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Levitt On The Mortgage Crisis

SpinearticlesubjectWall Street Journalpiece
As documented both in the media and by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), credit ratings agencies -- such as Moody's Investor Service, S&P, and Fitch Ratings -- are playing both coach and referee in the debt game. They rate companies and issuers that pay them for that service. And, in the case of structured financial instruments which make it possible to securitize all those subprime mortgages, they help issuers construct these products to obtain the highest possible rating. These conflicts are hard to spot because transparency among these agencies is murky at best, and currently it is difficult to hold these agencies accountable for any wrongdoing.