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Standard & Poor’s downgrades 15 Spanish banks

Standard & Poor’s on Monday lowered the credit rating of 15 Spanish banks in a move that follows the agency’s downgrade of Spain last month.

It lowered its credit ratings on 10 banks by one notch and it cut its rating on another five by two notches.

Spain’s biggest financial institutions were hit including Santander, BBVA, Bankia and CaixaBank, the ratings agency said in a statement.

The agency lowered its rating for Santander, the biggest eurozone bank by market capitalisation, to A+ from AA- and lowered its rating for BBVA, Spain’s second-largest bank, to A from A+.

“We expect the Spanish banking system’s profitability to remain below its historical average over the medium term as banks continue to operate in an unfavorable economic and financial environment” it said in a statement.

Standard & Poor’s downgraded Spain’s sovereign debt rating to A from AA- on January 13.

Earlier on Monday Fitch Ratings lowered the credit rating of Spain’s four largest banks — Santander, BBVA, Bankia and Caixabank — following its downgrade of Spain last month.