WASHINGTON — For banks, the supervisory grade known as a "Camels" score is a critical and confidential yardstick of strength. But for many in the public, it is a riddle too tantalizing to ignore.

The ratings, in use since 1979, are typically known just to the bank's primary regulator that decides its score, as well as senior management.

Limited Time Offer

Save $400 off your subscription. Special offer ends April 30, 2017.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.