Credit rating agencies have been seen as playing an integral role in the financial crisis, having given top marks to billions of dollars worth of bonds that became part of the subprime-mortgage meltdown. Not only were rating models scrutinized, but there was concern about a conflict of interest because issuers pay rating agencies to appraise their securities. However, while lawmakers are overhauling the financial system, rating agencies appear to be left out of the revamp. Lawmakers are reluctant to touch the agencies because they are an essential part of the still-fragile credit machine.

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