The Factors That Have Led To Financial Crisis

The world had faced two major financial disasters during 20th century. The first crisis happened during 1920-30, which mainly affected the developed countries like Europe and America. Second crisis started in 1997 and stayed till 1999, mainly affected developing economies of Asia pacific. The recent financial crisis which has awakened the whole world mainly resulted from unregulated financial market. It has created serious anxiety because it falls outwards from U.S, the starting point. Alan Greenspan recently called it a “once-in-a-century credit tsunami�, born of a collapse deep inside the US housing sector. In order to avoid complete meltdown, governments and central banks worked day and night. Trillions of dollars have been allocated to financial institutions by the governments to recover from the crisis in the United States alone

Who were the culprits of financial crisis? It is impossible to held just single factor responsible for such a big mass in the absence of other factors. In my research i want to analyse the contribution of each factor but the questions arise in my mind is How did Lehman Brother, the fourth largest investment bank in USA failed?

Why majority of financial institutions failed in compare to other institutions?

This surly point towards irresponsible activities by financial institutions in their main business ‘LENDING’. So focus of my research is to find out the dominant role of easy lending in present crisis along with other factors.

The effect of financial crisis 2008 was such sever that even allocating huge amount to address the issues proven insufficient to resolve it. Congress approved $700 billion in response to the problem. Federal reserve spend $1.3 trillion to bail out markets and institution that includes investments in risky assets, loans to bankrupt institutions, sharing such debt which were defaulting at faster rates (Morris, 2008). A further $900 billion were allocated as lending to large corporations (Aversa, 2008), reaching the total of nearly $3 trillion as bailout package so far, without even adding the big amount of corporate debt promised by the U.S government year before the crisis An understanding of the root causes of this “colossal failure� that has put “the entire financial system… at risk� (Woellert and Kopecki, 2008) is necessary to avoid such failures in the future. Number of factors can be held responsible for financial crisis which emerged over number of years. Causes proposed include the following

sub-prime mortgages/ easy lending

Poor credit rating

Failure of regulators

Shadow banking


Credit default swap

Mortgage backed securities

Assets backed commercial paper etc.........


Aims and Objective

Aim of this research is to understand the root causes of financial crisis particularly lending practises as a major factor.


To explore the history of financial crisis

To evaluate who were the victims and culprits of financial crisis

Impact of financial crisis on other countries (UK, USA, India, Japan)

What steps are being taken by government to overcome crisis

What could be done to prevent repetition of crisis in future?

Literature Review:

How did we get to this point? Surprisingly it all started from residential mortgages in the U.S. It had become apparent from 2004 that mortgages issued to majority of consumers did not make any rational sense. Situation was more worsted by so called mortgage brokers who issued mortgages to many insolvent consumers in order to generate outsized fees. On other hand new financial vehicles called mortgage-backed securities (“MBS�) rated by well know credit rating agencies were introduced by Wall Street. These high yielding mortgage-backed securities were bought by investors from all over the world which increased funding for new mortgages. Appraiser ignored all rules to meet the increasing demand of mortgage applications. Federal Reserve board appointed by congress in 1994 to regulate mortgage lenders decided to watch the game from pavilion. Finally as the bubble accelerates, there is necessary reckoning – house prices collapsed. This is how greediness and irresponsibility resulted into a biggest financial crisis (Schmudde, 2008).

Sub-prime mortgages which are always blamed for financial crisis is only a component of the deeper problem. The value of credit default swaps, which was originally estimated to be $55 trillion by the securities and exchange ( 4 times higher then the actual figure) are totally unregulated and majority of them were contracted over the phone without any verification, is the root cause from which all the problems of crisis started (Simon, 2008). Regulators had forecasted the problem of present crisis years in advance were not taken seriously because of the successful business by the same financial institutions which are either bankrupt or funded by the government (Associated Press, 2008).

According to Bernanke (2009) and Portes (2009) global imbalances are the fundamental cause of the crisis and it is not possible to fully understand present crisis without considering the issue of global imbalances. As per Jagannathan, Kapoor, and Schaumberg (2009) imbalances in labour supply can assist to understand the present crisis. Acharya and Richardson(2009), and Acharya and Schnabl (2009) argue that banks were suppose to transfer the risks to end investors while securitising, particularly in the case of asset-backed commercial paper and purchase of AAA-rated tranches but they never did which led them to huge pool of credit risks. Schmudde (2009) documents that no verification of consumer’s income were done while issuing sub-prime mortgages. Many of them were issued for or close to 100% of the house price. Even borrowers with bad credit history easily managed to get mortgages. This is one of the reasons for huge growth in subprime mortgages which increased from $35 billion to $807 billion between1995 to 2005. According to Bartlett (2008) decline of US subprime mortgage triggered the crisis, the impact of the down fall was tremendous; “Mark-to-market losses on mortgage backed securities, collateralized debt obligations, and related assets through March 2008 were approximate $945 billion.� He further said that it is “The largest financial loss in history�, in compared to $780 billion of 1990 Japan’s banking crisis, lost accrued from Asian crisis of 1997-98 about $420 billion.

