Declining bad loans at First Interstate Bancorp and UJB Financial Corp. earned them rating upgrades from Moody's Investors Service.

First Interstate's long-term debt was upgraded a notch, to A3 from Baal. The bank's other debt instruments were upgraded as well. In all, $7 billion worth of securities were affected.

The ratings company said the upgrades reflect the bank's "substantial progress" in improving its asset quality, despite economic weakness in some markets.

UJB's shelf registration for senior debt was upgraded to Baa2 from Baa3. The change follows improvements in reserve coverage, the result of a decline in new nonperforming loans, extensive chargeoffs, and provisioning against real estate and commercial loans over the past three years.

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