Claiming the rating agencies played a key role in the subprime mortgage crisis and its cascading effects in the housing and credit markets, the National Community Reinvestment Coalition is urging the Securities and Exchange Commission to thoroughly investigate them for securities law violations and determine whether they should be fined or lose their registration.

The NCRC, which represents more than 600 community-based organizations that promote banking services to create affordable housing and jobs, made the request in a five-page letter sent to SEC chairman Christopher Cox on Monday, warning it will consider civil litigation if the commission does not address the issues it has raised.

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