NEW YORK and LONDON - Fitch, the outgrowth of a merger between the ratings agencies Fitch IBCA and Duff & Phelps Credit Rating Co., has released a new set of ratings for North American banks.

They use the original Fitch IBCA definitions, thus eliminating the noninvestment-grade ranking of "D-1" by Duff & Phelps.

The exception is Fitch IBCA's "Rating Alert" category, which will be replaced by "Rating Watch." The alerts are assigned to credit when grade- changes are likely. Fitch has also assigned new ratings for asset management companies and securities firms.

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