The rating agencies took the following actions last week:
Barnett Banks Inc.: Moody's investors Service Inc. said it may upgrade the Jacksonville, Fla., company, citing stronger capital and asset quality. Moody's said it will review Barnett's strength and future profit-ability as well as its prospects for improved efficiency in light of the company's in-market acquisition of First Florida Banks.
Under review are the Baa1 senior debt grade and Baa2 subordinated debt and preferred stock ratings. The A2 long-term deposit ratings of Barnett's bank subsidiaries are also being reviewed. But their short-term deposit ratings were confirmed at Prime-1.
Chase Manhattan Corp.: Fitch Investors Service Inc. assigned a BBB-plus rating to the bank's new $150 million issue of subordinated floating-rate notes due July 15, 2003. It described the company's credit trend as improving. Duff & Phelps also rated the notes BBB-plus.
Credit Lyonnais: Standard & Poor's lowered long-term debt to A from AA-minus. Short-term debt was cut to Al from A1-plus. S&P attributed the downgrades to the high cost of carrying nonperforming assets, the French bank's large portfolio of equity holdings in industrial companies, and a big increase in loan-loss provisions.
"The Credit Lyonnais group's significant European expansion and increase in high-yield activities in recent years renders the group more sensitive to the economic cycle at a time when the downturn in Europe looks worse than expected even six months ago," Standard & Poor's said.
NationsBank Corp.: Fitch Investors Service gave an A-plus grade to the company's new senior medium-term notes and an A rating to subordinated medium-term notes. The agency said proceeds from the notes will fund the NationsCredit consumer finance subsidiary, whose operations and earnings base were bolstered by the recent acquisition of Chrysler First Inc. NationsBank's broad base of core retail funding was a major factor in the ratings, Fitch said.
Schroders PLC: IBCA, the British rating agency, upgraded the bank's issuer rating to B from B/C. It attributed the upgrade to sustained profit growth over the past two years.