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S&P lowers ratings on Fannie, Freddie

Standard & Poor's lowered the ratings on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Monday after downgrading the U.S. government's sovereign debt rating to double-A-plus late last week. Analysts also lowered the ratings on 10 of the 12 Federal Home Loan Banks and on senior debt held by FHLB banks as well. All went from triple-A to double-A-plus. The outlook on all affected institutions is negative. "The downgrades of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac reflect their direct reliance on the U.S. government," S&P said in a statement. "Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were placed into conservatorship in September 2008 and their ability to fund operations relies heavily on the U.S. government. In addition to the implicit support we factor into our ratings, the U.S. Treasury has demonstrated explicit support by providing these entities with capital quarterly, as necessary." S&P also lowered ratings on the senior debt issued by the Federal Farm Credit Banks to double-A-plus, although ratings on the individual farm member banks are not affected. The Chicago and Seattle Federal Home Loan Banks weren't downgraded because S&P already rated them at double-A due to lower stand-alone credit profiles. Write to: Kerri Panchuk.

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