Thursday, October 09, 2008

Credit crunch: It's not just the bankers to blame

So says John Gapper on the Financial Times site:
We home buyers and mortgage borrowers share the blame, whether we are American, British or Icelandic.
Hear him:

In the past, people used to rely on bankers to guard themselves from their own worst financial instincts. They might have wanted to borrow 100 per cent (or 125 per cent) of the value of a home without the need to demonstrate thrift and reliability by making a down-payment. But they were shown the door.

Without bankers saying "no", many people borrowed to the hilt, assuming that rising asset prices had eliminated all risk. Some confined themselves to buying bigger houses for themselves, while others bought second and third homes to rent them out while their capital appreciated.

We know why this occurred because we all lived through it, and financial bubbles are peculiarly intoxicating. When you are surrounded by people constantly talking about how much money they have made (on paper) by buying a house, you end up wanting to get a piece of the action and fearing being left behind.

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