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Could increased regulation extend the trend of bank difficulties?

*Financial Times, by Simon Mundy, December 16, 2011

”Fitch downgrades seven leading banks

Fitch Ratings has cut its long-term ratings for seven major banks in Europe and the US, warning that big financial institutions ‘are particularly sensitive to the increased challenges the financial markets face.’

BNP Paribas and Deutsche Bank both had their long-term issuer default rating downgraded by one notch to A plus, while Bank of America, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs were downgraded from A plus to A.

Barclays and Credit Suisse were downgraded by two notches to A, Fitch announced on Thursday evening.

‘Over time market conditions are likely to ease, but Fitch expects market volatility to remain above historical averages and economic growth in developed markets to remain subdued for a prolonged period.  This makes many business lines in securities operations more difficult, due to lower activity and higher funding costs,’ said Fitch, the smallest of the three major rating agencies.

While it noted their progress in building up capital and liquidity buffers, Fitch warned that new regulation could exacerbate the banks’ difficulties by restricting their earnings potential and increasing costs.”

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