U.S. Mortgage Crisis Could Cost Banks $650 Billion

Credit Suisse's estimate is lower than IMF's $945 billion

The crisis in the U.S. housing market, which has sent shockwaves around global financial markets, could cost the banking system a total of $650 billion, Credit Suisse economists said April 11. The estimate is lower than the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which earlier this week predicted total losses of $945 billion.

"Thus far, losses have totaled $278 billion, suggesting that perhaps just over 40% of what needs to be revealed, has been revealed," the economists.

Lending institutions alone could face $390 billion in losses, they said, leading to capital hikes similar to UBS's $13 billion bail-out by Singapore's state investment fund and an anonymous Middle Eastern investor. "To date, lending institutions have raised some $160 billion with the potential to raise another $91 billion," the analysts said.

Swiss bank UBS is by far the world's biggest loser from the subprime crisis, racking up $37.4 billion in writedowns.

Credit Suisse has not been immune either, warning last month that it could suffer a first quarter loss due to its subprime writedowns. In 2007, the bank's writedowns reached 3.26 billion Swiss francs, while those for the first quarter this year now stand at 1.68 billion Swiss francs.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008

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