2007--2012 global financial crisis, is considered by many economists to be the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. It resulted in the threat of total collapse from large financial institutions, the bailout of banks by national governments, and downturns in stock markets around the world. In many areas, the housing market also suffered, resulting in evictions, foreclosures and prolonged unemployment. The crisis played a significant role in the failure of key businesses, declines in consumer wealth estimated in trillions of US dollars, and a downturn in economic activity leading to the 2008--2012 global recession and contributing to the European sovereign-debt crisis. The active phase of the crisis, which manifested as a liquidity crisis, can be dated from August 7, 2007 when a French bank with an auxiliary headquarters in the U.K. terminated withdrawals from 3 hedge funds citing "a complete evaporation of liquidity."
The bursting of the U.S. housing bubble, which peaked in 2006, caused the values of securities tied to U.S. real estate pricing to plummet, damaging financial institutions globally.The financial crisis was triggered by a complex interplay of the overvaluation of bundled sub-prime mortgages, questionable trading practices on behalf of both buyers and sellers, and a lack of adequate capital holdings from banks and insurance companies to back the financial commitments they were making. Questions regarding bank solvency, declines in credit availability and damaged investor confidence had an impact on global stock markets, where securities suffered large losses during 2008 and early 2009. Economies worldwide slowed during this period, as credit tightened and international trade declined. Governments and central banks responded with unprecedented fiscal stimulus, monetary policy expansion and institutional bailouts. Although there have been aftershocks, the financial crisis itself ended sometime between late-2008 and mid-2009. In the U.S., Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. In the E.U., the U.K. responded with austerity measures of spending cuts and tax increases without export growth and it has since slid into a double-dip recession