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Credit Ratings

What The Credit Ratings Mean

Moody's

Standard & Poor's

AM Best

Personal FICO

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Moody's Credit Ratings

Aaa

Bonds and preferred stock which are rated Aaa are judged to be of the best quality. They carry the smallest degree of investment risk and are generally referred to as "gilt edged." Interest payments are protected by a large or by an exceptionally stable margin and principal is secure. While the various protective elements are likely to change, such changes as can be visualized are most unlikely to impair the fundamentally strong position of such issues.

Aa

Bonds and preferred stock which are rated Aa are judged to be of high quality by all standards. Together with the Aaa group they comprise what are generally known as high-grade bonds. They are rated lower than the best bonds because margins of protection may not be as large as in Aaa securities or fluctuation of protective elements may be of greater amplitude or there may be other elements present which make the long-term risk appear somewhat larger than the Aaa securities.

A

Bonds and preferred stock which are rated A possess many favorable investment attributes and are to be considered as upper-medium-grade obligations. Factors giving security to principal and interest are considered adequate, but elements may be present which suggest a susceptibility to impairment some time in the future.

Baa

Bonds and preferred stock which are rated Baa are considered as medium-grade obligations (i.e., they are neither highly protected nor poorly secured). Interest payments and principal security appear adequate for the present but certain protective elements may be lacking or may be characteristically unreliable over any great length of time. Such bonds lack outstanding investment characteristics and in fact have speculative characteristics as well.

Ba

Bonds and preferred stock which are rated Ba are judged to have speculative elements; their future cannot be considered as well-assured. Often the protection of interest and principal payments may be very moderate, and thereby not well safeguarded during both good and bad times over the future.  Uncertainty of position characterizes bonds in this class.

B

Bonds and preferred stock which are rated B generally lack characteristics of the desirable investment. Assurance of interest and principal payments or of maintenance of other terms of the contract over any long period of time may be small.

Caa

Bonds and preferred stock which are rated Caa are of poor standing. Such issues may be in default or there may be present elements of danger with respect to principal or interest.

Ca

Bonds and preferred stock which are rated Ca represent obligations which are speculative in a high degree. Such issues are often in default or have other marked shortcomings.

C

Bonds and preferred stock which are rated C are the lowest rated class of bonds, and issues so rated can be regarded as having extremely poor prospects of ever attaining any real investment standing.

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Standard & Poor's Credit Ratings

AAA

A corporate long term obligation rated AAA has the highest rating assigned by Standard & Poor's.  The obligor's capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligation is extremely strong.

AA

An obligation rated AA differs from the highest rated obligations only to a small degree.  The obligor's capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligation is very strong.

A

An Obligation rated A is somewhat more susceptible to the adverse effects of changes in circumstances and economic conditions than obligations in higher rated categories.  However, the obligor's capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligation is still strong.

BBB

An obligation rated BBB exhibits adequate protection parameters.  However, adverse economic conditions or changing circumstances are more likely to lead to a weakened capacity of the obligor to meet its financial commitment on the obligation.

BB

An obligation rated BB is less vulnerable to nonpayment than other speculative issues.  However, it faces major ongoing uncertainties or exposure to adverse business, financial, or economic conditions that could lead to the obligor's inadequate capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligation.

B

An obligation rated B is more vulnerable to nonpayment than obligations rated BB but the obligor currently has the capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligation.  Adverse business, financial, or economic conditions will likely impair the obligor's capacity or willingness to meet its financial commitment on the obligation.

CCC

An obligation rated CCC is currently vulnerable to nonpayment, and is dependent upon favorable business, financial, and economic conditions for the obligor to meet its financial commitment on the obligation.  In the event of adverse business, financial, or economic conditions, the obligor is not likely to have the capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligation.

CC

An obligation rated CC is currently highly vulnerable to nonpayment.

C

The C rating may be used to cover a situation where a bankruptcy petition has been filed or similar action has been taken but payments on this obligation are being continued.  C is also used for a preferred stock that is in arrears (as well as for junior debt of issuers rated CCC and CC).

D

The D rating, unlike other ratings, is not prospective; rather, it is used only where a default has actually occurred - and not where a default is only expected.

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AM Best Long Term Credit Ratings

Investment Grade:

AAA = Exceptional

Assigned to issues where, in our opinion, the issuer has an exceptional ability to meet the terms of the obligation

AA = Very strong

Assigned to issues where, in our opinion, the issuer has a very strong ability to meet the terms of the obligation.

A = Strong

Assigned to issues where, in our opinion, the issuer has a strong ability to meet the terms of the obligation.

BBB = Adequate

Assigned to issues where, in our opinion, the issuer has an adequate ability to meet the terms of the obligation;

however, the issue is more susceptible to changes in economic or other conditions.

Non-Investment Grade:

BB = Speculative

Assigned to issues where, in our opinion, the issuer has speculative credit characteristics, generally due to a

moderate margin of principal and interest payment protection and vulnerability to economic changes.

B = Very Speculative

Assigned to issues where, in our opinion, the issuer has very speculative credit characteristics, generally due to a modest margin of principal and interest payment protection and extreme vulnerability to economic changes.

CCC - CC - C = Extremely Speculative

Assigned to issues where, in our opinion, the issuer has extremely speculative credit characteristics, generally due to a minimal margin of principal and interest payment protection and/or limited ability to withstand adverse changes in economic or other conditions.

D = In Default

Assigned to issues in default on payment of principal, interest or other terms and conditions, or when a bankruptcy petition or similar action has been filed.

AM Best’s Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating is an opinion of an issuer/entity’s ability to meet its ongoing senior financial obligations.  Ratings from “aa” to “ccc” may be enhanced with a “+” (plus) or “-” (minus) to indicate whether credit quality is near the top or bottom of a category

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Personal FICO Ratings

Fair Isaac and Co. wrote the software in 1980s that produces scores for three main credit reporting bureaus, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Hence FICO score. It is calculated using credit report data.

760 - 849     Excellent score. The lender will offer you their best interest rate.

700 - 759     Great score. There won't be any trouble in getting a loan at good interest rate.

660 - 699     Good score. There won't be any problem in getting a loan at good interest rate.

620 - 659     Fair score. You may qualify for the loan but not at good interest rates.

580 - 619     Poor score. You may qualify but the interest rates will be very high.

500 - 579     Very poor score. It's doubtful that you may qualify for the loan.






















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