The Americas Banking Atlas 2008: Largest banks in America
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The Americas Banking Atlas 2008: Largest banks in America

Recessionary headwinds impair credit outlook for US banks; banks in Canada and Latin America are so far relatively unscathed, by Jeanne Del Casino, senior credit officer – Latin American Banks, Moody's Investors Service

The credit crisis and recessionary pressures brought on by the collapse of US housing prices continued unabated for US banks into the second quarter of 2008. In Canada, only those banks with direct exposure to the US housing market came under stress. Latin American banks, further removed from these markets, are beginning to deal with slower growth and increasing inflationary pressures in their own markets.


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US: credit crisis enters new phase

The US banks’ 2008 first half was defined by significant residential mortgage-related events as two of the US’s largest mortgage banks were taken over in July: Countrywide Funding Corporation was absorbed into Bank of America and IndyMac was taken over by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Both were victims of a highly concentrated business in mortgages and heavy dependence on wholesale funding and the private-label securitization market. Also notable was the crisis of confidence that affected Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored residential mortgage insurers, that led the US Treasury and the Federal Reserve to establish more robust – and explicit – contingent liquidity and capital support for these institutions.

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