Simon English: Moody's six years too late with its alert on RBS

Outlook The prize for the stupidest thing said about banks yesterday – it was a cut-throat day in an always competitive field – came from Moody's.

The ratings agency threatened to downgrade more than 100 banks including our own Royal Bank of Scotland, because it has noticed there's a bit of bother in the eurozone.

A downgrade of RBS would have been extremely helpful information about six years ago, but back then Moody's was of the common view that the bank was a pillar of fiscal probity.

Which raises the question of just what purpose Moody's and Standard & Poor's serve, other than their own enrichment.

They inform us of things we already knew far too late for it tobe helpful.

A banking analyst pal onceapplied for a job rating bank debtat one of the two firms a few years ago. He expressed the view that the big banks were built on sand and were likely to end up nationalised and that therefore bank debt was to be avoided.

No, he didn't get the job.

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