Background Note | HBS Case Collection | October 2008 (Revised August 2010)

Understanding the Credit Crisis of 2007 to 2008

by Arthur I Segel and Ben Creo


This note details the background of the credit crisis, discusses potential causes of it, and considers its ramifications. The exhibits contain a variety of pertinent data regarding the rise of securitization, debt levels, and typical aspects of financial crises. A new matrix is also introduced for thinking about a country's potential economic performance at any point in time.

Keywords: Financial Crisis; Borrowing and Debt; Credit; Financial Instruments; Financial Management; Financial Markets;


Segel, Arthur I., and Ben Creo. "Understanding the Credit Crisis of 2007 to 2008." Harvard Business School Background Note 209-073, October 2008. (Revised August 2010.)