April 18, 2016
ISSUE | HUMANITARIANISM Helping each other Greece is suffering a financial crisis, one-third of its people at risk of falling below the poverty line. Yet they have responded by organizing a social movement called the "Wall of Kindness" ("When a wall is not a divider," April 10). Citizens are providing food for the needy on racks lining busy streets. I am deeply touched by such a selfless endeavor and wish that those in our country who are proposing the erection of walls to shun others would take notice.
January 18, 2016 |
The Big Short is a highly rated movie about a few sharp operators who saw the recent financial crisis coming and decided to profit from their insight by shorting the private mortgage-backed securities market. Shorting means to sell at the current inflated price but not deliver until later, when the price of buying the security will be lower. Most reviews of the movie I have read have been favorable, based on the usual criteria used by movie critics: its plausibility; whether the story line held their interest; whether it engaged their emotions in a favorable way; the quality of the acting; and so on. I am not a movie critic, however, and felt free to assess this one entirely on the basis of how well it depicted the circumstances that led to the financial crisis of 2008.
January 13, 2016
By Peter J. Wallison We can all agree that the financial crisis was caused by a "mortgage meltdown" mostly among subprime and other risky mortgages. But what neither The Big Short nor its greed narrative tells us is why there were so many of these mortgages in the financial system to begin with. The answer: It was not Wall Street. In June 2008, just before the crisis, more than half of all U.S. mortgages - 31 million loans - were subprime or otherwise risky. Of these, 76 percent were on the books of government agencies, primarily the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs)
November 3, 2013 |
The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), which was bailed out and is still owned mostly by British taxpayers, said Friday it would "accelerate" the sale of its U.S. banking subsidiary, which includes Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania. Citizens has 159 branches in Philadelphia and its four suburban Pennsylvania counties, more than any other bank in the region. RBS said in a statement that it was planning a "partial initial public offering" of Citizens Financial Group for 2014 and "intends to fully divest the business by the end of 2016.
August 23, 2013
WITH HIS school facing a $355,740 shortfall this year, Greenfield Elementary principal Dan Lazar recently sent an "urgent request" asking parents to contribute a $613-per-pupil fee to compensate for the school's inadequate funding. At first blush, the idea seems intriguing. These are extraordinary times that require unprecedented measures. Philadelphia schools almost didn't open on time, and Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. said that he still needs millions in additional funds to run the district.
August 14, 2013
IF THE FEDERAL government is going to overhaul the way mortgages are sold, I hope as much emphasis is put on what's a manageable amount of debt for borrowers. It haunts me when I think of some of the mortgage loans I've seen and still see. Too many people, who certainly should have known better, agreed to buy homes when their monthly mortgage payments were 50 percent to upward of 70 percent of their net pay. That's just too much. President Obama has laid out plans to rebuild the housing market.
June 11, 2013
Gov. Corbett and the legislature know Philadelphia isn't the only school district in Pennsylvania facing a financial crisis. So why is it taking them so long to come up with a viable statewide solution? Already there have been teacher layoffs and other budget cuts. Academic and extracurricular programs have been eliminated, and class sizes have grown. The situation will only get worse unless the state lives up to its legal and moral obligation to provide its children with "a thorough and efficient education.
May 16, 2013
PARIS - The eurozone is now in its longest ever recession - a stubborn slump that has surpassed even the calamity that hit the region in the financial crisis of 2008-09. The European Union statistics office said yesterday that nine of the 17 EU countries that use the euro are in recession, with France a notable addition to the list. Overall, the eurozone's economy contracted for the sixth straight quarter, shrinking by 0.2 percent in the January-March period from the previous three months.
May 11, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - The Federal Reserve has broadened its oversight beyond banks and now monitors a wide range of financial institutions that could hasten another financial crisis, Chairman Ben Bernanke said Friday. Bernanke said the Fed was still monitoring banks and other important financial institutions. But it has widened its scope to include other participants that could either trigger a crisis or make the system more vulnerable. Chief among them is the so-called shadow banking system, which includes loans that are turned into securities and sold to investors.
April 24, 2013 |
This story has been updated. IN THE LATE 1990s, the kids at Henry C. Lea Elementary School at 47th and Locust streets lacked a library. A few years later, the University of Pennsylvania built them one. The university, which had a relationship with Lea dating to 1960, secured donors to fund construction of a space and procure books, computers and audiovisual equipment for the K-to-8 school. The Lea affiliation is one of seven that Penn has with disustrict schools, including its best-known partnership with the Penn Alexander School on Spruce Street near 42nd.