Justice Department Puts S&P Under A Microscope

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The Justice Department reportedly is investigating Standard and Poor's to see whether the nation's largest credit ratings agency improperly rated mortgage securities prior to the financial crisis. The New York Times says the probe started before S&P downgraded the nation's credit rating earlier this month.

DAVID GREENE, host:

NPR's business news starts with Standard & Poor's under a microscope.

(Soundbite of music)

GREENE: The Justice Department is reportedly investigating S&P to see whether the nation's largest credit ratings agency improperly rated mortgage securities prior to the financial crisis. The New York Times says the probe started before S&P downgraded the nation's credit rating earlier this month.

The agency made record profits during the housing boom, as it gave its seal of approval to bundles of what were actually very risky mortgages. The Times reports the Securities and Exchange Commission is also looking into S&P. It's not clear yet whether the two other leading ratings agencies, Moody's and Fitch, are also being investigated.

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