U.S. municipalities should make public disclosures about direct debt sales to banks, which are increasingly used in place of variable-rate demand bonds, Fitch Ratings said.
Because there is no disclosure requirement for direct bank placements, ratings companies and investors may not be aware of them, New York-based Fitch said in a statement today.
The direct sales tend to be bonds maturing in three to seven years that are privately placed with commercial or investment banks, Fitch said.
Many have a similar structure to variable-rate bonds, where the issuer must remarket or repurchase the debt at a certain time or face higher interest costs or a faster repayment schedule.
These risks may have “a negative impact on the credit profile of an issuer and possibly cause a rating downgrade if issuers must refinance or repay bonds in an accelerated timeframe,” Fitch Ratings said.