Fitch on Monday downgraded its credit rating for Spain's two largest banks, Santander and BBVA, by two notches in a move that follows the agency's downgrade of Spain's sovereign rating last week.
The moves "reflect similar concerns to those that have affected the Spanish sovereign rating, in particular, that Spain is forecasted to remain in recession through the remainder of this year and 2013 compared to the previous expectation that the economy would benefit from a mild recovery," Fitch said.
Fitch cut its rating for Santander, the biggest in the eurozone by market value, and BBVA to BBB+ from A.
The move comes just four days after it slashed Spain's sovereign credit rating by three notches to BBB, citing ballooning estimates of the cost of a banking crisis, mushrooming debt and deepening recession.
"Santander's and BBVA's long-term issuer default ratings are one notch above Spain's sovereign rating, reflecting their geographical diversification, strong financial performance and a proven capacity to absorb credit shocks," Fitch said in a statement.