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Fitch Downgrades SocGen, Agricole, BPCE Following Sovereign Cut

July 17 (Bloomberg) -- Societe Generale SA, Credit Agricole SA and Groupe BPCE had their credit grades cut at Fitch Ratings following last week’s decision to strip France of its top rating.

Societe Generale, Credit Agricole and BPCE, three of France’s four biggest banks by assets, had their long-term issuer default rating cut to A from A+, with stable outlook, Fitch said in a statement today. BNP Paribas SA, France’s largest bank, saw its long-term credit grade A+ unchanged with a stable outlook unaffected, Fitch said.

France on July 12 was cut by one level to AA+ from AAA by Fitch, which highlighted concern about lack of growth and a buildup of debt in Europe’s second-largest economy. Fitch joined Moody’s Investors Service and Standard & Poor’s in removing France from the shrinking club of top rated nations.

“The downgrade of the French state to AA+ means that Fitch considers its ability to support French banks has decreased slightly,” the ratings agency said

Fitch also cut the rating of Dexia SA and Dexia Credit Local to A from A+ with stable outlook and downgraded state-owned La Banque Postale’s long-term credit grade to A+ from AA-with stable outlook.

To contact the reporter on this story: Fabio Benedetti-Valentini in Paris at fabiobv@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Frank Connelly at fconnelly@bloomberg.net; Edward Evans at eevans3@bloomberg.net

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