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Veteran bank analyst Hendler leaves CreditSights

NEW YORK, Oct 31 (Reuters) - Veteran bank analyst David Hendler, known for his criticism of companies he covers, has left CreditSights Inc, an independent bond research firm, and plans to work as a consultant on banking issues next year, he said in an interview on Thursday.

Neither Hendler, 52, nor a CreditSights executive would say why he left. An analyst for three decades, he led CreditSights' coverage of U.S. financial services companies, including JPMorgan Chase & Co, Bank of America Corp and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Pri de Silva, who worked with Hendler, is now senior U.S. bank and brokerage analyst, CreditSights President Peter Petas said in an email to Reuters.

Hendler joined CreditSights in May 2001 as its twelfth employee. He was among the first analysts to warn of increasing risk banks were taking with mortgage securities as home lending surged with the housing bubble.

His willingness to criticize the companies he covered stood in contrast to analysts who worked for major investment banks, who came under fire in the early part of last decade for not being independent enough of corporate clients.

CreditSights has more than 120 employees and publishes some 300 research reports each month. Globally, 19 analysts work on financial services, making one of the largest teams on Wall Street.

Hendler said that as a consultant he will continue to analyze evidence of interest rate risk, which he sees as a major threat to bank profits and capital strength. The damage to an institution from sudden changes in interest rates would add to pressure from Washington on big banks to divide themselves into smaller companies, which would impact bank bondholders, he said.

Petas said that, unrelated to Hendler's departure, the firm is interviewing experts with experience in regulation and risk management because of the increasing importance of new government rules on financial institutions.