What "Crunch" Can You Blame?


Credit crunch – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I hate the term “credit crunch.” It's used in headlines as a noun, a “crunch” that's some sort of monster that terrorizes banks and individuals. Headlines, such as:

I'm not a finance expert, nor an expert on the “crunch.” But, it seemed pretty clear to me when shopping for a mortgage in Phoenix in 2002 that it was crazy that people would offer you a mortgage without verifying your income. It was a huge bubble in Phoenix- thankfully, we took a conservative loan and got out at the right time. Loaning money to people who couldn't pay it back… isn't that a core requirement in the banking profession…. not getting screwed by giving irresponsible and stupid loans?

If the headlines said things like “Banks count the cost of previous stupid behavior” or “Banks hoping to recover from greed and irresponsiblity,” I'd feel differently.

But maybe the rest of us can learn from this…. what crunch can you blame?

  • The Detroit automakers can blame a “quality crunch” that damaged their reputation in the 1970's and 1980's.
  • Boeing can blame a “supply chain crunch”
  • Hospitals where patients are harmed due to preventable medical errors can blame a “safety crunch”
  • Hillary Clinton could blame a “popularity crunch.” Bill faced a “fidelity crunch.”
  • China faces a “freedom crunch.”

See how nice that feels? We're blameless…. just victim of a “crunch.” Help us, it wasn't our fault!!!

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Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


  1. And it was technically the complex securitization of said home loans and trading them in a way tha understated the risks involved. But either way, an avoidable crisis if we’ve ever seen one.


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