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S&P also downgrades Fannie and Freddie, US-backed debt

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Standard & Poor's Ratings Services on Monday downgraded the credit ratings of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and other entities linked to long-term U.S. debt.

S&P also lowered the ratings for: farm lenders; long-term U.S. government-backed debt issued by 32 banks and credit unions; and three major clearinghouses, which are used to execute trades of stocks, bonds and options.

All the downgrades were from AAA to AA+, reflecting the same downgrade S&P made of long-term U.S. government debt on Friday.

The downgrade of the mortgage giants Fannie and Freddie reflected their "direct reliance" on the U.S. government, S&P said.

The U.S. government rescued the two mortgage giants in September 2008 and has funded them since the financial crisis. Fannie and Freddie own or guarantee about half of all U.S. mortgages and nearly all new mortgages. So if the U.S. government can't pay its bills, neither can Fannie and Freddie.

It's unclear how the lower credit rating would affect consumers. The downgrade applied only to corporate bonds, not the mortgage-backed securities that Fannie and Freddie issue.


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