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S&P Cuts Doral Financial On Dividend Suspension

NEW YORK (AP) ¿ Standard & Poor's Ratings Services lowered its ratings on all of Doral Financial Corp.'s preferred shares Friday, after the Puerto Rican bank suspended its dividend payments.

S&P cut its ratings by five notches, to "C'' from "CCC."

The ratings agency also placed its "B+" long-term counterparty credit rating on Doral on CreditWatch with negative implications.

All of the ratings are non-investment grade, or "junk" status.

The downgrades follow the company's announcement, included in its annual report filed Friday, that suspended dividend payments on its three outstanding series of non-cumulative preferred stock and its outstanding series of cumulative preferred stock.

S&P credit analyst Robert Hansen noted that the company's report also showed that credit quality continued to deteriorate in the fourth quarter, notably within the bank's mortgage portfolio. Fourth-quarter results were hurt by a large, noncash impairment on deferred tax assets and the establishment of a $21.6 million reserve for exposure to Lehman Brothers Inc.
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