What They MeanMoody's - Standard & Poor's - AM Best - Personal FICO
Moody's Debt RatingsAaa
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Standard & Poor's Debt RatingsAAA
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
An obligation rated CC is currently highly vulnerable to nonpayment.
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).
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.
AM Best RatingsA++ = Superior
A+ = Superior
These insurance companies are defined as Superior companies and are considered to have a very strong ability to meet their obligations
A = Excellent
A- = Excellent
These companies are defined as Excellent companies and are considered to have a strong ability to meet their obligations.
B++ = Very Good
B+ = Very Good
These companies are considered Very Good. While their financial strength may be more susceptible to unfavorable changes in underwriting, economic or environmental conditions that insurers in the higher rating categories, they still have a strong ability to meet their obligations.
B = Fair
B- = Fair
These companies are considered Vulnerable. Companies rated in these categories tend to present progressively higher risks.
C++ = Marginal
C+ = Marginal
C = Weak
C- = Weak
D = Poor
E = Under Regulatory Supervision
F = In Liquidation
S = Suspended
Personal FICO Ratings
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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