Skip to content

Global Financial Crisis (GFC): Causes, Solutions, and Prevention


Based on Chapters 1-2 in Principles of Managerial Finance;  “SEC Floats Ban on Wall Street Activities Linked to 2008 Financial Crisis.”

During the summer and fall of 2008, the U.S. financial system and financial systems around the world appeared to be on the verge of collapse.

  1. What was the cause of this situation?
  2. How was financial system collapse avoided?
  3. How can this scenario be avoided in the future?

Solution:- Global Financial Crisis: Causes, Remedies, and Prevention


The 2008 financial crisis, often referred to as the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), had several root causes:

  1. Housing Market Bubble: One of the primary causes was the housing market bubble in the United States. Over the years leading up to the crisis, housing prices had soared to unsustainable levels, driven by speculative lending practices, subprime mortgages, and easy credit.
  2. Subprime Mortgage Crisis: Financial institutions issued a significant number of subprime mortgages to borrowers with poor credit histories. These loans were often bundled together into complex financial products known as mortgage-backed securities (MBS). When many of these borrowers began to default on their mortgages, it triggered a wave of losses in the financial system.
  3. Financial Derivatives: The use of complex financial derivatives, particularly collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), amplified the impact of the crisis. These derivatives were based on MBS and other assets, and their complexity made it difficult for institutions to accurately assess their risk exposure.
  4. Lack of Regulatory Oversight: Regulatory agencies failed to adequately oversee and regulate financial institutions and the products they were creating and trading. This lack of oversight allowed risky practices to go unchecked.
  5. Global Interconnectedness: The global nature of financial markets meant that the crisis quickly spread to other countries and financial institutions worldwide, causing a domino effect.


To avoid a complete collapse of the financial system, governments and central banks around the world took a series of emergency measures:

  1. Bailouts: Governments and central banks intervened to provide financial support to struggling institutions. In the U.S., the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) was one such program aimed at stabilizing financial institutions.
  2. Interest Rate Cuts: Central banks, including the Federal Reserve, lowered interest rates to encourage lending and liquidity in the markets.
  3. Asset Purchases: Central banks engaged in large-scale asset purchase programs, often referred to as quantitative easing, to inject liquidity into the financial system.
  4. Bank Recapitalization: Some financial institutions were required to raise additional capital to strengthen their balance sheets.
  5. Stress Tests: Regulators implemented stress tests to assess the financial health of banks and ensure they could withstand adverse economic conditions.
  6. Financial Regulation: Governments and international bodies like the G20 implemented regulatory reforms to address some of the root causes of the crisis, including improved oversight of financial derivatives and stricter lending standards.


To prevent a similar scenario in the future, several steps have been taken or recommended:

  1. Enhanced Regulation: Stricter regulation and oversight of financial institutions, products, and markets are essential to detect and prevent excessive risk-taking.
  2. Risk Management: Financial institutions should implement robust risk management practices to identify and mitigate risks effectively.
  3. Transparency: Greater transparency in financial products, especially complex derivatives, can help investors and regulators assess risk more accurately.
  4. Stress Testing: Regular stress testing of financial institutions to ensure they can withstand adverse economic conditions.
  5. Consumer Protection: Improved consumer protection measures to prevent predatory lending and ensure responsible lending practices.
  6. International Coordination: Enhanced international cooperation and coordination to address global financial stability issues.

These measures aim to reduce the likelihood of a similar financial crisis occurring in the future and to mitigate its impact if it does occur. It’s important to note that financial crises are complex, and preventing them entirely is challenging, but lessons learned from past crises can help create a more resilient financial system.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *