The New Century Financial Corporation Finance Essay

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In 2006, a boom in U.S. housing prices abruptly reverses course; between the fourth quarter of 2005 and the first quarter of 2006, median U.S. housing prices fall 3.3 percent. These declines accelerate in 2007. The downturn prompts a collapse of the U.S. subprime mortgage industry, which offered loans to individuals with poor credit or no cash for a down payment. More than twenty-five subprime lending firms declare bankruptcy in February and March 2007. The collapse rattles the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which on February 27 loses 416 points, or 3.3 percent, its biggest one-day point loss since 9/11. New Century Financial Corporation, the largest U.S. subprime lender, files for bankruptcy following a series of bankruptcies at smaller subprime lending firms. Analysts worry about the impact debt from subprime mortgages will have on the financial sector, which invested heavily in securitized debt from subprime loans. July 31 2007: Bear Sterns Hedge Funds Bear Stearns, one of the largest investment banks in the United States, announces two of its hedge funds have lost almost all of their investor capital and will file for bankruptcy. The bank previously attempted to use money from other parts of its operations to bail out the funds and halted redemptions, but the losses at the funds, which eclipsed 90 percent of original holdings, proved too large. This is one of the first signs of major problems in financial markets beyond the subprime loan industry. August 2007: Subprime woes go global Subprime mortgage problems go global as hedge funds and banks around the world reveal substantial holdings of mortgage-backed securities in their investment portfolios. France’s BNP Paribas announces on August 9 that it cannot value the assets held by three of its hedge funds. Other EU banks follow with similar announcements. The European Central Bank immediately steps in offering low-interest credit lines to these banks August 10 2007: Global Coordination With lending markets drying up around the world, central banks coordinate to inject liquidity into credit markets for the first time since 9/11. The U.S. Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank, and the Banks of Australia, Canada, and Japan all inject money. On August 15, Countrywide Financial, the largest mortgage lender in the United States, says foreclosures and mortgage delinquencies have risen to their highest levels since 2002. September 13 2007: Northern Rock Northern Rock, a British bank, requests emergency funds from Britain’s central bank. A run on deposits at Northern Rock ensues, with large lines forming outside bank branches. In February 2008, Northern Rock will be taken into state ownership. Sep 18 2007 : Fed Slashes Rate The U.S. Federal Reserve makes its first in a series of interest rate cuts, lowering the benchmark federal funds rate from 5.25 percent to 4.75 percent. By November 2008, the Fed will cut rates to 1 percent, as displayed on the adjoined chart. In December 2008, they will make another cut, lowering rates to between 0 percent and 0.25 percent. October 9 2007: Market Peak The Dow Jones Industrial Average,

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