Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke testifies before the Senate Banking Committee on Capitol Hill July 19, 2007, in Washington. Bernanke was on his second day of testimony before the committee on the state of the nation's economy, dominated by fears that problems in the subprime-mortgage sector could spread to other areas.
A house sits for sale in North Aurora, Ill., a suburb outside of Chicago, in March 2007.
The headquarters of The New Century Financial Corporation is seen April 2, 2007, in Irvine, Calif. The subprime lending company filed Chapter 11 papers with the federal bankruptcy court and listed liabilities totaling more than $100 million after a swell in homeowner defaults.
Joint Economic Committee Chairman Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., holds up a report during a news conference on Capitol Hill, Oct. 25, 2007, in Washington. The report shows how the subprime mortgage market problem will impact neighborhood property values and tax revenues.
The bull sculpture is seen near Wall Street Oct. 29, 2007, in New York. On Oct. 25 Merrill Lynch reported losses of $8.4 billion. The main cause cited for this loss is tied to the credit crisis and mortgage meltdown, specifically stemming from over investment in Collateralized Debt Obligations (CDO's).
Travis Toth, left, an auctioneer of trustee sales for Fidelity National, reads descriptions of foreclosed properties offered for sale as potential buyers contemplate bids during a home foreclosure auction on the steps of the Los Angeles County courthouse in Norwalk, Calif., March 16, 2007.
A house for sale is seen in Somerville, Mass., April 24, 2007. The IMF lowered its forecast for U.S. growth, predicting the economy would expand by just 1.9 percent in 2007-08, reflecting the impact of the worst housing slump in more than two decades and the effects of the credit crisis.
Traders Michael Arenson, left, and Mark Frank react in the Standard & Poor's 500 futures pit at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Oct. 31, 2007. The Federal Reserve, confronted with surging oil prices and a slumping housing market, cut a key interest rate by a quarter-point in an effort to stimulate economic activity and keep the country from dipping into a recession.
Traders on the floor of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange give a thumbs down to the trading day, Nov. 12, 2007. Hong Kong share prices tumbled amid renewed jitters over U.S. subprime loans fallout and worries that China may announce further tightening measures.
Carol Mondesir participates in a protest in front of Ocwen Financial, a subprime loan servicer, Sept. 26, 2007, in West Palm Beach, Fla. The protest was held to bring attention to Ocwen Financial, who protesters say has been preying upon homeowners who are stuck with unaffordable loans.
Construction workers frame a new house, Aug. 31, 2007, in Gilbert, Ariz. New home construction rates fell sharply in the wake of the mortgage crisis.