In this lively new book, Kathleen C. Engel and Patricia A. McCoy tell the full story behind the subprime crisis. The authors, experts in the law and economics of financial regulation and consumer lending, offer a sharply reasoned, but accessible account of the actions that produced the greatest economic collapse since the Great Depression. The Subprime Virus reveals how consumer abuses in a once obscure corner of the home mortgage market led to the near meltdown of the world's financial system. Wall Street peddled subprime loans to investors through complex but dodgy financial instruments that spread like a virus. A central theme in the book is the role of federal banking and securities regulators, who were well aware of lenders' risky, deceptive mortgages and of Wall Street's addiction to high stakes financing. These regulators, believing that markets would self-correct, did nothing until the crisis erupted. While the spread of the subprime virus resulted from economic and political failures, its lessons inform the building of a new, more stable, prosperous and just financial order.
Kathleen C. Engel is Professor of Law at Suffolk University Law School. Patricia A. McCoy is the Connecticut Mutual Professor of Law and Director of the Insurance Law Center at the University of Connecticut School of Law.