Booming Bonds Boost the Rating Agencies' Fortunes, but Not Their Reputations

Even as angry investors argued about the causes of the credit crisis in its aftermath -- was it lax regulation that caused the meltdown or too much government interference with the housing market? -- they agreed on at least one point. Credit rating agencies like McGraw-Hill's (MHP) Standard & Poor's and Moody's (MCO) were responsible for blessing piles of toxic assets with their highest-quality ratings and had horribly disserved investors.