. While explaining the reason how did this crisis turn into a global crisis, Khatiwada and McGirr (2008) stated “Many of these Sub-prime mortgages actually never made it on the balance sheets of the lending Institutions that originated them�; and such mortgages by rating them high were made attractive to world investors, “when sub-prime borrowers failed to repay their mortgages, the originating institution needed to finance the foreclosure with their own money, bringing the asset back on its balance sheet. This left many banks in a financially unviable situation, in a rather short, unmanageable timeframe�. According to Mian and Sufi (2008) increased demand for mortgage backed securities led to lending boom which is the root cause of present crisis.

Whalen (2008) argues that three main factors are at the root of the problem.

First, many companies, banks, and government agencies were encouraged to increase the viability of “affordable housing� by introducing “creative financing techniques�.

Second, big number of over-the –counter derivatives and securities were issued by majority of financial institutions due to huge support by the regulators, led to a breakdown in safety and soundness at banks and securities lenders.

And the last factor is “fir value accounting� an ill-advised by Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the financial accounting standards board (FASB) to all public company to change the reporting standards.

The nation’s biggest subprime lender, Ameriquest Mortgage co., gave more then US$20 million as a political donation. Other financial institutions like citigroup inc., wells Fargo & co., donated huge amount on political side and on lobbying. This donation helped these institutions to persuade legislators to pass predatory-lending laws which might have contributed to present crisis to some extent (Simpson, 2007).

According to Shiller (2008) the following factors played very big role in present crisis:

Strategy of home ownership which encourage even those who could not afford one.

The link between mortgage originator and receiver of payments broke due to mortgage securitization. Because of this there was no reason for mortgage originator to verify the solvency of borrowers.

Many loans were issued at low interest rate or even at zero rates with the use of new financial techniques but afterwards rate were increased too high.

Research Methodology

Methodology plays a very crucial role in how research will be carried out. Methodology is “an explanation of why you collected certain data, what data you collected, from where you collected it, when you collected it, how you collected it and how you analysed it� (Collins, 2003). The researcher requires an interviewer or observer skills to gather data in the qualitative methods. This method requires collecting and analysing the data and applying the statistical tests (Riley, 2004). Qualitative research interprets opinion of the people in the sample, their way of looking at the subject, what they feel about subject and the dynamic interpret feeling on the subjects (Guari, 2005). The quantitative method mainly uses research instruments to gather, analyse and measure the data. Quantitative approach is more subjective approach. Quantitative approach includes analysing and reflecting on perception to understand social and human activities (Collins, 2003). The main purpose of this chapter is to explain and justify the primary research method which I have chosen to carry out my research. This chapter will also explain the significance of secondary data and state what sources of secondary data i will be using.

Source of Acquisition of data

Primary data

Primary data collection means to collect new data of subjects for specific purpose. The different methods of collecting primary data are questionnaire, interview and sampling (Saunders, 2003). For my research it is very important to get some primary data to understand the topic in practical sense. By taking interview of the head of financial institution, will add extra value to my research and will broaden my understanding of topic as a whole. I will be collecting my primary data through interview with Mr Mitesh Sheth, Deputy Head of Henderson Global Investors. The main focus of interview will be to get their opinion about how did this crisis started, what was there response etc. I am also trying to contact few other key people but too early to mention anything about them yet.

Secondary Data

Secondary data means data collected previously for some purpose. The main sources of such data are library, internet, articles, business journals, research organization (Saunders, 2003).

Methods of data analysis

After collecting primary and secondary data the next stage is to evaluate or analyse the collected data. To convert data into graphs will be the easiest way to analyse the data.


I will be analysing total amount of lending by US banks to solvent and insolvent borrowers and comparing their rate of default to conclude my research.

Work Plan

 Proposal submit

21st June

literate review

31st July

Preparation for interview

5th August

Interview of selected person

10th August

Analysis of data

20th August

Start writing reports

15th September

Draft report

10th October

Final report

October end

On successfully completion of my dissertation I hope to come to a positive conclusion. I will utilise all the recourses available to me in order to draw out conclusion. Such as charts, graphs, historical data, interview, questionnaires etc.