Lloyds Banking Group Plc (LLOY) and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc (RBS) are among 14 U.K. lenders whose debt Moody’s Investors Service is considering downgrading as withdrawal of government support may increase credit risk.
Santander U.K. Plc and customer-owned lenders including Nationwide Building Society also had debt ratings put on review for a possible downgrade. The outlook on Barclays Plc (BARC)’s senior debt and deposit ratings was changed to negative from stable, Moody’s said.
British banks accepted about 1 trillion pounds ($1.6 trillion) in government bailouts and guarantees following the 2008 financial crisis, support that Moody’s said accounts for between two and five credit grades for larger U.K. lenders and one to five levels for smaller lenders. The review comes as stocks slump globally amid concern Europe’s debt crisis is worsening and the global economic recovery is waning.
The reassessment was initiated in response to guidance from U.K. authorities “that banks that fail in the future should not expect capital injections from the public purse,” Elisabeth Rudman, a senior credit officer at Moody’s, said in the statement. It “is not driven by either a deterioration in the financial strength of the banking system or that of the government.”
Politicians and business groups have criticized British lenders for failing to boost credit and fuel the nation’s economy even after receiving government support.
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