Financial Crisis: Ten Years Ago, the World Changed

Ten Years Ago, The World Changed

A rolling crisis born of decades of mistakes finally erupted across the US financial landscape approximately ten years ago, with each month of that year highlighting a new and more ominous dilemma for US markets.

The Financial Crisis of 2008 goes by many names – The Great Recession (which doesn’t capture the magnitude of all that happened during this time), the Banking Crisis (which unfairly blames banks alone for the collapse) – any number of “titles” will most likely not provide an adequate description of what took place.

Exactly ten years ago during this month, July of 2008, the financial industry saw massive upheaval and government action which would have been unimaginable just a few years before.  But a lot had already transpired … decades of bad government policy and unwelcome government intervention into the marketplace had already distorted US real estate markets.  And now, 2008 saw the crisis unfolding almost nightly on the cable business channel.

  1. October 2007 –  Official beginning of the recession; Florida real estate market collapsing.
  2. February 2008 – Bush signs into law a tax rebate bill, and increases FHA loan limits and lowers down payment requirements as loan borrowing/lending is rapidly declining.
  3. March 2008 – Bear Stearns, with substantial exposure to mortgage backed securities, was bailed out by the Fed and eventually forced into a sale to JP Morgan Chase.
  4. April/May 2008 – Through the “Term Auction Facility,” the Federal Reserve lent a then record $150 billion to investment banks; the Fed Funds Rate was dropped for the third time that year – to 2%.
  5. June 2008 – Fed bank loans break the record again, lending $225 billion to distressed banks with massive loan losses from defaulting real estate.

And then, the calendar turned to July …

By now it was fairly evident that the traditional method of allowing banks and financial companies to file bankruptcy and/or reorganization had been disregarded, and throwing tax payer money at the failing institutions was the preferred method of stemming the tide of the crisis.  No one, however, was prepared for the events that occurred in July.

**The two BIG July 2008 events which headlined the ongoing financial crisis of that year:

  1.  “Secretary Paulson asks Congress for a $25 billion bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac”: Looking back, the numbers seem so small compared to the gargantuan debt and bailout numbers we have seen since.  However, at the time, it was a body-blow to the stock market.  Street guys knew (A) if the Feds were moving in it was probably already too late; and, (B) it was not going to be enough.  Instead of stabilizing markets, it rattled them further, and set the stage for what would become inevitable – the complete nationalization of the Fannie and Freddie marketplace.
  2. “IndyMac Bank failure … depositors angry”: In a prelude of what would come in the fall, IndyMac Bank was a mid-sized regional bank and the first traditional bank failure of the year (Bear Stearns being an investment bank and financial services company).  At the time, FDIC insurance only covered $100,000.00 of a person’s bank deposits (the crisis would lead to reforms later that would include an increase in FDIC coverage up to $250,000.00).  Angry depositors pushed the local police force to the brink, as they demanded access to the bank and access to their accounts.  The televised events spurred widespread fear of further calamity with other banks throughout the country.

IndyMac Bank failure … depositors angryIndyMac Bank failure … depositors angry

 

Many more dominoes were still to fall in that fateful year of 2008.  August and September would not be kind to markets, nor to many of the nation’s oldest and most famous banking institutions.  At the onset of the Federal takeover of Fannie and Freddie, and the beginning of traditional depositor bank failures in the Midwest, the public remained largely unaware of the declining stock market………most advisors were simply saying it was “time to buy” as stock prices fell.  “Buy low, sell high” – a long standing mantra on Wall Street – proved disastrously wrong over those remaining months in 2008.

Ten years ago was proof in our lifetimes that what goes up must come down, and many times we are too late in taking action to protect our hard-earned money.  Make sure you are not too late when the next downturn becomes a market collapse.  Call now for safe and simple principal protection products for your investment portfolio. (877) 912-1919

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