Moody's Investors Service on Wednesday upgraded the Bank of New York Co.'s ratings and assigned a Prime-2 rating to Great Western Financial's pending commercial paper program.

The Bank of New York senior debt was upgraded to A2 from A3, affecting $4.9 billion of longterm debt.

The company's subordinate and short-term ratings were also boosted one notch.

The upgrade affects $200 million of commercial paper at California-based Great Western.

According to Moody's, the upgrades reflect Bank of New York's strong earnings capacity from a variety of core franchises, including securities processing, specialized lending, and credit card operations.

Analysts also noted the company's improved asset quality over the past few years and its effective management of overhead.

Great Western Financial has important franchises in California and Florida, minimal interest rate risk, solid profitability before provisions, and good capital levels, Moody's said.

The company's problem assets have been reduced considerably from previous years through aggressive bulk sales.

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