterparties to the US sub-prime market, any initiative that results in greater financial disclosure, either through accounting, regulatory or self-imposed mechanisms, should be welcomed. Particular areas where increased transparency would be beneficial include: (i) more detailed information on exposure to structured credit products (such as sectors involved and credit quality of the underlying assets); (ii) where such exposures are held (eg, on balance sheet, in either the banking or trading book, or off-balance sheet); (iii) for sponsored ABCP conduits, more data on underlying asset quality and composition by sector; (iv) nature and quality of actual and contingent exposures to specific off-balance sheet vehicles, including SIVs and third-party ABCP conduits; (v) valuation methodologies for structured credit products; (vi) break-down of LBO exposures by sector, asset quality and product type; and (vii) information with respect to investments in first loss pieces in securitizations, whether directly originated and retained, or purchased from third-parties. In addition, it would be helpful if such information were disclosed in a consistent format within each bank, and published on a regular basis.

4.2  The effects of highly leveraged transactions, including those relating to private equity, on financial institutions and financial stability

  4.2.1  In terms of the leveraged buyout ("LBO") market, the current illiquid market has meant that many banks are forced to retain risk that they had previously been able to process and distribute, acting primarily in the roles of advisor, intermediary and temporary warehouse of risk. The rapid evaporation of liquidity in the LBO market over the summer has resulted in banks' balance sheets becoming a longer-term home for LBO loans, which exposes their earnings to fluctuations in the price of the underlying assets. However, it is our view that, even under extreme scenarios, bank capital stands up very well to a highly illiquid LBO market; we believe that the major bank players in the LBO market have the flexibility to ride out a prolonged period of illiquidity. Furthermore, the banks' large and diversified earnings profiles allow them to emerge relatively unscathed even if they were forced to sell deals, funded at par, at the currently anticipated level of distressed prices. However, this issue raises broader concerns in that the current LBO market is a drain on bank liquidity. This, combined with the banks' potential exposure to ABCP conduits, SIVs and generally illiquid structured credit markets, means that liquidity is at a premium and could result in an increased probability of a credit crunch, which in turn could lead to asset quality problems.

4.3  The effect of complex financial instruments on financial stability, and the need for greater transparency in regard to such instruments

  4.3.1  We have advocated greater financial transparency with regard to complex financial instruments for some years now, through, for example, our publicly available annual credit derivative survey and contributions to regulatory bodies such as the Financial Stability Forum. Our particular concerns relate to the credit derivatives markets. These products make it much easier for banks to originate and distribute risk rather than originate and hold, which has been the traditional banking model. As a result, by being an investor in another bank's structured products or a seller of credit protection in the credit default swap market, banks are able to increase their exposure to credit risk. However, it is important to note that these products allow greater flexibility in managing credit risk as they have effectively added liquidity to the banking book—a traditionally illiquid asset. They can, therefore, also reduce an institution's exposure to credit risk. Indeed, our overall view of the credit derivative market is that it has been a positive development for the global financial system, facilitating enhanced risk transfer and dispersion. Growth in the credit derivatives market has significantly increased liquidity in the secondary credit markets and allowed the efficient transfer of risk to other sectors that lack direct origination capabilities. The issue, though, is that financial transparency has not kept up with the pace of market growth and innovation. Despite fairly recent accounting standards such as IFRS 7 "Financial Instruments: Disclosures", financial reporting in this area is still opaque and current disclosure potentially obscures an institution's intrinsic risk profile, net of the effect of credit derivatives, and increasingly has the potential to render peer group comparisons of traditional financial ratios less relevant. Without enhanced disclosure, it is extremely difficult for the average investor or counterparty to assess the influence of credit derivatives on an institution's risk profile. In particular, with respect to banks' traditional measures of loan growth, concentrations, asset quality and leverage have the potential to be heavily influenced by the use of credit derivatives as well as other forms of risk transfer. We remain fully supportive of any initiatives to improve disclosure and financial transparency in this area.

4.4  The role and regulation of ratings agencies

  4.4.1  We provide independent, timely and prospective opinions on the creditworthiness of entities and transactions. These opinions, which are expressed as credit ratings, are intended to be used by investors as an indication of the likelihood of receiving their principal and interest back in accordance with the terms on which they invested. However, we expect our ratings to be only one of many factors that an investor will consider when making an investment, since the ratings address only one of many factors that would typically be relevant to such a decision. For example, our ratings do not opine on relative market pricing. We would note that we make it very clear in the definitions of our ratings, available on our free public website, what our ratings mean.

  4.4.2  The credit ratings themselves express risk in relative rank order, which is to say they are ordinal measures of credit risk. Thus, they should be regarded as broadly consistent indicators of relative vulnerability, rather than predictive indicators of actual, cardinal default rates. Obligations that are highly-rated have lower credit risk than lower-rated obligations, but the individual ratings themselves are not intended to be predictive of a cardinal frequency of default or a percentage expected loss.

