Th ough the implications of the crisis are global in their reach and significance, the fi nancial complexes of the United States and Europe have been at the vortex of the storm. It is these institutions that had the largest direct exposures to subprime and similar loan classes and to complex-structured fi nancial products (Duffi e, 2008). In turn, it was the U.S. and European fi nancial institutions that suff ered the greatest proportion of direct loan impairments and security write-downs stemming from the crisis, with

Asian banks fi guring in the direct loss equation only to a relatively minor extent (IMF, 2008b).