Monday, February 16, 2009

Some more perspective on the 'crisis'

The folks at CalculatedRISK have generated an interesting set of graphs that should be considered. First, take a look at bank closures since the inception of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation:

Note the number of failures now compared with the number of failures in the 1980s...perhaps declaring this as "the worst crisis since the Great Depression" is a bit premature. In terms of banking, the 1980s was much worse than the Depression, and we have not even approached the numbers of the depression. But, wait...what about the value of assets:

This figure appears to indicate that we are, in fact, closing down more value (in terms of assets) in the bank. But, most of the value of closings in 2008 is WaMu, which was closed and then sold to JP Morgan at no cost to the government. So, if you take out WaMu, we are still way below what was closed down in the 1980s. There will, no doubt, be more bank closings in the future...but let's keep it in perspective.