Credit Crunch Effects to be Felt for Years: BlackRock’s Fink

While the majority of the financial crisis tied to bad mortgages and esoteric debt structures may be waning, the effects of the crisis may be felt for years, according to remarks made earlier this week by BlackRock Inc. (BLK) CEO Larry Fink. Speaking at a conference sponsored by the Wall Street Journal, Fink suggested that banks may be restricted in their ability to lend capital according to a report published by Reuters on Wednesday. “The worst of the financial market crisis is behind us, but there’s more to come,” Fink was quoted as saying. “The economic problems associated with the turmoil have quarters to go, maybe years to go, because of the contraction of credit, the bloated balance sheets and the inability of banks to loan and restimulate the economy.” Fink said that banks needed to raise capital in order to stimulate activity in the financial sector and among businesses dependent on capital for growing their operations. Oddly enough, he also suggested that that both Fannie Mae (FNM) and Freddie Mac (FRE) needed to “do more” to help in the housing market; raising substantially more capital than they already have was suggested as one way to get there. Fannie and Freddie, together with government-sponsored Ginnie Mae, currently originate roughly 90 percent of all mortgages in the U.S., according to numerous market estimates provided for the first quarter of 2008. At least one MBS analyst shrugged off the suggestion, in speaking with Housing Wire. “What are the GSEs supposed to do? Raise capital so they can buy up bad debt, which will put them in the position of needing more capital?” said the analyst, who asked that his name not be identified in this story. Fink, of course, isn’t the only Wall Streeter that yet sees tough times ahead. A separate report Wednesday from Reuters covered analyst estimates that suggest the total cost tied to falling home prices and the subprime mortgage crisis could tally $4 trillion in lost capital. FOUR TRILLION. That’s the view of Peter Acciavatti, at least, a credit analyst and managing director at JP Morgan Securities Inc. In an interview with Reuters on Wednesday, he suggested that actual losses of roughly $325 billion thus far may translate downstream into $3.9 trillion in losses tied to tighter credit conditions. Acciavatti also expected that home prices may fall as much as 30 percent from their peak in 2006, without bottoming out until sometime in 2010. Disclosure: The author held no positions in BLK, FNM or FRE when this story was originally published. HW reporters and writers follow a strict disclosure policy, the first in the mortgage trade.

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