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The Role of Banks in the Subprime Financial Crisis

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  • Michele Fratianni

    () (Indiana University, Kelly School of Business, Bloomington US, Univ. Plitecnica Marche and MoFiR)

  • Francesco Marchionne

    () (Universit… Politecnica delle Marche, Faculty of Economics "Giorgio Fu…")

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Michele Fratianni & Francesco Marchionne, 2009. "The Role of Banks in the Subprime Financial Crisis," Mo.Fi.R. Working Papers 23, Money and Finance Research group (Mo.Fi.R.) - Univ. Politecnica Marche - Dept. Economic and Social Sciences.
  • Handle: RePEc:anc:wmofir:23
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Adrian, Tobias & Shin, Hyun Song, 2010. "Liquidity and leverage," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 418-437, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Fratianni, Michele & Marchionne, Francesco, 2013. "The fading stock market response to announcements of bank bailouts," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 69-89.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Francesco Marchionne & Alberto Zazzaro, 2018. "Risk and competitiveness in the Italian banking sector," Mo.Fi.R. Working Papers 147, Money and Finance Research group (Mo.Fi.R.) - Univ. Politecnica Marche - Dept. Economic and Social Sciences.
    5. 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.
    6. 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;Western Finance Association, vol. 41(3), pages 121-144, June.
    7. Zieliński, Aleksander Miłosz & Wetzel, Dietmar J., 2010. "Analysis of power relations of banks in contemporary society," economic sociology_the european electronic newsletter, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, vol. 12(1), pages 49-57.
    8. Michele Fratianni & Francesco Marchionne, 2009. "Rescuing Banks from the Effects of the Financial Crisis," Working Papers 2009-04, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
    9. 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.
    10. 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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

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

    JEL classification:

    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • N20 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - General, International, or Comparative

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