Investors may fret rising interest rates when the government tightens its monetary policies, but Standard & Poor's said higher rates should help the nation's banks. "Financial institutions are exposed to interest-rate risk because of mismatches in the maturity structure and re-pricing terms of their assets and liabilities," S&P said. "Despite marketplace concerns, we believe interest-rate risk is unlikely to be a problem for most of the U.S. financial institutions we rate, including commercial banks, asset managers and money markets," S&P credit analyst Rodrigo Quintanilla said. He also said the added benefits of increasing rates depends on the speed of the recovery and the strength of the overall economy. The Federal Open Market Committee voted last week to keep the federal funds rate near zero, citing an economic recovery that is slower than officials expected due to a sagging housing market. While long-term inflation estimates remain stable, the FOMC said the economy is experiencing some inflation tied to higher commodities and import prices. Write to Kerri Panchuk.