A credit rating facilitates the trading of securities on a secondary market.
It affects the interest rate that a security pays out, with higher ratings leading to lower interest rates.
An agency may rate the creditworthiness of issuers of debt obligations, of debt instruments, but not of individual consumers.
The debt instruments rated by CRAs include government bonds, corporate bonds, CDs, municipal bonds, preferred stock, and collateralized securities, such as mortgage-backed securities and collateralized debt obligations.
Individual consumers are rated for creditworthiness not by credit rating agencies but by credit bureaus (also called consumer reporting agencies or credit reference agencies), which issue credit scores.
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