S&P trims ratings on lenders

Ratings agency Standard & Poors (S&P) downgraded its outlook and credit rating on major Greek lenders, including Eurobank, reflecting worsening economic and operating conditions in Greece and Southeastern Europe, according to brokers. «The agency said it expects operating performance pressures from higher provisioning, lower volumes, declining interest rates and lower non-interest income,» said Proton Research in a note yesterday. The agency downgraded its outlook on Eurobank and Piraeus Bank to negative from stable. It also lowered its long-term ratings on Alpha Bank and Marfin Popular Bank, «as the asset quality of these big banks is more vulnerable to the deteriorating economic environment versus its peers,» the note said, citing the agency report. National Bank ratings and outlook were affirmed «as its positioning provides resilience versus competition.» Bank shares, which have fallen 76 percent so far this year, added 2.38 percent on the Athens bourse yesterday.