En anglais 

Christine Reymond, en plus de son excellent dossier sur les élections américaines qui parle bien entendu de la crise financière, nous communique des liens intéressants vers des sites anglo-saxons.

The financial crisis


Understanding the crisis : an animation with pictures to help you understand. Level B1 but a bit long : 04:00.


I also like this video made by Hank. It is a bit long too, but I loved the mock dialogue in the beginning. <Level B1, and a real good document to work on the intonation and word stress.



Time Magazine features two articles :one entitled "Behind the Global Markets' Meltdown" explaining the most recent events in the crisis:


and the other, entitled "Gloat at your Peril" and written by the former editor of "Die Zeit" is about the different ways the US and Europe tackle the crisis, and it surprisingly finishes with those words: "This is the oldest European story in the book, the mother of all sobby mantras: no will, no purpose, no power. Yet Europe will get out of this mess by being Europe: by bickering, compromising, doing less than required, and doing it slowly. Americans underestimate the Old Lady's moxy just as Europeans underrate Yankee vitality and ingenuity. Still, it's a reasonable bet that the U.S., one nation with one government, will emerge from the wreckage sooner than the E.U. does."


[ note : here is the Webster's definition of gloat : "to observe or think about something with triumphant and often malicious satisfaction, gratification, or delight <gloat over an enemy's misfortune> " et WordReference le traduit par : "jubiler".]

Lesson plan

the New York Times offers this lesson plan with an article level B2


US Economy / Credit Crunch

The present economic problems are worldwide and rather complex, but BBC learning English offers a short text and audio file that gives the basic vocabulary and some facts.


If you want to go deeper into the topic, you can use these graphics


and the articles in those special reports:


(with videos)




for C1 students in economics, read this article from Time magazine



I kept hearing that word on the radio and couldn't even spell it. Well, here it is : subprime, and it refers to the special rates charged to borrowers with insufficient resources. In short, this is what I think I have understood ( but you'd better read some reliable resource like the BBC to check it out!) : This credit is often offered with a normal rate at the beginning and the rate increases dramatically in the following years ( for example the 2/28 with 2 year at a rate of about 3%, raising up to 11% in the course of the 28 following years). It was designed for people who needed a home for their family and expected their revenues to increase a lot in the coming years, like students for example. But the problem came because many people in the US and the UK started using this credit to buy houses and sell them with a benefit in the first 2 years (they could repay the loan and still make enough benefit to live from it), and some banks issued those type of credits to enable people with low or no income to refinance another loan. This broke the market, and then the borrowers could no longer pay the bank back, and the bank couldn't even sell the house which was offered as a guaranty at a price which would cover their investment. Then the banks started borrowing from other banks to cover their losses, and the problem increased according to the snowball effect and resulted in the subprime meltdown.


"the Prime Rate: The interest rate that banks charge their most creditworthy customers.

Subprime - A term referring to borrowers with a less-than-perfect credit history, also called B&C credit. "


"B&C (subprime) Credit – Borrower credit that generally does not meet the credit underwriting guidelines of Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, who purchase mostly “A” credit loans. B&C credit is part of a grading system that ranges from A to D or F. "


"Subprime lending can be defined simply as lending that involves elevated credit risk."


"Mortgage loans are typically classified as either prime or subprime, depending on their credit risk."


"A subprime mortgage loan is a mortgage that is specifically designed for people who are denied prime or standard mortgages by traditional or hard money lenders. A subprime mortgage may be suitable for people who have a poor credit rating or have difficulty proving a regular, reliable income." (definition form a mortgage company)


"A subprime mortgage is a type of loan granted to individuals with poor credit histories (often below 600), who, as a result of their deficient credit ratings, would not be able to qualify for conventional mortgages. Because subprime borrowers present a higher risk for lenders, subprime mortgages charge interest rates above the prime lending rate. (from a finance encyclopedia by Forbes.)



From the BBC

The BBC explains the problem clearly and relates it to other financial crisis like the crash of 1929, but they even go back to 1866.

Questions and answers about subprime lending


" is the credit crush finally over?" : a beginner's guide to the crisis


"financial crisis, a lesson from history" ( 1866, 1890, 1829, 1985, 1987, 1998, 2000


From the Federal Reserve of the US

read this article dated from 2004


with tables (don' t miss the homeownership by race and household income!)


From NERA (economic consulting)

This article, "The Subprime Meltdown: A Primer" won a " 5-star" award for being the most-read US article on Monday during July 2007


From NBC (with a video news report)

"Will subprime mess ripple through economy?"


From Wikipedia

the content of this article on wikipedia might not be fully accurate or reliable, but you can use the long list of references at the end of the page (from CNN, reuters, USA today, the federal bank, bloomberg, the BBC, IHT, the Telegraph, and so on)




Le dossier de Christine Reymond sur les élections américaines :


Dossier : La crise financière
La Classe - Numéro 96
Par moniqueroyer , le mercredi 15 octobre 2008.


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