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The Role of Banks in the Subprime Financial Crisis

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  • Michele Fratianni

    (Department of Business Economics and Public Policy, Indiana University Kelley School of Business)

  • Francesco Marchionne

    (Universita Politecnica delle Marche)

Abstract

The ultimate point of origin of the great financial crisis of 2007-2009 can be traced back to an extremely indebted US economy. The collapse of the real estate market in 2006 was the close point of origin of the crisis. The failure rates of subprime mortgages were the first symptom of a credit boom tuned to bust and of a real estate shock. But large default rates on subprime mortgages cannot account for the severity of the crisis. Rather, low-quality mortgages acted as an accelerant to the fire that spread through the entire financial system. The latter had become fragile as a result of several factors that are unique to this crisis: the transfer of assets from the balance sheets of banks to the markets, the creation of complex and opaque assets, the failure of ratings agencies to properly assess the risk of such assets, and the application of fair value accounting. To these novel factors, one must add the now standard failure of regulators and supervisors in spotting and correcting the emerging weaknesses. Accounting data fail to reveal the full extent of the financial maelstrom. Ironically, according to these data, US banks appear to be still adequately capitalized. Yet, bank undercapitalization is the biggest stumbling block to a resolution of the financial crisis.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy in its series Working Papers with number 2009-02.

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Date of creation: Apr 2009
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Handle: RePEc:iuk:wpaper:2009-02

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Keywords: accounting; banks; credit; crisis; fair values; risk aversion; undercapitalization;

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References

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  1. Pietro Alessandrini & Michele Fratianni, 2009. "Resurrecting Keynes to Stabilize the International Monetary System," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 20(3), pages 339-358, July.
  2. Frederic S. Mishkin, 1991. "Asymmetric Information and Financial Crises: A Historical Perspective," NBER Chapters, in: Financial Markets and Financial Crises, pages 69-108 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Fratianni Michele, 2008. "Financial Crises, Safety Nets and Regulation," Rivista italiana degli economisti, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 2, pages 169-208.
  4. Allen N. Berger & Gregory F. Udell, 2003. "The institutional memory hypothesis and the procyclicality of bank lending behaviour," BIS Working Papers 125, Bank for International Settlements.
  5. Dell''Ariccia, Giovanni & Igan, Deniz & Laeven, Luc, 2008. "Credit Booms and Lending Standards: Evidence From The Subprime Mortgage Market," CEPR Discussion Papers 6683, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Edward M. Gramlich, 2007. "Booms and busts: the case of subprime mortgages," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q IV, pages 105-113.
  7. Kindleberger,, 2008. "Financial Crises," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521068710, October.
  8. Tobias Adrian & Hyun Song Shin, 2008. "Liquidity and leverage," Staff Reports 328, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  9. Paolo Savona & Aurelio Maccario, 1998. "On the Relation between Money and Derivatives and its Application to the International Monetary Market," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 637-664, January.
  10. repec:rie:review:v:13:y:2008:i:2:n:1 is not listed on IDEAS
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Cited by:
  1. Cucculelli, Marco & Marchionne, Francesco, 2012. "Market opportunities and owner identity: Are family firms different?," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 476-495.
  2. Michele Fratianni & Francesco Marchionne, 2013. "The fading stock market response to announcements of bank bailouts," Mo.Fi.R. Working Papers 76, Money and Finance Research group (Mo.Fi.R.) - Univ. Politecnica Marche - Dept. Economic and Social Sciences.
  3. Michele Fratianni & Francesco Marchionne, 2010. "Banks’ Great Bailout of 2008-2009," Working Papers 2010-03, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
  4. Michele Fratianni & Francesco Marchionne, 2009. "Rescuing Banks from the Effects of the Financial Crisis," Mo.Fi.R. Working Papers 30, Money and Finance Research group (Mo.Fi.R.) - Univ. Politecnica Marche - Dept. Economic and Social Sciences.
  5. Marian NASTASE & Alina Stefania CRETU & Roberta STANEF, 2009. "Effects of Global Financial Crisis," REVISTA DE MANAGEMENT COMPARAT INTERNATIONAL/REVIEW OF INTERNATIONAL COMPARATIVE MANAGEMENT, Faculty of Management, Academy of Economic Studies, Bucharest, Romania, vol. 10(4), pages 691-699, October.
  6. Michele Fratianni & Francesco Marchionne, 2010. "The Banking Bailout of the Subprime Crisis: Size and Effects," PSL Quarterly Review, Economia civile, vol. 63(254), pages 187-233.
  7. Dimitrios N.Koumparoulis, 2011. "Will human action by Ludwig von Mises help understand what causes the 2008 economic crisis?," SPOUDAI Journal of Economics and Business, SPOUDAI Journal of Economics and Business, University of Piraeus, vol. 61(3-4), pages 26-47, July - De.
  8. Ken Cyree & Pinghsun Huang & James Lindley, 2012. "The Economic Consequences of Banks’ Derivatives Use in Good Times and Bad Times," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer, vol. 41(3), pages 121-144, June.

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