In light of what has been said and written since the 2008 financial crisis, there is palpable evidence to suggest that credit rating agencies were in fact responsible for what occurred before and during the crisis. In essence, they (the agencies) displayed a lack honesty in their work by allowing individuals with poor credit ratings to take on high-risk loans despite warnings of an impending market crash.
Credit rating agencies became a little relaxed during a time that the market was doing very well. Because of this, it was easier to obtain a loan through creditors. The agencies also performed less research, assuming that the issued notes would be credible. In many cases, loan officers were offering loans to people, while telling them to put any number down to ensure that they were approved. Many people listed more than they actually made to be approved for the perfect house, and as a result, the market ended up having a crash.
In my opinion the big banks were the reason for the financial crisis. The lent money to the homeowners they knew were going to default. Through the sub prime mortgages, reverse mortgages and other lending practices to risky customers they ended up causing many people to go into default and fall into debt. Because of the heavy debts that were levied onto the customers, the economy collapsed.
The financial crisis may have been encouraged or enabled by the irresponsibility of credit rating agencies, but undoubtedly most of the blame lies with the people who fell into debt. Blame can always be pushed, but the true guilt lies with those who defaulted on their loans and then required the help of government bailouts.