Standard & Poor's lowered its ratings on Green Tree Financial Corp.'s senior unsecured debt, commercial paper, and subordinated debt.

The rating agency cited concern about the value of the assets on the company's balance sheet, its expansion into riskier areas, increased competition, and reduced financial flexibility.

Green Tree took two significant writedowns in recent months and restated its 1996 earnings, citing underperforming loan pools.

The company's senior unsecured debt was knocked from BBB-plus, to BBB- minus; subordinated debt was lowered to BB-plus, from BBB; and commercial paper to A-3, from A-2.

After the downgrade, Green Tree was removed from Standard & Poor's CreditWatch list and tagged "outlook: stable."

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