  4.4.3  Our ratings are assigned in a manner reflective of our core principles—objectivity, independence, integrity and transparency—and our Code of Conduct is consistent with the IOSCO Code of Conduct Fundamentals for Credit Rating Agencies (the "IOSCO Fundamentals"). We make all published methodologies and criteria freely available on our public website, so that interested parties can understand our approach. All rating actions with respect to public ratings are accompanied by a published rationale to explain the key factors behind the rating decision in each case.

  4.4.4  Since 2002, rating agencies have been under review by a variety of national and supranational regulatory bodies. Because a credit rating is fundamentally an opinion (about creditworthiness), these bodies have generally concluded that they cannot meaningfully regulate the substance of these opinions, or the procedures and methodologies by which these opinions are determined. Regulatory bodies do not want to incur the potential moral hazard that such regulation could entail; additionally, they recognize that such regulation could lead to a standardization of methodologies, thereby removing the benefits of competition in the credit rating industry.

  4.4.5  The focus, instead, is on ensuring that rating agencies have policies and procedures in place that address potential conflicts of interest and protect the confidentiality of nonpublic information. The approach of the IOSCO Fundamentals (referred to above), which has been widely accepted by regulators globally, is to set forward guidelines for rating agencies to follow when establishing their own codes of conduct. The following areas are specifically addressed: quality and integrity of the rating process, rating agency independence and avoidance of conflicts of interest, transparency and timeliness of ratings disclosure, treatment of confidential information, and disclosure of codes of conduct/communication with market participants. The IOSCO Fundamentals are not prescriptive; however, they do operate on the basis of the "comply or explain" principle. We would also note that the IOSCO task force that deals with rating agencies is currently reviewing whether the IOSCO Fundamentals need to be amended to address structured finance specifically. We are involved in this review process.

  4.4.6  Nonetheless, we acknowledge the need among all financial market participants, including the rating agencies and regulators, to review fully the causes of the recent events in the financial markets. We accept that some investors have lost confidence in certain types of credit ratings. It is therefore imperative that we take action to restore that confidence. We are currently responding by looking at ways in which we can further enhance our products, criteria and methodologies. We welcome constructive feedback from all market participants and we are happy to engage in full and frank discussions with regulators regarding the most appropriate way forward for our industry.

4.5  The role of hedge funds in the recent financial disturbance

  4.5.1  Since 2005, the hedge fund ("HF") industry is estimated to have grown from around USD1 trillion of assets under management to more recent estimates of USD2 trillion on an unleveraged basis. Financial leverage, primarily from prime brokers and other banks, increases the funds that HFs are able to deploy by a factor of at least 2-3 times—implying closer to USD4-6 trillion of investable assets. This rapid growth has been particularly evident in certain sectors of the credit markets. For example, in the rapidly growing credit derivatives market, HFs are estimated to account for 60% of trading volumes in credit default swaps. Furthermore, the willingness of HFs to trade frequently, employ leverage and invest further down the credit spectrum has magnified their importance as a source of liquidity. However, as an investor class, HFs are inherently unstable largely due to their reliance on short-term, margin-based leverage. Their role is distinctly different from that of the more traditional buy-and-hold institutional investors and relationship-oriented banks. Indeed, given the continued growth of HFs in the credit markets, the potential for a more synchronous forced unwind of credit assets is a possibility. For example, a sudden market shock that results in a price decline in certain assets would require HFs to sell assets to meet margin calls. In such a situation, HFs are likely to sell their most liquid assets first, thus potentially depressing the prices on these assets and increasing asset correlation in general. In addition, as HFs struggle to meet their margin calls, they are effectively removed as a source of liquidity from the market, thus potentially exacerbating already illiquid markets. Although it is extremely difficult to quantify this effect in the context of the current financial market difficulties, given the lack of transparency in the HF industry, there is no doubt that their ability to provide liquidity to the market has been severely impaired by the decline in asset prices, particularly in the structured credit market.

November 2007







11   Our benchmark bank rating is the Issuer Default Rating, which reflects a relative likelihood of default. For the separate ratings of individual bonds, loss severity is used to notch obligations relative to the issuer's IDR. A bond with average recovery given default expectations will be rated at the same level as the issuer's rating. A bond with notably above-average recovery given default expectations will be notched up from the IDR, while a bond with notably below-average recovery given default expectations will be notched down from the IDR. Fitch Ratings also assigns Individual and Support Ratings to banks to provide further clarity on the two key factors that feed into a bank's IDR. Support Ratings provide our opinion of a potential supporter's propensity to support a bank, and of its ability to do so, while Individual Ratings provide a view of the stand-alone position of the bank excluding such support. Back


 
previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2008
Prepared 1 February 2008