Boom Bust and Blame

Crisis A-Z


Pacific, Lou:
Lou Pacific was Vice President of Quick Loan Funding before the company went under in 2007. Quick Loan Funding targeted people with bad credit.

Pandit, Vikram:
Chief Executive Officer of Citigroup Inc. He assumed the position on December 11, 2007 replacing Chuck Prince and becoming the youngest CEO in the history of the conglomerate.

Pandit was born in Nagpur, India on January 15, 1957. He studied at the Dadar Parsee Youths Assembly in Mumbai and at age 16 he moved to the United States to study at Columbia University. He earned bachelors and Masters Degrees in electrical engineering in 1976 and 1977 and then a Ph.D. in finance in 1986.

Before entering Wall Street, he became a professor at the Indiana University in Bloomington to then work for Morgan Stanley where he served as the President and COO of the Institutional Securities and Investment Banking Group from 2000 until 2005. After leaving Morgan Stanley, Pandit and his partners created a hedge fund, Old Lane Partners. The hedge fund was then purchased by Citigroup for $800 million in 2007. At the end of that year, Pandit was named CEO of Citigroup.

Vikram Pandit lives with his wife, Swati, in the Upper West Side in New York City.

Paulson, Henry:
74th United States Treasury Secretary. He was nominated by President George W. Bush on June 19, 2006 and sworn into office on July 10. Before serving as Treasury Secretary, Paulson was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Goldman Sachs. He had been at the helm of the investment bank since its initial public offering in 1999.

Paulson was born in Palm Beach, Florida on March 28, 1946 and was raised in Barrington Hills, Illinois. He went to Barrington High School and graduated in 1964. After high school, Paulson attended Dartmouth College, where he was an All American football player, president of the Christian Science Organization, and a member of the Green Key Society. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature in 1968. He went on to receive a Master of Business Administration degree from Harvard Business School in 1970.

Paulson started his career working as a Staff Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Defense at The Pentagon until 1972. He then worked for a year under John Ehrlichman during the administration of President Richard Nixon. In 1974, he joined Goldman Sachs in Chicago, where he became a partner in 1982. From there, Paulson grew within the company holding important positions such as Co-head of the firm's investment Banking Division, President and Chief Operating Office, and Co-Senior partner.

Henry Paulson and his wife, Wendy, have two children, Amanda and Merritt and they have homes in Washington, DC, and Barrington Hills, Illinois.

Pay Option Negative Amortization:
Loans beginning in neg-am, aka negative amortization, guarantee a rising loan balance. Rather than the interest rate starting at market rates and perhaps rising over time, while the borrower has opted to make only a limited payment, these feature a "payment interest rate" well below what is actually being charged. As a result, the loan balance starts to increase right away. Even though these loans are intended to be easy on the monthly budget, the guaranteed steady increase in the required payment each year will also begin to crimp budget flexibility over time.

Pelosi, Nancy (nee D'Alesandro):
The Speaker of the U.S House of Representatives. Before becoming the Speaker for the 110th Congress, she served as the Minority House Leader from 2002 to 2007 and has represented California's eighth district in the House of Representatives since 1987.

Rep. Pelosi was born in Baltimore, Maryland on March 26, 1940 into a family deeply involved in politics. Her father, Thomas D'Alesandro, represented Baltimore for five terms in Congress and was Mayor of Baltimore for 12 years. Her brother, Thomas D'Alesandro, also served as Mayor of Baltimore.

In 1962, Pelosi earned a degree from Trinity College in Washington D.C. There she met her husband Paul Pelosi. After the couple married in 1963, they stayed in New York until 1969 and moved to San Francisco, where Pelosi started her political career slowly rising up in the Democratic Party ranks.

In 1987, Pelosi won a special election for California's eighth district, taking a leap into politics and joining the House of Representatives. From then on, Pelosi has become one of the most prominent democratic figures in Congress. In 2002, Pelosi was selected as the Democratic Leader of the House of Representatives and in 2006, after the democrats gained control of both the House and the Senate; Pelosi was selected to become Speaker of the House. She is the first woman in history to become both the Democratic Leader of the House and the Speaker.

Rep. Pelosi and her husband Paul have five children: Nancy Corinne, Christine, Jacqueline, Paul and Alexandra, and seven grandchildren.

An alternative to PMI or Private Mortgage Insurance. Named because a second mortgage is "piggybacked" onto the original mortgage loan, it can be a less expensive option than PMI. However, not all homeowners will qualify for piggyback loans, and the savings are not assured.

Often, the first loan is for 80 percent of the value of the home, and the second is for 10 percent, and they close simultaneously. The buyer has to come up with the remaining as a down payment. Another name for piggybacks is 80-10-10s. A few lenders also allow second loans up to 15 percent or even 20 percent of the value of the home.

The interest rate on the second loan is often one to two percentage points higher than the first because fewer lenders are willing to carry the loans, and in the event of default, second mortgages get paid back second, making them riskier to lenders.

Preston, Steve:
13th United States Secretary for Housing and Urban Development. He served from March 31, 2004 to April 18, 2008 under the administration of President George W. Bush. Before taking the position, Jackson was HUD's Deputy Secretary and Chief Operating Officer, his job since 2001.

Born in Marshall Texas on September 9, 1945, Jackson holds bachelor's and masters degrees from Truman State University. He also earned a Juris Doctor degree in 1973 from Washington University. Jackson and is married and has two daughters.

Primary Reserve Fund aka Reserve Primary Fund:
A major money market mutual fund with a safety record had attracted more than $3.5 trillion in assets, operated by the Reserve. In mid-September 2008, the fund was valued at more than $60 billion. But following the collapse of Lehman Brothers that month, the Primary Fund saw an unprecedented run on its assets, with more than $40 billion of redemptions in two days. The redemptions were triggered by fears over $785 million of Lehman Brothers Holdings commercial paper, akin to short-term IOUs, that were held by the fund. The share price of the Reserve Primary fund fell below the sacred $1 mark. No major money fund open to the general public had ever allowed its share price to dip below a dollar — "breaking the buck," as it's called.

Private Equity Firms:
Equity capital that is not quoted on a public exchange. Investors and funds make investments directly into private companies or conduct buyouts of public companies and result in a delisting of public equity. Retail and institutional investors raise capital, to be used to fund new technologies, expand working capital within an owned company, make acquisitions, or to bolster a balance sheet.

Private equity investments often demand long holding periods to allow for a turnaround of a distressed company or a liquidity event such as an Initial Public Offering aka IPO or sale to a public company. Many private equity firms conduct what are known as leveraged buyouts aka LBOs, in which large amounts of debt are issued to fund a large purchase. Private equity firms then try to improve the financial results and prospects of the company in the hopes of re-selling the company to another firm or cashing out via an IPO.

The size of the private equity market has mushroomed since the 1970s. Private equity firms sometimes pool funds together to take very large public companies private. During 2006 and 2007, several private equity purchases totaled in excess of $30 billion. Private-equity deal volume more than doubled in 2006, and LBOs accounted for almost 20% of that year's record $3.5 trillion in global mergers and acquisitions, aka M&As.

During the banking crisis of 2009, private equity firms asked federal regulators to let them take control of banks while respecting banking traditions. Their pitch was to separate the entities, aka silos, that buy the banks, walling off their other private equity investments from any newly-created bank holding company.