NEW YORK (
) -- Ratings agency
Standard & Poor's
cut its rating of
(GS - Get Report)
Bank of America's
(BAC - Get Report)
Merrill Lynch unit and
(C - Get Report)
long term debt from A to A-, and put their ratings on a "negative" watch, according to a statement issued after the market close Tuesday.
The new ratings were part of a sweeping change to its rating methodology for 37 financial institutions published on Nov. 9 . The changes also led to a
(WFC - Get Report)
downgrade from AA- to A+ and a
(JPM - Get Report)
cut to A from A+, among a host of bank cuts spanning the world.
of the Netherlands, which lost its vaunted AAA rating and mega-banks from Switzerland's
, to Spain's
of Britain among others.
For Goldman, Bank of America and Citigroup, the cut may prove to be costly. According to
reports, Bank of America said in a November filing with regulators that if its rating were cut a notch, it would have to post $5.1 billion of additional collateral and other payments on its trades.
While Bank of America Merrill Lynch holds the same A- rating with S&P as competitors Goldman and Citigroup, Moody's holds its rating at Baa1 - below the A3 and A1 levels it ascribes to Citigroup and Goldman respectively.
Bank of America shares fell over 1% in afterhours trading after the company hit its 2011 low of $5.03 in Tuesday trading.
In its revised calculations, S&P raised its outlook on the ratings of
from "negative" to "stable."
-- Written by Antoine Gara in New York