Subprime Meltdown: American Housing and Global Financial Turmoil
Posted: 18 Sep 2008
Date Written: January 23, 2008
SUBJECT AREAS: Market failures, Market structure, Monetary policy, Mortgages.
This case focuses on the financial difficulties faced in the US from August to December 2006 as well as their roots in subprime lending. After briefly discussing how mortgages were structured and traded in the pre-1990 period, it describes subprime mortgage lending, as well as other innovative mortgages issued in the 1990s. It also discusses how these mortgages were packaged into securities, and who ultimately came to own these claims and their attendant risk. The case then describes the pain inflicted by raising foreclosures, as well as the financial market ramifications of the rise in mortgage delinquencies. It also chronicles the response of the US and European central banks to the unfolding financial difficulties. Lastly, the case lays policies that have been proposed to deal with either the consequences or the causes of the crisis. These include policies for reforming the supervision of the financial system, changing bankruptcy rules and regulating mortgage finance. Some attention is paid to the role of credit rating agencies in the crisis, and in the financial system as a whole.
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