Fitch IBCA, the debt rating agency, said Monday that a planned change in the way it rates bank holding companies and their subsidiaries would prompt lower ratings for most subsidiaries' senior unsecured debt.

According to Fitch senior director Glen H. Grabelsky, the agency, which had been using different criteria for holding companies and subsidiaries, plans to drop the distinction in the first quarter. A report explaining the change is due out this week.

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