The subprime mortgage credit crisis demonstrates that while financial intermediaries have changed in many ways, at root their problems remain the same. Indeed, the old problem of banking panics can reappear in new guises.
In the subprime mortgage crisis, investors without information about exactly which bonds have declined in value have refused to reinvest in the short-term obligations of structured vehicles, including Structured Investment Vehicles (SIVs) and Asset-Backed Commercial Paper Conduits. And, without financing from capital markets, these intermediary vehicles either must sell assets, causing the prices of a range of assets to fall and resulting in widespread losses, or must receive financing from their sponsor banks, reabsorbing the vehicles onto the balance sheet and resulting in decreased capital for the sponsoring banks. In this report I review my research on banks and banking, and look at bank crises in particular.
Again, the broad learning is nothing is different about the crisis. It also implies no lessons are really being learnt. See this excellent paper from Rogoff and Reinhart also saying nothing is really different this time.